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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. 

 
 
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1969

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. 

1970

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.

 

1975

VGIF's structure and resources shifted, supporting not only individual women, but also grassroots women's groups.

1980-1990

VGIF's grants program grew throughout the decade, allowing the organization to make three to eight grants annually.

 

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1991

VGIF hired its first paid employee.

Learn about our current New York City-based staff here

1990-2000

VGIF expanded its grants program to make ten to fifteen grants annually.

1997

VGIF was recognized by the United Nations' Department of Public Information.

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2000

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. 

2004

VGIF is granted consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Learn more about VGIF's work at the UN here.

2011

VGIF increased grants from $5000 to $7,500 and began its multiyear funding program.

 

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2013

VGIF's board transitioned from an Operational Board to a Governance Board.

Meet VGIF's international Board of Directors here

2018

VGIF votes to fund more grants than ever after selecting 47 projects for the 2018-2019 grant cycle. 

 

 

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2018

VGIF begins an exciting Strategic Planning Process. Learn more here

2019

VGIF celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Celebrate with us!