Our history


Tracing back to 1978, we have a rich and diverse history of partnering with individuals, organisations and schools. Each partnership is a chapter that forms the narrative of more than thirty years’ commitment to improving the wellbeing of young people in Australia. Through research, programs, advocacy and philanthropy we have invested in opportunities for young people to take a lead role in their school and community.

FYA was formed in 1999 through a partnership between The Queen’s Trust and the Australian Youth Foundation, with the objectives of providing increased opportunity and access for young people of disadvantaged backgrounds, and supporting the leadership development of young Australians.

In July 2008 an alliance was formed between Education Foundation and FYA, consolidating established expertise and knowledge of the youth and education sectors. Education Foundation was founded in 1989 by Ellen Koshland with the aim of developing and delivering education programs, community engagement and research to Australian students. This partnership was the result of a bold aspiration shared by the two Boards and established FYA as the pre-eminent advocate for young Australians.

Jan Owen AM became CEO of FYA in September 2010, and FYA undertook a whole-organisation approach to developing its five year strategy, drawing on the collective knowledge, wisdom and experience of the entire team and consulting with over 160 external stakeholders, including young people and representatives from youth-led organisations.