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VGIF Opportunity Grants

Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF)

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Anticipated deadline: Sep 4, 2020

Grant amount: Up to US $10,000

Fields of work: Women's Health Women & Girl Services Women's Rights & Equality

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: India; Kenya; Malawi; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda

Location of residency: India; Kenya; Malawi; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda

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About this funder:



NOTE: We are not currently accepting unsolicited applications for grants.


VGIF is an international women's fund that provides small grants to women-led grassroots projects. 

At VGIF, we believe that when the rights of women and girls are threatened, women and girls are the best-equipped leaders for finding sustainable solutions that fit their own communities' particular needs.

That's why, since our founding in 1969, VGIF has distributed more than $3.5 million to fund women-led projects in 94 different countries. 

The work done by VGIF grantees has impacted over 1 million people, changing lives in significant and lasting ways. 

Our Grants

Small Grants. Local Action. Better Lives.

We believe that no one is better suited to uplift women and girls in a community than the women and girls who live there. 

Our funding model has always relied on smart, courageous and determined female leaders around the world who design and implement sustainable solutions that fit the local context, unique barriers, and infrastructure of their own neighborhoods. 

Over the past 50 years, we've supported nearly 700 women-led projects. Time and time again we've been proven right:

Women get things done. 

Our New Three-Stage Grant Model

VGIF partners long-term with catalytic, women-led grassroots organizations to help them grow & deliver on their mission.

We have adopted an active partnership grantmaking model – a three-stage process through which VGIF offers opportunities to small and emerging women-led groups, invests in our partners’ capacity-building and programmatic efforts, and provides leverage for longer-term grantee partners as they increase their impact and gain the capacity and visibility to approach larger funders. Our grants are flexible (a mix of core and programmatic support), and partners will have the opportunity to receive up to 6 years of funding totaling $95,000. 

Through our geographic focus, we will fund in 5 focus countries: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and India.

When we partner with a new grantee, we intend to support them for six years. Our three-stage approach allows us (and our grantee partners) to benchmark milestones, re-commit to or adjust intended outcomes, take the pulse of our partnership to ensure that it is healthy, and to build momentum towards our partners’ long-term sustainability.  

We prioritize emerging organizations that have huge potential, strong local roots, and impressive leaders, but who struggle to secure consistent funding and have capacity gaps that may weaken their effectiveness. These organizations have a deep understanding of their local context, experience in their programmatic areas, and a proven track record of impactful programming locally (or are new organizations aiming to implement on a well-researched concept). We seek to continuously evaluate and learn, and we prioritize groups who share this commitment.

We look for organizations who value transparency, collaboration, embrace learning, seek growth, employ a feminist or women’s rights approach, and with whom we share programmatic goals related to our priority area of Economic Empowerment for women, girls, and trans people. 

We identify new grantee partners in Stage One only. Through this open application, we assess applicants for their fit with our multi-stage partnership model, meaning that they are interested in assessing their organizational capacities and investing time and resources in capacity-building as well as programs, and are open to collaborating with staff and other partners through email, on-site visits, and in-country convenings.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible organizations must meet ALL of the following criteria to apply. We partner with groups who are: 
    • Located in one of our current priority countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, or India
    • Dedicated to improving the lives of women, girls and/or trans people, as evidenced by the group’s mission and/or activities.
      • Groups’ activities should also indicate a significant focus on the economic empowerment of women, girls, and/or trans people.
    • Groups of women, girls and/or trans people working together to identify and solve issues in their communities.
      • These do not need to be registered as non-governmental organizations, but must be able to demonstrate that they are organized as a group, such as under a constitution or set of bylaws.
      • Exception: Organizations located in India must be FCRA compliant.
    • Groups must be governed and led by women, girls, and/or trans people, meaning they should fill all or most of the leadership roles, including, but not limited to, the highest levels of decision-making.
    • Small and emerging organizations with little or no access to larger donors or institutional funding. 
    • Eager to collaborate, network, learn, and share ideas/expertise with like-minded organizations
    • Committed to measuring programmatic and organizational results
    • Made up of and/or working with socially excluded and disadvantaged women, girls, and/or trans people
    • Embracing a “nothing about us without us” mentality, meaning that decision-making and programming should reflect direct involvement of those who are affected by the organization’s work, including the local community if applicable.
    • Interested in assessing and growing their organizational capacities.
      • Our funds are flexible; however, proposed budgets should reflect a meaningful allocation of funds to activities directly related to organizational capacity assessment and strengthening.
    • Planning to implement, or currently implementing, a program that delivers one or more of the following activities:
      • PROVIDING ACCESS TO RESOURCES such as creating market & company linkages, facilitating access to saving and lending options, providing materials, equipment, space, infrastructure, start-up capital
      • EDUCATING & TRAINING in financial literacy, business and income generation training, entrepreneurship support, vocational training, life skills training for adolescent girls
      • ENGAGING COMMUNITIES & ADVOCACY efforts that educate communities, work on changing/implementing laws, policies or norms that harm/protect women, girls, and/or trans people, or support networking activities


  • We give priority to organizations that have annual budgets less than $50,000 USD.


  • We are currently unable to fund the following: 
    • Political parties, government entities, or election campaigns (or groups that are structurally or financially dependent on these)
    • Religious institutions
    • Individuals (such as for research projects, scholarship programs, or funds that benefit the applicant only)
    • International organizations that have programs or offices in our focus countries.
      • For example, we would not fund an organization founded in the US that implements programs in Kenya.
    • Groups that deny the rights of certain women, girls, and/or trans people based on who they are or on their position in society


This page was last reviewed July 28, 2020 and last updated July 28, 2020