Global Visionaries is a staff and youth-led organization that challenges and empowers young people to become socially and environmentally conscious global leaders. Through Global Visionaries’ unique three part learn-participate-lead approach, its participants are motivated and prepared to maximize their potential. Formed in 1995, Global Visionaries is a nonprofit organization based in Seattle, Washington and welcomes participants from across the U.S.
In 1992 two teachers, Joe and Chris Fontana, along with their students, set out to bring the youth of the world together in support of the environment, justice and peace, and created “YES”, youth-organized Global Youth Environmental Summits, in 1993 and 1995. The 1995 Summit, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program, brought together more than 300 high school students from 32 countries and 40 states for one week of participatory education in environmental and peace issues, social action and leadership skills, and direct environmental service.
Jason Foster, one of the lead youth organizers, went on to travel the world for a year visiting over 33 nations. He returned with the realization that true education and learning includes learning time outside the classroom and in the real world. In June 1997, Jason Foster and Joe Fontana, a teacher and student duo, led the first Global Visionaries trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica. Global Visionaries has been growing ever since. GV was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in the state of Washington in 2002.
Jason went on to get his law degree from University of Michigan and now works for the United Nations writing multilateral treaties to expedite emergency aid to nations in need. Joe continues with Global Visionaries as the Colorado/California Program Manager. Chris Fontana began as Executive Director in 1999 and continues in that position today.