1969 - Today
Though a lot has changed at VGIF over the last 50 years of grant-making, our support of smart, driven and courageous women around the globe has never wavered.
We're excited to celebrate half a century in 2019 and eternally grateful to all of the women who got us here.
Established in 1969 by members of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), VGIF was initially focused on empowering individuals: college-educated women from around the world committed to solving problems affecting their own communities.
The founders' focus on education was reflected in their choice of a name: The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund. Gildersleeve - the Dean of Barnard College and an IFUW member - is most well-known as the only woman to sign the United Nations founding charter on behalf of the United States.
VGIF made its first grant to support women's leadership building, bringing women from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East to the 1971 IFUW conference.
VGIF's structure and resources shifted, supporting not only individual women, but also grassroots women's groups.
VGIF's grants program grew throughout the decade, allowing the organization to make three to eight grants annually.
VGIF hired its first paid employee.
Learn about our current New York City-based staff here.
VGIF expanded its grants program to make ten to fifteen grants annually.
VGIF was recognized by the United Nations' Department of Public Information.
Generous gifts from Virginia Palmer allowed VGIF to invest in an office, a staff and significantly more grantees. VGIF began funding 20-30 projects per grant cycle.
VGIF is granted consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Learn more about VGIF's work at the UN here.
VGIF increased grants from $5000 to $7,500 and began its multiyear funding program.