Step up!

The Step Up! Global Grants Programme, provided by AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme, empowers small, youth-focused non-profit organisations to make change happen by enabling them to increase their impact and operate at a greater scale.

Over the last three years, Step Up! has provided over $400,000 in grants to support organisations to develop and deliver effective health promotion programmes – with an emphasis on under-resourced communities in low- and middle-income countries.

Climate change and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are two defining challenges of the 21st century, each posing significant threats to health and sustainable development. Innovation is needed in order to face up to the climate and health challenges facing young people today.

This year, we are looking to support projects which promote environmental sustainability while at the same time reducing NCD risk factors among young people.
Step Up! Astrazeneca grant

Grants available

Grants of up to US $10,000 will be awarded to support the delivery of approximately 20 projects which:

    climate projects

    Reduce NCD risk factors for young people while combating climate change through sustainable environmental solutions

    Giving icon

    Address the needs of vulnerable young people (10-30 years old) in under-resourced communities


    Reach an appropriate number of young people according to the scale of the local need


    Can provide evidence at the conclusion of the project of what has been delivered, as well as outcomes and what has been learned


    Are managed by non-profits with an annual income of US$1 million or less


    Can be completed within a 12 month period, not starting before February 2022.

    In addition to the funding, Step Up! grantees will be invited to join AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP) Alumni Group. This offers learning and development opportunities, as well as networking between StepUp! grantees and young leaders who have received YHP Scholarships.

    In the past, Alumni Members have been offered mini-MBA programmes, opportunities to share their work with global audiences, and masterclasses on fundraising and digital skills to build effective health-promotion programmes.

    Who can apply

    The fund is open to registered charitable organisations with strong experience of delivering effective projects which make health and environmental improvements in young people’s lives.

    Organisations must be ‘funding-ready’ and able to provide appropriate documentation (in English) to verify their organisation’s charitable status and financial situation. 

    We will support organisations from under-resourced communities worldwide. These are likely to be in low-income or lower-middle income countries or settings.

    Organisations which have been funded previously by AstraZeneca are welcome to apply, but not for the same project that was previously supported.

    Unfortunately, we will not be able to support every organisation that applies and we will choose those projects which most closely fulfill the priorities listed below.

    Step Up! Priorities

    Step Up! always receives a high number of applications and we are unable to support all eligible organisations which apply. In selecting applications, we will prioritise a project if it:

    • Addresses nutrition
    • Utilises technology or digital health solutions in an inclusive way
    • Is innovative: delivering something different from which we can learn (an existing approach in a new setting linked to a particular need, or a totally new approach)
    • Is youth-led (ie primarily youth managed/designed)
    • Involves young people as advocates for change in their communities
    • Is run by an organisation with an income and capacity to deliver a grant of this size
    • Is from an organisation which has not yet been supported by a StepUp! grant
    • Operates in a low or lower-middle income country or setting

    We will select projects at a range of different innovation stages.

    See FAQs for further details.



      Organisations that
      • are not registered as charitable
      • were established and registered after 1 January 2019
      • discriminate or primarily promote political or religious viewpoints to their beneficiaries
      • use the funds to make grants or donations to other organisations or individuals
      • are unable to supply appropriate documents including charitable registration, governance and financial documents and personal details of trustees/directors

      Projects that
      • are already funded through the Young Health Programme or StepUp!
      • provide treatment, medical advice or pay for medicine
      • benefit AstraZeneca’s commercial business
      • last more than 12 months
      • have already taken place or are planned to start before February 2022
      Grant requests for over US $10,000

    important: Before you apply

    We anticipate a very high demand for this programme, and unfortunately we will not be able to fund all organisations

    Please ensure that you have read the programme details above carefully before deciding whether to apply.


    The application form will be available for completion between 9 June and 21 July 2021.

    Following a thorough selection process, we aim to notify all applicants whether they have been selected for a grant in November 2021. All selected organisations must then complete due diligence/verification with CAF. For more details of the documents needed for this, please see FAQs below. You will also complete a simple authorisation process for AstraZeneca before the grant can be confirmed and payment made.

    Projects should not be scheduled to start before February 2022.


    Reporting on your project and use of the grant

    If you receive a StepUp! grant, we want to understand what has been achieved during your project and find out more about your innovative approaches to these health and environmental challenges. We are interested in both what has gone well and what has not worked. We will ask you to provide:

    • a receipt for the funds received
    • a basic progress report and how many young people have been involved (in December 2022)
    • after the end of your project, a detailed report on what you have done, the difference you have made and what you have learned.

    How to apply

      1.  Click on the button below to begin a new application
        Start a new application today

      2.  Log in to CAF’s online grant making portal, or register if you have not previously used it, with your email address and a password.

      3.  Complete a short series of eligibility questions.

      4.  After successfully completing the eligibility questions, you can then access the full online application form to answer questions about your organisation and project.

      5.  Submit your application by Wednesday 21 July (midnight, in your timezone)

        The application form can be saved and revisited on an ongoing basis. It does not need to be completed at one time.

        Click the button below to return to a part-completed or submitted application.

        Return to an existing application 

    Helpful resources to complete your application

    Watch the Step Up! video for application tips and guidance.

    Read more about previous Step Up! grantees.

    Explore AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme.

    Find out more about innovation stages from NESTA’s Compendium of Innovation Methods and DIY toolkit ‘Innovation Flowchart’.

    Frequently asked questions

    • What are the overarching aims of StepUp!

      With StepUp!, AstraZeneca aims to

      • Have a positive impact on the young people involved in the programmes that we support and the communities that they serve
      • Learn about what really works in youth health promotion
      • Increase wider understanding of health and wellbeing initiatives for young people

      And to generate:

      • Case studies and other evidence of promising approaches
      • Opportunities for future collaboration and investment
    • What do you mean by non-communicable diseases and their risk factors?
      The main non-communicable diseases are cancers, diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases and mental health conditions. For this programme, we do not include HIV and Type 1 diabetes. NCDs share common risk factors, including air pollution, physical inactivity, poor diet, excessive alcohol and tobacco use.
    • What type of health and environmental sustainability solutions are you looking for?
      We are looking for a wide range of ideas, but a few examples might be projects which:
      • help young people reduce their exposure to air pollution (excluding tobacco cessation)
      • promote recycling campaigns in a way that benefits young people’s health
      • finds innovative solutions to plant and grow nutritious food sources
      • encourage the use of exercise as an eco-friendly method of transportation

      These are not exclusive – please feel free to propose other types of solution!
    • What sort of projects addressing climate change and health have been particularly effective elsewhere?
      AstraZeneca has previously supported projects which measure and track air quality in polluted cities and informed young people about the risks to their health, and then worked with them to advocate for tighter legislation to combat air pollution. Another project supported young people to collect discarded cans and plastic bottles from the streets and turn them into hanging plant pots so they could grow their own fresh vegetables and herbs, while providing education about the benefits of healthy eating.
    • What do you mean by innovation stages?
      We will fund a range of projects at different stages of the innovation cycle. You can read more about innovation stages in NESTA’s Compendium of Innovation Methods and NESTA’s DIY toolkit ‘Innovation Flowchart’.

      Key innovation stages for StepUp! are:

      • Developing and testing ideas
      E.g. prototyping and testing ideas to produce evidence of impact or areas for learning, adapting and improving. These ideas should meet specific environmental and NCD challenges in your community.

      • Deliver and implement
      E.g. delivering a replicable project which includes formal evaluation and evidence which uses some sort of control group. This is so you can be sure of the causes of the outcomes.

      • Grow and scale
      E.g. using evidence to develop a longer term focus, including partnerships with public health or other organisations. You would aim to achieve policy change over time.
    • What do you mean by ‘funding ready’?

      Your organisation should be fully constituted and be registered as charitable or non-profit in your country. You should have delivered effective projects and have systems in place to be able to report on the outcomes of your work. Your organisation must have a bank account which can receive international donations and have a set of annual financial accounts.  CAF will undertake due diligence on your organisation and therefore you must have all this in place if you are selected.

    • Do I need to apply in English?
      Applications, along with supporting documentation and final reporting, must be in English. Online translation tools can be used as needed to prepare your application and documentation. Please be reassured that your application is not assessed on your English fluency.
    • How will you decide which projects to fund?
      We will shortlist the projects that best meet StepUp! eligibility and priorities. These will then be reviewed by a decision making panel, composed of AstraZeneca employees and expert external partners, who will select projects to be funded. We will tell you whether or not your project has been selected.
    • Which documents must I have for due diligence/verification checks?
      If your project is selected, CAF will then ask you for documentation to complete the due diligence and verification checks. This is to ensure the projects meet legal requirements on international charitable donations. You must complete this stage before funds can be delivered. Documents may include a copy of your organisation’s governing document (eg articles of incorporation), a certificate of charitable registration in your country, most recent annual financial accounts, a bank statement from the last 3 months as proof of your organisation’s bank account, and details of your Trustees/Directors’ full names, residential addresses and dates of birth. Further information may be required in some cases and you will be told of this if your project is shortlisted. Once these checks have been completed, you will find it easier to receive other international donations, if appropriate.

    How your data is used

    If you apply for this grant programme, you will be directed to CAF’s carefully selected service provider (Blackbaud) to enter the details of your grant application. Your data will only be used for the purposes of this programme. CAF and AstraZeneca will act as data controllers in common for the purposes of your data. Please refer to CAF’s privacy policy  and AstraZeneca’s privacy policy for more information on how your data will be used.

    How to contact us

    If you have any questions on the application process, please contact the CAF Grant Making team on +44 (0)3000 123334 or email