23 June 2006

The Virtual Foundation

I got an e-mail from my theater friend Erika this morning that said:

This is a very interesting website, which shows hundreds of projects from around the world which need financial support. The projects all solve local problems of environment, human health, poverty alleviation or economic development and many projects need as little funding as a couple of thousand dollars. You are able to search by country or type of project and you can also see how much funding they need and how much they have already received. It's a great place to look if you or a group you belong to are looking for a way to make a difference somewhere.
With a link to The Virtual Foundation.

So I did some mousing around on their website and found out that many of the donors give in the amounts that I do - $10 here, $18 there. Then I wandered around the web and to see what I could find about their bona fides.

The Open Society Institute (George Soros’ organization) says:

History: The Virtual Foundation was created to develop and encourage online international philanthropy, to provide a new source of support for NGOs and civil society building activities, and to develop new NGO funding resources. Founded in 1996, the Virtual Foundation has demonstrated its feasibility, especially in the areas of environmental and health grant-giving. With an international network of Consortium Members and efficient and responsive administrative grant review structure, the Virtual Foundation presents an optimal opportunity to develop Internet philanthropy. There has been considerable enthusiasm and support for the Virtual Foundation in the NGO and private foundation communities.

The Internet Program is supporting the Virtual Foundation in its efforts to attract active donors to the Virtual Foundation website through a media campaign, employing both traditional and electronic media outreach efforts. The Internet Program grant will also be used to encourage first time Virtual Foundation donors through the use of matching funds.

Population Targeted: Private foundations, individual donors, NGOs, the Internet community in general.
Philanthropy News Digest says:
An online program that supports grassroots initiatives around the world. The foundation screens and posts small-scale proposals on its Web site, where they can be read by potential donors. It was founded in 1996 by ECOLOGIA, an international nonprofit organization that has supported environmental movements and groups across Eurasia since 1989.
Philanthropy News Digest also has links to other on-lines charities, if you'd like to direct your money closer to home or just check out a charity to make sure that your money is going for programs not perks.