What is the Iris Project?

The Iris Project is run in collaboration with Global Greengrants Fund, and has been established in memory of Iris Goldsmith, who died in a tragic accident aged 15.  Iris had a deep and lifelong connection with the natural world, a gentle way with animals, and a particular love for the sea. In her memory, we are building a global community of young people working to protect and restore their local natural environment. We recognise that young people are already leading the way in finding solutions to the climate and ecological crisis. The Iris Project exists to shine a light on that leadership, and to enable outstanding individuals to take it further by providing access to the funds and support that, all too often, they find too difficult to access.

Our Advisory Panel.

Our Youth Advisory Panel sits at the heart of the Iris Project, and the global community that we are hoping to build. It is made up of outstanding young leaders from around the world who are already dedicating their lives to addressing the climate and nature crisis.

As well as identifying candidates for the annual Iris Prize, our panelists provide peer-to-peer mentoring to prize winners, and connect like-minded winners and applicants to share knowledge and create new ideas for change.

  • Sumarni Laman

    Indonesia, an indigenous climate advocate

  • Alicia Amancio

    Brazil, founder of the Latin American Youth Climate Scholarship

  • Francisco Lara-Fletes

    Costa Rica, a climate activist and political science undergraduate student

  • Shreya K.C

    Nepal, a socio-climate justice activist

  • Yazid Mikail

    Nigeria, motivated environmentalist with experience in conservation, advocacy and innovation.

  • Ezekiel Nyanfor

    Liberia, Founder and Executive Director of Liberian Youth for Climate Actions

  • Ankica Sokolić

    Macedonia, Co-founder of Kolektiv Z and currently studies Environmental Engineering

Our Team.

  • Ankica Sokolic

    Ecosystem Coordinator

  • Millie Edwards

    Director

  • Frances Storey

    Project Manager

  • Anouk Delaprée

    Communications Manager

Iris Goldsmith

About Iris

The Iris Project was founded in memory of Iris Goldsmith who died when she was fifteen years old. Iris had a profound connection with the natural world, a deep enduring love. The birds and the flowers, the trees, the ocean, the animals held an inexhaustible magic for her, ever since she was a tiny girl. It was here that she found peace and joy and endless inspiration. Our fragile planet and all its many wonders illuminated her life, so when she died there was no better way of honouring her memory than to support young people in their efforts to protect it. Knowing that this is how she would have spent her days, had she been given more of them.

Our Collaborators.

Our collaborative partners.

FAQs

Want to learn more about how we’re structured and how you can get involved? Here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

What impact does the Iris Project aim to make?

Read The Iris Project Annual Report 2022 to learn more about the work we’ve been doing! Monitoring and evaluation are a core focus of The Iris Project. We have developed a theory of change and commit to altering our approach if we find out it doesn’t have the intended impact. We endeavour to admit and reflect on things going wrong and use our failures to guide our progress.

We believe that circumstance should never act as a barrier to action – and aim to provide support wherever it is needed the most. That is why we work with panelists and nominating partners from all around the world to identify the best candidates for the Iris Prize, wherever they may come from.

Iris’ Family provided our initial set-up costs, and we have since secured donations from individuals and foundations – rather than private or listed companies. Most donations will directly support the work of young people (60%), including paying our Advisory Panel for their time, and we have committed to keeping operational costs at 20% of the annual budget. As a partner of Global Greengrants Fund, we adhere to their Fundraising Guidelines, which means that we don’t accept funds from anyone who does not support the principles of The Iris Project, namely securing environmental justice, championing the protection and restoration of nature, and the rights of those working to defend it.

Our founding partner, Global Greengrants Fund, is a registered UK charity, no 1151527. Currently, The Iris Project is hosted as a ‘pooled’ fund by Global Greengrants, meaning that we adhere to their charitable principles but are not yet a registered charity in our own right. Over time, this will change, but this partnership feels like the best fit for us as we find our feet as an organisation.

We are wholly committed to championing the protection and restoration of nature and the rights of those working to defend it. We understand that this commitment does not come without risk, and we want to ensure that the rights and lives of our prize winners and their families are not compromised due to their engagement with The Iris Project. As such, we will work with Global Greengrants Fund to ensure that – should it come to it – our support can rapidly be delivered to prize winners whenever they might need it.

In the form of a private Slack channel, all applicants who apply for a Seed, Stem or Iris Prize are invited to join. They will receive funding and capacity-building opportunities, find collaborating partners, and initiate or join discussions about environmental and social issues relevant to their community and advocacy. Read the Ecosystem Guidebook.

We prioritize the health, welfare, and safety of all individuals, affirming their right to protection from harm regardless of various factors. This commitment extends to children, young people, at-risk adults, and our staff. We address safeguarding through prevention, reporting, and response pillars. For concerns, contact Millie Edwards, Safeguarding Focal Point, at millie@theirisproject.org.

Iris Prize 2024

Applications are now open.