2012 May & June Grantmaking Activity: Global Greengrants

RSF Social Finance made $1 million in grants in May and June
Aug 16, 2012 5:40 PM ET

By Catherine Covington

Many of our donor advised fund clients recommend grants to domestic organizations that they have a close connection to.  Perhaps they have volunteered with the organization, know someone on the staff or board, have seen the impact of the organization’s work in their own community, or are passionate about an issue or problem the organization is tackling.  However, what does one do if you are passionate about supporting causes outside the U.S. but don’t know where to get started or what support is needed and where?

One of donor advisors recently recommended a grant to Global Greengrants, a domestic non-profit with international grantmaking expertise.   The mission of Global Greengrants is to mobilize resources for global environmental sustainability and social justice. It does so by raising money from individuals, foundations and corporations then donating those funds to worthy charitable causes around the world.  One might ponder the direct impact a gift to a regranting organization but Greengrants is able to add tremendous value to its donors’ gifts through its unique grantmaking model—small grants recommended by local experts.

Greengrants acts as a bridge between donors and local groups on the ground, and it does so through a model of activist-led grantmaking.  Greengrants has strong, local connections with extraordinary community leaders and activists around the world.  Journalists, lawyers, scientists, academics and a variety of other individuals act as advisors on nearly 20 advisory boards.  The advisors provide local knowledge and on-the-ground details, which are two key ingredients for making impactful grants at the grassroots level.  These advisors are often on the front lines enabling Greengrants to find promising grantees and ensure success through active monitoring and mentoring.   To learn more about Greengrants’ grantmaking model and the important challenges it is confronting in areas such as biodiversity conservation, climate justice, and food and agriculture, please check out its website.  My favorite page is the grantee highlights section!

During the months of March and April, RSF’s donor advisors recommended 66 grants from their Donor Advised Funds for a total disbursement amount of $1,002,334!  Donor Advised Funds are a unique charitable giving vehicle offered by RSF that allow donors to make tax-deductible contributions to RSF and then recommend grants from their fund to qualified nonprofit organizations of their choice.  A donor can be an individual, group, family, corporation, trust, or a foundation, and they benefit from access to RSF’s innovative Impact Investing Portfolios.  Unlike other Donor Advised Fund investment programs, a donor’s contribution is invested directly in enterprises and funds with core social and environmental missions to ensure greater mission-alignment and the deepest impact possible.

Catherine Covington is Senior Associate, Philanthropic Services at RSF Social Finance

Jillian McCoy
RSF Social Finance