OVERVIEW: The Lester Fund’s global development grants focus on both protecting women and youth from abuse, and empowering them.
IP TAKE: Lester prioritizes community-based organizations. While the fund does not accept unsolicited applications and proposals at this time, it consistently seeks new groups to fund and primarily focuses on smaller, grassroots organizations.
PROFILE: The Lester Fund is a small family foundation based in New York that addresses “root causes of poverty in the developing world.” This foundation primarily supports children, youth and women, particularly in Haiti and West Africa. It focuses on women because it considers them "key drivers of economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, and are the principal agents of food security and household welfare," while youth represent the future of local economies and cultures.
In regards to women's empowerment, the fund prioritizes projects that emphasize women’s education and skills development in order to build sustainable livelihoods. Lester's work with youth follows the same line of thought and seeks to protect them from abuse, while educating them and giving them the skills necessary to create more sustainable livelihoods.
Grants mostly range between $10,000 to $20,000. Sometimes the fund awards larger grants, between $25,000 to $50,000, but they most often support larger or better-known organizations. To learn more about Lester's support, explore its Grantees list.
The Lester fund offers both program specific and unrestricted grant support. Unfortunately, it does not accept unsolicited grant applications or proposals, but it acknowledges that this practice may change and invites grantseekers to check its website often to stay abreast of changes to its grant application process. It solicits proposals on a rolling basis and makes decisions between two to three months.
- Bonnie Potter, President