Growing Grassroots Philanthropy
Grassroots groups in the developing world need funding; they have very few options.
The amount of philanthropic dollars that leaves our borders is very low—only 3 percent of total U.S. giving goes internationally. Of total “international giving,” less than half goes directly to overseas organizations. Instead, most of those funds go to European-based organizations like the World Health Organization. (See the Council on Foundation’s International Grantmaking Highlights for more on this topic.)
What’s left for local organizations outside of the U.S. working for sustainability and human rights? Virtually nothing. And while international funding is increasing, it’s not getting to these groups.
Global Greengrants Fund is expanding grassroots funding worldwide.
Alliance of Funds
In 2005 two of our advisory boards—Brazil and Southeast Asia—developed into independent grantmaking organizations. Soon after, our Mexico advisory board joined them as an independent organization in 2007. With Global Greengrants Fund, these are the foundations of the Greengrants Alliance of Funds—a partnership of grantmaking organizations that supports grassroots-led sustainability and justice. Today, the Alliance counts two more organizations in its membership, and we are each working to grow grassroots philanthropy in our own backyards.
Making connections and expanding our model
Greengrants also promotes our model of decentralized grassroots grantmaking within the philanthropic community:
- We participate in key forums like Council on Foundations, Environmental Grantmakers Association, International Human Rights Funders Group, Grantmakers without Borders, and others. We ask the hard questions: Who is best positioned to decide which groups to fund? How can we think across categories like the environment or human rights? What about the rest of the world?
- We work with kindred organizations. We’ve collaborated with the Global Fund for Women for joint programming and education projects, and we partner with organizations like 350.org to help them get small grants to local groups worldwide.
- We advise new foundations interested in international grantmaking and do our best to link our resources to others.
Every dollar that reaches a local group in need and capable of creating change is a step in the right direction.