The Virtual Foundation
Building Global Civil Society by Connecting Donors
with Community Projects Worldwide
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View Past Regional Grant-Making Programs of ECOLOGIA

Global Civil Society and International Philanthropy
The Virtual Foundation is a project of ECOLOGIA
The Virtual Foundation® / ECOLOGIA
PO Box 268, Middlebury Vermont 05753 USA
Telephone 1-802-623-8075.

"The Good Manners of Colonized Subjects"
by Shebana Coelho

This play, a mixture of dance, poetry and story, takes audiences through the experiences of colonization, fear and liberation. Shebana uses her Portuguese-Indian roots, her time in British-influenced India, and her growing up in the United States as the starting point to engage audiences across cultures.

"Good Manners" explores the cultural persistence of colonization, its impacts on both the former colonizers and colonized peoples, ways to acknowledge the past and move forward to create a more humane future.

Location: Spain, Iberian Peninsula
Time-Frame: June - September 2022
Budget: $22,000 USD
Raised so far: $5,000
Needs: $17,000

For more information, or to donate, see "The Good Manners in Spain"

The Story of the Virtual Foundation

The Virtual Foundation, founded in 1996, was the first online philanthropy program designed to support grassroots initiatives around the world. It provided a platform for specific projects designed by local community groups and non-governmental organizations.

Please note that we can no longer accept
unsolicited proposals,
no matter how worthwhile.

All Virtual Foundation projects:

  • meet needs with a combination of volunteer labor, local contributions, and outside assistance
  • solve local problems of environment, human health, poverty alleviation or economic development
  • are supervised by our network of Consortium Members (capable organizations on the ground), or by ECOLOGIA staff
  • meet locally identified needs directly and on an appropriate, sustainable scale.

Our original model of widespread projects relied on the Consortium Members - established support institutions on the ground in each country or region - that provided services (translation, communication, banking etc.) to local groups. We were unable to sustain this model over the years.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, and then the 2008 economic crisis, our Consortium Members lost much of their own support, and had to shut down their services to local groups. In addition, larger development funding organizations increasingly want to implement their own agendas rather than relying on local initiatives.

On this website, we maintain archive documentation of a fascinating variety of small-scale funded projects, and also three larger regional grant-making programs.

ECOLOGIA's Virtual Foundation maintains its fiduciary mechanism for support of a limited number of ongoing projects that have their own dedicated funding sources, and for which we can assure our responsibility and oversight. The Virtual Foundation itself, and all the projects supported through it, are a branch of ECOLOGIA, a 501(c)3 charitable non-profit based in the United States and operating since 1989.

For more on the ideas and experiences of ECOLOGIA, and reflections on the power of community-based grants, see "From the Baltic Mini-Grant Program to the Virtual Foundation: Small Grants and Global Change".

Peak Macaya Health and Sanitation Projects, 2023

Region Haiti, Caribbean Islands

Grants received as of April, 2023: $ 22,000
Report: Original work completed; expansion in progress; most recent grant supports Peak Macaya's public school ongoing art and education programs

Goals To support the Peak Macaya Cooperative's community projects; to provide composting toilets for community neighborhoods in this mountainous agricultural settlement. This project involves construction of the facilities themselves, and education, instruction and supervision on use and maintenance. Once up and running, the composting toilets will provide health and sanitation benefits to the people and a source of fertilizer for land degraded by deforestation. For more information: Peak Macaya Cooperative - Health and Sanitation Project 2022

NOTE: to donate online to a specific project:

Go to the ECOLOGIA homepage, find the PayPal donation link, enter the name of the specific project in the box above the amount, enter the amount you wish to contribute and continue. ECOLOGIA is a 501(c)3 registered charitable non-profit.


Region Mongolia

Goals:: Nomads help preserve the planet with their low-impact lifestyle, which uses few of the earth's resources. With their strong connection to and respect for the earth, their lives can teach others the art of sustainability.

In the past 50 years, though, nomads in Mongolia have decreased from nearly 100% of its population to 38% today. There are many forces causing this: more health and education opportunities in the city, damage to traditional lands due to mining and construction, lack of support infrastructure, and climate change leading to stress on plants, animals and people.

The Nomadicare team, led by Sas Carey, documents the lives of the nomads in movies, on video, with still photographs and with printed stories. The nomads themselves are showing resilience, as they appreciate seeing the stories of their own traditions, now being made available to the outside world.

With the upheavals caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and economic disruptions, many global forces are now encouraging de-centralization, and more respect for the wisdom of traditional ways of living in harmony with nature. As the most recent film, "Transition", demonstrates, the nomadic way of life is surviving and changing, incorporating aspects of urban life while remaining linked to the animals, the extended family, and the land.

Films: Transition (2019), Migration (2016) , Ceremony (2014) , and Gobi Women's Song (2010).

For more information, see the Nomadicare website