The Virtual Foundation is not a traditional foundation with a large endowment, such as an investment portfolio of stocks donated to a trust fund. Instead, the Virtual Foundation is a project of ECOLOGIA, a US-based non-governmental, non-profit organization whose long-term goal is to build global civil society. The Virtual Foundation's "endowment" is the on-going goodwill, generosity and farsightedness of our donors - individuals and organizations who believe that small acts of kindness can shape the future. We rely on our donors to help us support valuable grassroots projects around the world and contribute to the solution of global problems. We invite you to join the numbers of remarkable individuals and groups who have become Virtual Foundation benefactors by donating to a project, or to the Virtual Foundation itself, today
We are listed on GuideStar, the online standard for accountability for US nonprofits. Check out our listing, under "ECOLOGIA - the Virtual Foundation".
Following are some descriptions of past individual donors, whom we have chosen to feature on our homepage.
At a Model United Nations conference in May, student delegates from Middlebury Union High School debated the merits of several Virtual Foundation projects. They finally voted to contribute $100 to "Houses Built of Straw", a project in Uzbekistan which plans to build environmentally friendly housing from rice production discards (by using bales of the inedible rice straw). Students noted that this is a long-term solution to two needs: environmental protection and housing for people. To read more about how Model United Nations groups are building debating skills, current events awareness, and international involvement through the Virtual Foundation, see VF for Model United Nations.
Featured Donor, January 2003:
Ariane White, California
"When I was in Pakistan, as a young woman leading an adventure trek, I experienced how important it is for an outsider to understand the powerful symbols of another culture. I wore the traditional headcovering to show my respect, and I found that the Pakistanis were very respectful to me as a person, in return." Ariane White's interest in work across cultures has roots in her travels in China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Appreciating the role of the Virtual Foundation in promoting connections and mutual respect between people of very different countries, she chose to contribute to the VF Development Fund, to support its core operating expenses and enable it to expand. The Matching Gifts program run by her employer, Draper Consulting Group was able to double Ariane's contribution. We thank Ariane for her support.
Featured Donor, December 2002:
Ellanore McKenna, Arizona
"The Chinese university students offer future leadership and effort to the cause of environmental protection. I chose to donate to the "Green SOS Small Grant Fund 2003" because I thought it had great potential to forward the work of the Virtual Foundation." Ellanore McKenna's current interests include researching her family genealogy, and supporting the efforts of the local historical society in her childhood home, a silver mining town in Colorado. She writes, "Mining towns in the area are now defunct. Studies of the mining practices then are of particular relevance to environmental conditions now." In search of ancestral records, she has traveled to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Nova Scotia. Understanding the great changes that occur from generation to generation, Ellanore is very sympathetic to the concerns of young people to create a better world for themselves and their children. The Virtual Foundation thanks Ellanore McKenna for her contribution.
Featured Donor, November 2002:
Lydia Thompson, Massachusetts
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, Lydia Thompson wanted to find a creative
way to give thanks. On the Virtual Foundation website, she was excited to see
matching funds available for environmental projects in China.
Lydia organized a drive among her co-workers, raising over $400 from 10
contributors to support "Trees for
Life". She says, "I knew that something as inherently attractive as
little kids and trees would get a lot of interest. The small size of
the grants helped, too. And we all know that the environment and civil
society in China are really major world issues. I'm grateful to the 6th floor MADEP donors."
In addition to her work in the Drinking Water Program of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Lydia is actively involved in many outdoor activities. Last spring, Lydia joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary, where she participates in marine mammal protection patrols off the Massachusetts coast. These patrols ensure that laws protecting endangered species, such as the right whale and humpback whale, are enforced. The Virtual Foundation thanks Lydia for encouraging others to join in to support "Trees for Life". Such enthusiastic personal support encourages our overseas colleagues as well.
Featured Donor, October 2002:
Tracy Erman, Yukon Territory
"I found the Virtual Foundation when I was checking out opportunities for our Yukon Volunteer Bureau to raise funds ourselves. I was really intrigued and just started scrolling through the projects. When I saw the one in Lithuania I was quite amazed. I really believe that if we are to build community and spark people to start getting involved, it needs to happen on a global scale." The Yukon Volunteer Bureau's Executive Director chose to donate to "Information Support for Volunteer Actions".
A native of Saskatchewan, she moved to Yukon Territory seven years ago, and loves its combination of wildness, direct contact with nature, and very strong sense of community. This winter, she will be skijoring (training her dog to pull her on skis), along with other winter activities such as curling and book club meetings. Tracy is contacting the heads of other Canadian Volunteer Bureaus to encourage them to show their own personal support for the Lithuanian volunteer center's efforts.The Virtual Foundation thanks Tracy for her contribution toward building a truly international network of grant-makers and grassroots community projects.
Featured Donor, September 2002:
Ron Blum, Massachusetts
"What I liked about the projects I chose was that they weren't 'one-offs'. They were things that would continue and my support would help build the infrastructure needed." When he "received a small windfall and decided to share it", Ron Blum donated $5,000 to three Virtual Foundation projects: clean water supplies and ecotourism in Central Asia, and e-mail support for a Russian activist fighting toxic pollution through the Russian legal system. Commenting on the last, he says, "For someone like that who is doing so much, it sounded like such a shame that something I take for granted - e-mail access - could stand in his way." Ron works for the software division of a financial company in Massachusetts. His special interests include Byzantine history, movies, and travel, most recently to the site of Wounded Knee near the Badlands of South Dakota. The Virtual Foundation thanks Ron for his continued support.
Featured Donor, August 2002
Dorothy McPherson has raised Scotch Highland cattle and is a long-time supporter of environmental protection in her own rural community in Pennsylvania. She has funded several different Virtual Foundation projects as gifts to her extended family, including "Storks in Focus" in the Czech Republic, and "Land of Nature
and Adventure" in Honduras. She explains, “Supporting international projects via the Virtual Foundation is practically the same as contributing to local environmental causes and issues, except that it doesn't benefit me directly. Indeed, we are all neighbors as citizens of the world. I like knowing that almost all of my Virtual Foundation money goes directly to small groups of volunteers who simply want to do what they can." The Virtual Foundation thanks Dorothy McPherson for her continued support of our vision, as well as of our projects.
Dorothy McPherson, Pennsylvania
Featured Donors, June 2002: Middlebury Model United Nations, Vermont
The Virtual Foundation thanks
the Middlebury Model United
Nations Conference, April 2002,
for voting to fund a project in
Nicaragua, Hydroponics to Give
Juvenile Delinquents a Second Chance". For more about Model UN and Virtual Foundation debates, click here.
Following are quotations from some of the donors: