Peace First Projects - What We Support

Thank you for your interest in starting a Peace First project! When young people raise their hand and commit to taking action in their community, it’s exciting. 

We’ve prepared this guidance document to help our users understand a bit more about the types of projects we do and do not provide with support (including funding). 

If you’re concerned that your project (or the idea you have for a project) might not meet our criteria, don’t worry! The Peace First Challenge is a learning process. Our team will work with you, and give you feedback on your project idea, to help it become the best it can be. If you don’t meet our criteria, we’ll let you know the changes you might make to your project in order to become eligible for funding.

Remember, we are here to support you. If you are ready to work for social change in your community, we are ready to work alongside you to make it happen.  

Projects we support:

Peace First only supports projects that are youth-led. 

We believe everyone can be a changemaker, and that all people should take action for social change, but we focus our resources on supporting projects led by young people ages 13-25 because young people often lack access to social and financial capital in ways that older adults do not.

For us to support your project, Peace First must clearly be able to verify that each of the following are true:

  • Young people 13-25 are the key decision-makers for the project. This means they have the authority to decide the focus of the project, the actions the project team will take, and how resources are used (setting and approving budgets). If adults over 25 are making these decisions, the project is not youth-led. 
  • Young people 13-25 are the primary leaders for the project. This means they are doing the majority of the work (leading meetings, mobilizing volunteers, planning events, writing curriculum, etc) required to carry out the project successfully. If adults over 25 are doing the majority of this work, the project is not youth-led. 
  • Young people 13-25 are the ones engaging in the Peace First process. Our process was designed specifically to help young people build agency and leadership skills. Young people must be the ones to complete the exercises in the Peace First Challenge, correspond with our mentors, and participate in the verification/coaching calls. 

Peace First supports projects that address an injustice and its root causes.

All Peace First projects must identify an injustice, which we define as “a long-standing harm to a particular person or group, or where someone is targeted based on their identity.” To learn more about what we mean by injustice, and to tell whether the issue you care about is an injustice, you can use this resource. Every injustice has one or several ‘root causes,’ and we require projects to identify these root causes and address them directly, so as to effectively counter the injustice. 

Peace First supports projects grounded in compassion, courage, and collaboration. 

We believe that how you do the work matters just as much as what you do in your project. We believe that to be an effective leader of social change, you must lead with courage, compassion, and collaboration.   

To us, compassion means working to understand the experiences and ideas of others, especially those who are different from you, and recognizing that every person deserves to be treated with dignity. Read more about Peace First’s definition of compassion here

To us, courage means taking reasonable risks and standing up for what you know to be right, even when it is difficult. Read more about Peace First’s definition of courage here

To us, collaboration means recognizing that social change happens in teams, building partnerships, and providing others with opportunities to lead. Read more about Peace First’s definition of collaboration here


Projects we occasionally support, with restrictions: 

Direct aid projects. 

Peace First sometimes funds direct aid projects (projects involving direct donations of goods or items to a target population), but only when these projects do not duplicate existing services and are ethically serving all recipients. You can read this rubric to learn more about our criteria for direct aid projects.  

For-profit businesses or ventures. 

Peace First provides grants to youth-led for-profit businesses and ventures in certain circumstances. Projects must address a clear injustice, and project creators must lay out clear plans for the social responsibility of the business or venture, such as ethical treatment of workers and sourcing of materials. We also consider how profits are used or shared when deciding whether to fund a for-profit business. You can read this rubric to learn more about our criteria for for-profit projects.

Projects working outside of their home country.

Peace First encourages young people to address injustices and lead projects within their own countries. However, in limited circumstances, we support projects involving young people working outside their home country that are grounded in strong understanding and partnerships.  You can read this rubric to learn more about our criteria for projects working outside of their home country.


Projects we *do not* support:

Projects involving religious proselytizing.

Peace First does not support religious proselytizing of any kind. 

We cannot support your project if:

  • Your project involves reading or reciting religious texts to or with participants, or involving participants in religious practices or services, even if this is not the main focus of the project. This includes proselytizing (encouraging people to join or believe the tenets of a religion) of all kinds. 
  • Your project involves recruiting or encouraging people to attend religious services or deepen their engagement in a particular faith community.

We can support your project if: 

  • You started it with other young people you met at your place of worship.
  • You are using a house of worship for meeting space.
  • You are leading an awareness, capacity-building, or mindset-change project, and leading non-religious presentations for members of a religious community as part of that project.
  • Your religious faith is part of your motivation for pursuing social justice work.
  • You are educating people about the beliefs of different faiths and/or building community between people of different faith communities as a means of reducing religious discrimination or intolerance, without proselytizing. 


Projects supporting particular political parties or candidates.

As a nonprofit, Peace First cannot support electioneering activities or provide support to particular political parties or candidates. 

We cannot support your project if:

  • Your project involves encouraging people to vote for or donate to a particular political candidate, or register to join a particular political party.
  • You are a youth chapter of a political organization carrying out a non-partisan activity that is designed to recruit new members to your organization.  

We can support your project if: 

  • Your project involves encouraging people to vote in an election, as long as they are not encouraged to vote for a specific candidate or political party, or registering people to vote, as long as they are not encouraged to register with a specific political party.
  • Your project involves advocating for a particular policy or set of policies, including public praise or criticism of public officials as part of that advocacy campaign, as long as this is not related to any communication about elections. 
  • You are a youth chapter of a political organization carrying out non-partisan political activity (such as running a nonpartisan voter registration drive) as long as the goal of the activity is not to increase membership in or engagement with your organization.