June 2010 Letter from Executive Director Chris Fontana

June 1, 2010

Dear GV community,

For me, it was affirming to see the turnout of support for our 9th annual auction. I was particularly touched by a $100 donation which came from Emily Lyons, a high school student from Chief Sealth High School who attended with her father. During the Fund-A-Scholarship portion of the evening, she was inspired to give her own money to support low-income youth on their journey to become global leaders. Emily’s donation is one small example of how youth, given the opportunity, prove time and time again that they have the power to change the world.

This summer we will gather many more stories as we survey our 800-plus alumni to see what impact GV has made on their lives and what impact they have had on the planet and their communities. We are planning on sharing these stories at next year’s auction where we will share testimonials and alumni highlights. So if you’d like to continue supporting GV and be part of an inspirational evening, please plan on being with us for our 10th Annual GV Auction on May 7, 2011.

Global Visionaries has reached an extraordinary milestone since our founding in 1996. Thanks to the support from the Seattle International Foundation and the three year collaboration between the GV international community consisting of Youth Board, parents, staff and our Board of Directors, we have completed a five year strategic plan—our very first! By the end of 2014, we will have increased the number of young people we serve annually from 350 to over 1,000. Additionally, youth will be co-leading every aspect of our programming and organization. Creating youth change-makers will continue to be the core of what we do.

As we begin this new phase, I look back to our beginnings and to our founders, Jason Foster and Joe Fontana.  In 1996, Jason returned from a one-year backpacking trip around the world and saw the need to get students out of the classroom and in the world where real education happens. Jason called upon his former teacher and mentor Joe Fontana and the two created Global Visionaries. Joe continues to teach and to manage GV’s California and Colorado programs while Jason went on to get a law degree from the University of Michigan and work at the United Nations writing multi-lateral treaties for international aid. For the past two yeas, he has been working at The Hague for the International Court of Justice (http://www.icj-cij.org/) in the Netherlands.

For the next five years, we, Global Visionaries, are renewing our commitment to providing a reliable pathway for youth to simultaneously transform their lives and their world. Our goal: that every GV participant continues a lifelong ethic of service which translates into a positive impact through their chosen life path.  I thank all of you—this community we call “GV”—and I invite all of you who are not yet part of our community to come aboard!

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