AVPN Announces US$3 Million Asian Youth Mental Wellbeing Fund

AVPN, the largest network of social investors in Asia, has announced the launch of a US$3 million Asian Youth Mental Wellbeing Fund (Fund) at the AVPN Global Conference 2023. The Fund is the first philanthropic pooled fund that focuses on youth mental well-being across Southeast Asia and South Asia.

The Fund was launched at the AVPN Global Conference 2023 by Malaysia’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Hannah Yeoh, who highlighted the importance of mental health in Asia,

“It is crucial that we take action to address the mental health crisis our youths face and help them overcome challenges in their developmental years. I am thrilled to witness AVPN launching this greatly needed Asian Youth Mental Wellbeing Fund with local and regional funders to address these challenges across Asia, including Malaysia.”

Mental health is the second largest contributor to years of healthy life lost to disability in Asia, but barriers to treatment persist due to systemic issues, lack of accurate data and monitoring, and funding disparities.

AVPN said it recognises the negative effects of mental health challenges on youth’s well-being and economy, highlighting the importance of early intervention for future well-being.

Unlike conventional funds, the AVPN Asian Youth Mental Wellbeing Fund will put youths at the centre of the grant disbursement decision-making process. Adopting a ‘for youths, by youths’ mindset, the Fund will be forming a committee of experts – which will comprise young impact leaders – to identify needs on the ground across Asia, and evaluate the quality of applications that come in.   

The Fund intends to achieve the following objectives:

  • Support and foster scalable and effective solutions formulated by credible, robust nonprofit organisations
  • Unite a community of funders that bring scale and sustainability to a common portfolio
  • Reduce barriers faced by youths in achieving mental wellbeing

The AVPN Asian Youth Mental Wellbeing Fund will focus on the Southeast and South Asia’s mental well-being ecosystems by funding innovative impact organisations that address mental well-being conditions among young people.

With the experience of building trust-based philanthropy models in Asia, AVPN plans to provide unrestricted funding and non-financial support to non-profit organisations. This not only helps build trust between funders and grantees, but also lends a stronger voice to grantees; instead of prescribing how funds are to be used, the Fund will empower grantees to have the autonomy to grow and innovate around their emergent needs.