I've listened to first hand testimonials of the changes and accomplishments women based organizations have made through VGIF's grants. An inspiring and dedicated organization it is.
Past ED of VGIF wrote: In its 45th year of existence, VGIF continues to shine brightly in supporting women and girls around the world, mostly in rural areas, in the design and implementation of projects at the local level to improve their lives and that of their families and communities. Through a variety of projects that arise from the grass roots they are able to reach for their dreams in providing food security for their families, education for their children, and the increased self confidence to become leaders in their communities and agents of change on issues ranging from domestic violence to inheritance rights. The women project leaders are the real heroes and a constant source of inspiration to the VGIF family of leaders, volunteers, staff, and donors.
I first became aware of this organization through several friends who are on the board. Although I am not active like they are, I am amazed at how many people have benefited from all over the world. Their micro loans have gone to so many women to so many countries and the long term results coming just from an initial loan are fantastic. This is not money going down the drain. This is start up money for successful long term businesses.
VGI empowers women by providiing them with the start-up money to become self-sufficient (micro-loans). It is a formula that has been very sucessful around the world in making women and their families stronger and healthier. I was given a membership several years ago, and became interested in their work. They send women to their projects all over the world to mentor and monitor them. Their newsletter is very informative, describing the varous projects they support. As a woman, I am proud to support VGI and its important work to raise the status of women, particularly in developing countries.
VGIF has helped many women attend and benefit from international conferences where they have shared experiences and learned from their colleagues. My experience of this was in helping IFUW organise its 2007 conference where a number of women were only able to join us because of the generosity of VGIF in providing travel grants. Their inclusion provided inspiration not only for them on returning to their own countries but also to the rest of us - we would have been the poorer for not meeting them all!
I believe very strongly in women helping women achieve their greatest potential. The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund does this by giving grants to projects which reflect the needs of women to learn and to provide for their families. Most important is the fact that these projects use the talent and resources available to women to also help other women and families. The projects have assisted in improving health, increasing family income and in providing education in the most needy of situations. Projects submitted for a grant are carefully screened to assist those most greatly needed and that have the greatest potential to achieve their goals. Increased funding will help to benefit even more women.
I have traveled all over the world and seen how difficult life is for women in third world countries or even in highly developed countries. VGIF provides small grants that help to change women's lives for the better. I think that making things better for women is the catalyst for improving life for everyone. I strongly support the work the organization is doing.
I am a volunteer, donor and Board member of what I consider one of the best run organizations based in the US. In its 40-year history VGIF has given over $1 million US dollars to projects empowering women and girls in developing countries -- all from large and small donations given by ordinary ciizens. It is quite an accomplishment.
I am impressed to see how small sums of $5000 can make a difference in women's lives. Most of the projects help women and girls to learn how to help themselves in a world that is not always receptive to them. When I hear and see the successes created by these small grants I know my enery is in the right place!
Review from Guidestar