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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

77 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Someone once stated that "every vision needs visionaries who are willing to accomplish the cause". The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund has been the major supporter of our work for women and girls with and without disabilities. Through their support, the blind have access to computer training, women and girls are acquiring generating income, saving money, households and communities are living improved lives.
The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund has enabled us train and empower over 2,000 women and girls as direct beneficiaries of our vocational skills acquisition program.
Every donation made to The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund open doors for small grass root organizations less likely to receive funding and empowers the most marginalized and vulnerable, creating positive change one community at a time.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund is a vision builder. Since 2013, VGIF has contributed immensely to the development of vulnerable women and girls in Cross River State, Nigeria.
With VGIF's support, we have been able to train over 1000 women and girls in various vocational skills . Not only have numerous households been empowered but the outcomes of our VGIF assisted projects has changed the focus of some community based organizations in our area from the provision of welfare packages to household economic strengthening.
Our Better Life Opportunity for Women and Girls Project with support from VGIF is set to train another 1000 women and girls with the goal of increasing their employment opportunities and earning power.
It was quite difficult getting funding to support women with disabilities but VGIF helped to open doors for these women.
Every donation made to VGIF is touching the lives of women and girls , restoring dignity and hope, and securing the future for girls and their families.

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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.

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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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer leader in this organization for over 30 years and feel it both uniquely respectful of the constituency it serves, and generous in what it provides. VGIF has helped women and children all across the globe, seeking out the most under-served. It attempts to support a broad scope of projects: education, health, social justice, and entrepreneurship, to mention just a few. All projects are client generated and operated, and all seek to provide needed education to the project grantees so that their projects will become self-sustaining after VGIF's support is exhausted. VGIF's all volunteer board is comprised of supporters from many countries; all self-fund their participation in the biannual meetings held in New York City where the central office is located. VGIF regularly participates in the annual CFUW at the UN and regularly invites to its meetings UN visitors from the countries in which it has made grants. Generous annual gifts have allowed VGIF to fund upwards of 40 grants each year. A few years ago a substantial donation specifically aimed at providing the VGIF with support staff permitted the organization to hire a professional executive director and two office assistants. This has enabled the board to concentrate it's efforts toward meeting the other growth objectives of the organization's long range plan.

VGIF has a visionary past, and continues on that path through the efforts of both its devoted volunteer board, volunteer committees and skilled support staff.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Congratulations VGIF for the amazing work that you do for the rights of indigenous women in Mindanao, Philippines!

2 Eunice N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great honor and pleasure to have had a chance to volunteer with VGIF! VGIF is one example of a great international nonprofit that supports grass-root women projects all over the world with small grants that make a big impact. "Collectively like Ants, every small contribution counts".. as we continue to build a better world". Great non profits like VGIF has proved this approach. Thank you VGIF.

Eunice Nyaga. NY.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of getting to know VGIF through our supported project of gender equality and women empowerment. I have come to appreciate that VGIF is the best women fund in the world, They are always in contact with their grantees to know how the projects are moving,They always offer suportive advise when called upon, and above all they understand the different problems their memebrs are going through and always find a way to solve them.
Their love for women is just wonderful, you can always count on VGIF and its team when you need anyhelp.
We are really grateful of the work being done.

I believe that VGIF has always made this quotation true "No one is too rich ,not to receive anything and no one is too poor,not to give out something."

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund was created by women from all over the world to support women and girls through both economic development, social justice and education grants. Coming up on 45 years of giving, the work of the foundation has been lead by volunteers for the majority of that time. I have had the opportunity to be one of those volunteers who has chaired the grants committee and am now the convener of the development committee. I first became involved because someone asked me personally nearly 30 years ago.

We wish every donor could be directly involved as it is reading the grant applications or visiting the sites that touches one heart.

We have always been about making a difference for women and girls.

2 Ia Verulashvili

Client Served

Rating: 5

VGIF supporting projects which improve women’s condition and help women’s organization around the world to solve problems which is crucial for their society. One of such organization Women’s Center ( www.womancenter.org.ge )from country Georgia which from 1996 works on the protection of women’s rights
We would like to appreciate greatly VGIF’s multi-year support in the development and introduction of the program. . Thanks to VGIF, health care providers of our country has been involved in the work of solution of the problem of domestic violence and trafficking.
The support of VGIF we were able to provide better assistance and rehabilitation of the victims of domestic violence. We created a new course of special program for licensing and re-certification of health care providers”. We develop and implement trafficking prevention program in IDP’ camps .We begin work on awareness on the phenomenon of human trafficking among the schoolchildren and IDP community. Involved journalists on trafficking awareness “Establish coordination among community, NGO and governmental representatives. Beneficiaries were more than 1,000 people helping to address the issue of trafficking and advocating for change in IDP camps
Also I want pay your attention on the contribution of VGIF on ,promotion gender equality and legal rights of minority women ,law and legal reform in country Establishment of Consulting Center with hot-line, judicial consultation was fundamental for building the national minority women legal right protection system
It was our please to work with this organization , they have high qualification staff which in reality understand problem which is special in each country

I urge all of your support VGIF to strong their activities through increasing donations as their work fundamental stone for building gender equality society and peace full world

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

VGIF is supporting projects which improve women’s condition and help women’s organizations to solve problems which are crucial for their society.

Women’s Center ( www.womancenter.org.ge) is one of such organizations which VGIF funded for implementation of projects on GBV in Georgia. It gave us possibility to protect women’s rights and health through raising awareness on GBV among university students , creating network, preparing community educators, training health care professionals on yearly reveal cases, implementing screening of pregnant women on domestic violence, which contribute in the rehabilitation of national health system

It was our please to work with this organization. They have highly qualified staff who in reality understand problem which is specific to each country. Unfortunately VGIF can give small grants which are not enough for implementation of projects independently and always we are looking for other donor which cover salaries, office expenses and etc.

I kindly ask US philanthropy community to support VGIF in increasing donations as their marvelous work has direct impact on women’s organization in the world.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 4

The members of the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) pride themselves on over 45 years of support for women and girls. While many of the groups receiving funding are involved in education, health and income generating grants are also awarded. Reviewers check references very carefully and grantees must have recieved some local support before receiving VGIF funding. The Fund also make a major effort to have a member or associate visit the sites of the fund grants whether they be in Asia, Africa or South America.

VGIF is truly a magnificent example of women helping women. Members are very devoted to the work of the Fund and come from several different countries. Their philantropic skills and enthusiasm have always impressed me.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been impressed by the dedication and seriousness of the members of this organization in its efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of women in difficult circumstances. I have had occasion to visit some of the grant recipients and seen the results of their work first hand, and been most favorably impressed by what a modest helping hand can do in support of their efforts.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

VGIF provides grants for projects to improve the lives of women and girls in developing countries. I have traveled to India, Nepal, and Rwanda where I observed the positive effects these small grants are having on the lives of women.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The VGiF specializes in giving small grants to women's grassroots organizations in developing nations. The members of the board are hardworking individuals, very devoted to providing aid for women's groups to work on projects which they have designed and which they lead.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a member of the Board for the last two years, I have been able to see first hand how the funds we are able to disperse have helped women in countries and communities where they have had little opportunity to use their skills to assist their family financially. These funds have also been used to educate women to take leadership roles in their ommunities on issues related to health and the well being of their children.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Virginia Gildersleeve helps many women across the globe. I wish to inform others about this organisation as it empowers many women across the globe., and I thank them very much as I am a member of Virginia gildersleeve, and I recommend others to join this very powerful organisation which helps women. I have volunteered my services in Sri Lanka.

Review from JustGive

1 Evelyn A.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Absolutely courageous women changing the fate of other women around the world for the better!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The virginis Gilldersleeve International Fund (Vgif) is a powerful force for change in the status of women and children through its activities which have impacted communities and brought smiles to faces, hope and changed lives through its humanitarian activities. It also provides privileged voluntary opportunities of service for those who have a passion for humanity and cannot get a chance to give back to society in their little ways. As a volunteer I came across people who vgif has funded to improve the lives of; street girls, girls in communities where FGM is practised as a cultural activity, widows, orphans and vulnarable children, small businesses and land rights. Through visits to these communities I came across faces of gratitude and love because vgif had revived their shattered dreams after some of their horrifying experiences among them the post election violence victims in Kenya. These women groups found hope and comfort in each other through their activities. I commend vgif for making a difference and being a light in the world with members who have hearts that are willing to serve. They need support in their tireless fundraising efforts to get donations from would be supporters to help them keep community projects running and sustainable.