OVERVIEW: The charitable arm of the bottled water company VOSS of Norway dedicates its grantmaking to organizations that provide sustainable access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa.
IP TAKE: VOSS is an approachable funder that offers both project-specific and general operating support to WASH groups working in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a funder with an eye on the long term.
PROFILE: The VOSS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the bottled water company VOSS of Norway. The foundation was established in 2008 after VOSS founder Knut Brundtland made a trip to Africa and witnessed the enormity of the global water crisis. Since then, the foundation has focused its grantmaking on sustainable access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (a.k.a. WASH grants) in sub-Saharan Africa. Citing a "ripple effect," the foundation believes access to clean water is directly linked to health and hygiene. Overall, it supports WASH projects in rural and peri-urban regions of sub-Sahara Africa. It also seeks projects in areas that have a high burden of water related diseases. On occasion, VOSS will fund WASH projects in urban regions.
Prioritizing collaboration, the foundation says it funds "partners, not projects or countries." It does not limit the time of its partnerships, and offers both project-specific and general operating support.
VOSS's Women Helping Women campaign seeks to lift the burden on women and girls to procure their family's daily water needs. As VOSS suggests on its site, water is "disproportionately a women’s burden in Africa." As a result, women must often sacrifice their own health and well-being in the process. Women and water, VOSS believes, are tied together by crisis and violence.
Although VOSS does not award many grants or take on many new partners, it is an approachable funder that accepts unsolicited grants throughout the year. The foundation gives to both small and large organizations, including nonprofits like Water.org, to advance its community-based WASH efforts in Ethiopia. Most grants fall in the $10,000 to $50,000 range.
The VOSS Foundation has two global offices, one in Norway and one in New York. U.S.-based groups seeking additional grant application information should contact VOSS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Caitlin Rackish, Program Director, New York
- Mona Lipson, Director of Strategic Advancement and Corporate Citizenship