Note, September 2017: This section describes how the Virtual Foundation operated at its peak. We are keeping this section because it may be a useful model for others working on small grants programs, to see the different elements of the structure. The Consortium Members were a vital part of our mechanism. When, one by one, they lost funding or staff that could work on outreach to connect community groups with us, our model of accountability became unsustainable. ECOLOGIA maintains the fiduciary structure of the Virtual Foundation for projects that we can independently monitor and verify. We are no longer accepting unsolicited proposals, as we do not have the capacity to vet them.

What is the Virtual Foundation?

The Virtual Foundation is a unique online philanthropy program which supported grassroots initiatives around the world. Carefully screened community improvement projects in the fields of environment, health, poverty alleviation and sustainable economic activity were posted on our web site. They could be read and funded by online donors.

It enabled community organizations in many countries to partner with funders in an international exchange. It allowed donors to form long-lasting partnerships with the groups they support. Through a network of Consortium Members in different countries, it provided a mechanism through which individuals, groups and organizations, and family foundations could securely engage in international philanthropy, and thus contribute to a global civil society.(Photo: Building Lorena Stoves in Nicaragua)

The focus of the Virtual Foundation is twofold: to encourage private philanthropy among citizens from all walks of life, and to support local projects initiated by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their own communities.

The Virtual Foundation tries to minimize borders and geographic restrictions. It actively sought transboundary projects that increase cooperation among different ethnic groups and nationalities.

The Virtual Foundation was founded in 1996. It is a project of ECOLOGIA, a registered US not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization which has provided a variety of programs, international exchange and support services to non-governmental organizations in developing and transition nations since 1989.
To learn more about the Virtual Foundation, continue on to the How Does it Work? section. (Drawing: Youth Upholstery Project, Sao Tome, Central Africa)