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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Economic Development, International, International Economic Development, International Human Rights, Microfinance, Women, Womens Rights

Mission: VGIF is an international women’s fund based in the United States and governed by an international Board of Directors. We provide grants globally to fund locally generated projects that advance the rights of women and girls; projects that help improve the lives of women and girls by advancing women’s rights and social justice.

Results: From 1970 through 2014, VGIF invested in more than 515 projects, reaching more than 231,500 women and girls and 353,000 people overall.

Programs: Grantmaking program - see schedule ovgif supports women-led grassroots projects around the world - projects that advance the rights of women and girls in a number of topic areas. Since its founding in 1969, vgif has funded more than 515 projects, in 93 countries, focusing on a broad range of issues; from education and health, to economic empowerment and human rights. Vgif believes that women are the only ones equipped to empower themselves and they know best what will help improve and enrich lives in their own communities. Vgif does not restrict its funding based on topic area. Instead, its broad range of grantmaking reflects the shifting needs and priorities of grantees working at the grassroots level in many countries and regions across the globe. Vgif is currently building the capacity to expand its grantmaking in order to significantly increase its impact on women and girls around the globe.

un program - see schedule oto complement and enhance its grantmaking efforts vgif engages in discussion at the united nations through its consultative status with ecosoc (un's economic and social council) and its membership in un-related groups. By gathering data and reports from its grantees, and by surveying groups of grantees, vgif is able to include a grassroots perspective in statements to the un and in meetings that vgif arranges under the auspices of the un. With an active un committee and volunteer representatives to the un, vgif is able to maximize the outcomes of this program while using a limited amount of resources. Through reports from these un representatives vgif is able to inform grantees and donors about un discussion, decision, and policies relevant to vgif's focus and goals.

Community Stories

74 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Flor

Board Member

Rating: 5

I currently serve as the Convener of the Development Committee. In that role we seek out support from the public. Once people get personally involved with VGIF, they are committed for every. The building of our major gifts program and planned giving program has expanded greatly because of the generosity of those who have gotten personally involved.

The stories of our grantees are incredible. With small grants we have so much impact for women and girls. Our assistance and monitoring of our funding continues to improve so the donor can be assured it is being used for a great casue.

1 Jane98

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wonderful nonprofit that fills an important niche in funding for girls and women around the globe. They carefully select and fund grants initiated by grassroots groups in country with female leadership. Small grants - local action- powerful changes.

1 Neghena H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have interned for this non profit for w while and the work they do is absolutely amazing. VGIF seeks to ensure women in all regions of the world have the same oppurtunities regardless of circumstances. It's inspiring to see how many were affected by their work and the difference they have made

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

We seek to fund women-led local organizations around the globe who are marginalized, for whatever reason, by their society. What excites us most is to give a voice to those women and girls who have never been given an opportunity to be heard. It is amazing what can happen when women unite together to change their societies. Our grantees not only have started businesses that enable them to feed their children and send them to school, but also change attitudes about the roles women can play in their communities. In Rwanda, our women beekeeping project demonstrated that not only can women raise bees (traditionally forbidden to women), male beekeepers can learn something from their female peers about best practices. We have many examples of women successfully shifting the paradigm in their community. We are now working hard to evaluate more carefully the successes of our grantees so we can tell their stories but also to increase our grant making to offer more opportunities to more women and girls around the globe.

1 Victoria60

Board Member

Rating: 5

This incredible organization takes a different approach from so many others that look to address the problem from the top-down - instead, VGIF looks to empower women at the grassroots level by listening to what they need and taking into consideration grant applications from all over the world for different needs. I've seen firsthand the thought and effort that the board members put into the grant application process, where all the applications are taken very seriously regardless of whether the request is money for a guinea pig farm or basket weaving co-op or building desks for a rural-area girls school. All the staff, donors, and board members are believers in this important cause and are truly cognizant of the need for women to speak to the organization themselves in their own words.

1 Kilcar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about this organization through some of the stories about their projects. This organization gives great attention to detail, seeks to empower women and insists on grassroots involvement. One of their questions to grantees is always"how many people will your project help?" If you like to see an organization that helps women, reaches the poorest of the poor, and engages in activities aimed at improving human rights, this is the outfit for you.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became aware of this wonderful organization many years ago when one of their spokeswomen told my group about their work and how they help women in creative and positive ways - they are dedicated and inspiring in the work that they do

Susan

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board Member for several years, I have seen the due diligence that goes into determining how the donations are spent. A tremendous amount of time and effort goes into the grant making that is done each year. I feel confident that the organization's resources are being well spent. I am very proud to be a supporter of this organization's work.

Anonymous

3 Susannah2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VGIF is an international women's fund for women and girls. They provide small grants up to $7,500 US to organizations working in developing countries, funding projects that range from bringing fresh water to villages, helping women start small businesses and become financially independent, providing legal education on property rights and improving girls' chances to attend school. Even small amounts can lead to tremendous change, so it's an amazing organization where you know your donation has a real impact. I have been involved for the past 15 years, serving on committees and as a board member,

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a long-time member of this organization, I feel that my money is well-spent. The small grants (under $7500) go a long way to help women to economic independence and girls to obtain an education. Women are oppressed in so many parts of the world, and this money helps to alleviate some of that. It is very gratifying to be part of an organization that has such an impact throughout the world.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

3 Heater B.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I work for VGIF as a Monitoring and Evaluation consultant. VGIF's work with small, grassroots women's organizations is unique among women's funds. The combination of a critically engaged commitment to women's issues and intimate relationships between grantees and VGIF staff, ensures a mutual learning process between donor and grantees that is rare in the development world. VGIF, it's staff and its board understand that the true motor of change lies with the women's organizations they fund, not with the the foundations that fund them!

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of VGIF for nearly 5 years and can attest to the organization's commitment to mproving the lives of women worldwide. The organization provides significant financial support to grassroots organizations that work towards empowering women and improving the livelihoods of communities. The staff is very passionate and knowledgeable about women's rights and the board is deeply dedicated to the mission of VGIF.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

VGIF is truly one of the greatest non profits I've had the pleasure of working with. The staff is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable about women's issues, international development and the intersection between the two. The staff takes a lot of care in choosing and funding sustainable, community based projects that are helping bring this world closer to gender equality.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I got to know VGIF through my accounting firm. I went to their office regularly to complete monthly and year end closes. I also got to see how well the staff worked together to accomplish their goals. I also had the pleasure of attending the 45th Anniversary luncheon where I got to see the result of all that hard work in the office. They do a fantastic job helping women in developing countries, and I believe that will be the case for many years to come.

3 molaundo

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

VGIF is the premier institution committed to the advancement of international women-led grassroots organizations. Under the leadership of Elisabet Eklind, VGIF's dedicated staff all work from a place of passion, expertise, and sincerity. Supporting VGIF means that you are supporting thousands of women and their communities all over the world.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have had the chance to read dozens of the reports from VGIF grantees that attest to the incredible work that VGIF supports in countries across the globe. VGIF provides critical support to small organizations working to change communities and improve women's lives. Staff and Board Members show great respect for the organizations they support and a real commitment to women's empowerment and international development work.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

For 45 years, VGIF has made careful and important grants that have changed the lives of women and their communities. The grants made by VGIF respond to the needs of the women as they see them, so the results are real for the grantees. The range of grants includes buying cows to support a community whose economy shifted when the fishing base was cut off, to providing providing business training for women marketing their goods to building a water system so that a school would have access to clean water for washing and drinking.
The Board of VGIF has worked hard to be true to its mission of supporting this work. The members and supporters of VGIF have helped make a real difference in the world.


Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a Board member of VGIF for almost six years. During that time, we have been through a significant number of changes with our office and our financial structure, but the Board and committee members have never lost the focus on our primary purpose, which is to provide funding for grassroots projects that change the lives of women and children. Our projects are exciting and fulfilling - and the funds do change lives.

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2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In its 45 years of existence VGIF has helped many women in developing countries to develop themselves to be active, contributing members of their communities. Driven by the needs identified by the grassroots women themselves, VGIF's funds have brought many dreams to fruition. I cherish the years I have been involved as some of the most rewarding that I have spent. The organization has also given meaning to the contributions I have made, along with those of so many others. I encourage you to consider giving to it to make you donation of time and money worthwhile, as everything you give goes directly to the programs.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a member of VGIF for several years and a recently elected Board Member of VGIF, I can attest to the commitment of VGIF's staff, volunteers, and board to support grassroots organizations worldwide. After 45 years, the dedication of our volunteers has helped to sustain the mission of this organization. VGIF has illustrated that small grants really can make a difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide, and the support of our members is critical. Having the opportunity to meet project directors and learn how our support has impacted their communities is truly inspiring. Looking forward to the continued efforts made by VGIF's staff and volunteers as we continue to support local organizations that empower women and girls!