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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

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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 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

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,

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

VGIF has helped me over the years by giving me confidence and encouragement to do the work, I'm doing in Sri Lanka. Since the tsunami of 2004 I have organized women at Hikkhaduwa, Dodanduwa to get their livelihoods on tract. Thay lost everything in the tsunami. Firstly, I had to help by making sure the families had food & water and medical care as most women and children were hit by the debris. Most of the houses in this are were intact but there was nothing inside the house as it got washed away. It wa sto the VGIF that I looked for my strength.These village people are fishermen and women. They catch fish or they sell it. My husband and I were holidaying in Sri lanka when the tsunami hit. With help from our family and friends in Western Australia we were able to get most of the fishing boats fixed very quickly as that was an important livelihood for that area. We then concentrated on the women as some of them lost their husbands , children in the tsunami. We supplied sewing machines, material for sewing, crochet thread, so that women can continue their crocheting and sell them to shops in the area as well as sell them at Colombo.We bought fridges, cook tops, for the women who had a shop and sold food as their livelihood. Most of all we gave them hope for the future by building a pre School for children. We had to rent a house at first, then we built a pre school on borrowed land. Now we have started building a Pre-School for the children of Galle, on the land that we have bought. We have3 trained teachers and 1 cook as we give these children a cup of milk when they arrive and give them lunch before they leave, as this will be their only meal sometimes. The Graduate Women of WA, gave a scholarship to the head teacher of the Pre school to follow a pre-school course here in Perth. She has finished it and gone back with new ideas she can do at the pre school. We had 4 teachers coming from Papua NewGuinea for the course as well. I managed to Promote VGIF at these functions by talking about the great work done by them in Asia as well as south America and other countries. I also had pamphlets about the VGIF which I had collected when I went for the IFUW conference in Mexico city. I learnt about the VGIF a lot as I saw videos about the work they do. We get help from St. Michael's Mt.Pleasant Perth, as the people drop a few coins into a bowl every week. Once a month we send this money to pay the salaries of the teachers. I organised a fund raising Sri Lankan Banquet recently catering for 110 people. We made $AUD 4,500 that night which we shared between Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka Pre Schools. Please carry on the wonderful work you do all over the world. VGIF is a great inspiration to all of us who struggle to find donations.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served on the Board in the 1990's and saw first hand wgat a wondeful job Virginia Gildersleeve does in empowering women in the world. It helps women to establish businesses where this would otherwise be impossible . It has its donors women from many countries who help to keep an eye out for those who need our help. I have continued since my time on the Board to dupport the VGIF with contributions and voting by proxy at the annual meeting.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the Non Profits Organization, the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, a Project Grant funding body based in New York, with members across the globe, who volunteer their time and services towards its vision and mission, to empower women in the grassroots section of society, underprivileged, victims of conflict zones, disease and poverty. Applications for grants start coming in through the post or through our website from the month of May until end August. The two tier system both in the application, and reading/reviewing the grant applications is spread thereafter until the end of March the next year.With our funds not exceeding 150,000 dollars for disbursement, we are not a huge grant providing organization, but the $7500 we give at the maximum to any of the grantees provides the kick start for the women-based organization get going into programs towards literacy and computer education, providing water and toilets for girls in schools, animal husbandry, kitchen gardens, skill learning for self employment for teenage girls, empowering women through knowing their legal rights in countries where patriarchal laws deny them rights towards inheritance or maintenance after divorce although their government's conbstitution would have these rights in the llaw courts. Ignorance proves to be a great stumbling block for women in several developing countries across the world.For the Grant Readers which I was for several early years at VGIF, it was a self-education for myself, getting to know the plight of women in countries of which I knew very little inspite of various advanced degrees at the University.Reading over a 100 applications is a long and slow process , very intense in concentration is required to do justice to each application, and then when your work is done and you post your reviews, you wait anxiously to await the Board's final verdict after a marathon 3 days of discussions at the AGM in April in New York.I have travelled from India to New York to be present at these Project Grants Committees Review sessions when the reading from several members from across the world is assessed for its value, and taken seriously for a Yes or No.The satisfaction on the final day of the Board meeting when the final 20 or so Grants make the Grade to receive the Funds is one of great satisfaction, when over the years one's grading and reviewing also mproves in its quality, and you find more and more of your own selected applicants having received the Final Grant money that will give them the power to improve their lives towards a better future. Monitoring the grantees over the years through Site visits by VGIF members who are travelling through that region gives us the Feed back to our own insight of having chosen a deserving group of women who just need that slight help forwards to give them an edge to a better dignity in life.For the VGIF member nothing could give greater satisfaction than that little information that in some corner of the world women and children are doing well through their reading and approving a Grant Application. VIVA VGIF!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served on the VGIF Board for six years--for three of those years as Convener (chair) of the Project Grants Committee. In that role I had the opportunity of seeing all of the proposals that came to the VGIF. It was inspiring to discover how women around the world are shaping their own destinies and how a small grant can make a big difference in the lives of women in the developing world. I believe that the work of VGIF is important and deserves support from women throughout the "developed" world.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

For the past six years I have served on the Project Grants Committee of VGIF which has given me the opportunity to read proposals for VGIF funding from women in the developing world. I particulary appreciate learning about the issues that women confront in seeking to improve their own lives, their families' well-being and their communities. Although VGIF grants are small, they can have significant impact on women's empowerment.

Review from Guidestar

1 Sharon O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This org. empowers women all over the world -IT's part of the AMerican Assn. of University Women whose mission is to strengthen the prospects for women and girls thru education, civil rights and advocacy.I have been a donor and supporter for many years.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 1

i have been part of the UN Committee of VGIF and am deeply impressed with the membership of the organization, their commitment to the idea of working with small womens groups in countries worldwide. The members are well organized, informed and very responsible to the'strategies, meeting schedules and being informed about the issues that are important within womens voices at the UN. They are rare in that their commitment is to their grantees and not to the NGO politics at the UN. It is a very hard working organization.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the more than 30 years that I have participated in this organization as a volunteer I have seen its capacity increase exponentially and the amount of grants awarded increased likewise. Generous bequests have allowed the organization to expand it's leadership from all volunteer to one full time and one part time employee. Leadership in this international organization comes from all over the world, and board members serve at their own expense - a substantial commitment. Grants focus on the needs of women and girls in emerging economies, with each project including some educational component to provide leadership training in the area of focus. These grants have been in the areas of economic development, education, health, women's rights, family law, and others. Active attention to strategic planning keeps VGIF leadership attuned to ways of improving its effectiveness in realizing its mission.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

In 2009 I began reading 35 grant proposals for up to $5000 for very concrete measurable and useful projects mainly to benefit women and girls in the developing world. After being a preliminary reader for two years I am now on the Project Grants Committee which selects the projects chosen to be funded. Each of more than 300 applications is read by from 3 - 6 readers until there are about 40 finalists, from which nearly 30 projects are selected to fund each year since 1986, The tiny staff (2-3 people) manages the grants, the reporting, the site visits and the evaluations. All of the large number of Board members are volunteers. Projects such as learning to raise chickens or sheep or fruits or grains involve beneficiaries teaching others. Some transform village life and some grants save lives through educating about women's/girls rights and educating about HIV/AIDS. Many of the recipients over the years have applied from African and Indian countries, often hearing about VGIF by word of mouth. GuideStar has referred many of applicants to VGIF. People in Latin America and Asia are just beginning to hear about VGIF.

Review from Guidestar