Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund: Grants for Environmental Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund’s conservation grants focus largely on efforts that benefit girls and women.

IP TAKE: This funder tend to limit grants to one year; however, makes a limited number of grants available for multi-year projects. VGIF makes multi-year grants by invitation only.

PROFILE: A small group of International Federation of University Women members founded the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) in 1969. Initially, the VGIF helped female college graduates in developing countries. The fund has since expanded its work to support women’s rights and empowerment organizations in least-developed countries around the world. VGIF does not fund projects taking place in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe.

VGIF supports organizations helping “[i]mprove the lives of women and girls by advancing women’s rights and social justice,” and currently supports grassroots organizations in South and East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The fund focuses its giving on grassroots empowerment organizations because it “[b]elieves that women know best what will help improve and enrich life in their own communities and they are the only ones equipped to empower themselves.”

VGIF awards women’s rights and empowerment grants through its six main topic areas of economic development and empowerment, education, environment, food, and water security, health, wellness, and bodily integrity, human rights and legal status, and leadership and movement building.

The fund’s grants related to conservation focus on building food and water systems and sustainable agricultural practices. Past conservation grantees include the MikonoYetu Center for Creativity and Innovation which received support for its natural resource management and climate change mitigation work; and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for its literacy, environment, conservation and leadership management skills program held in Kigali Rwanda.

The foundation also has four separate funds to provide support for specific types of projects: Erna Hamburger Fund, Asian Regional Endowment, Central/South America/Caribbean Regional Endowment Fund, and the Leaders program.

VGIF limits its grant awards to $7,500. To get a broader sense of the types of organizations VGIF supports, explore its projects database.

The fund VGIF accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry at varying times throughout the year. Click here for current submission deadlines.


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