Global Greengrants Fund is a charitable foundation that makes small grants (typically $500 to $5,000) to grassroots environmental causes around the world. These funds are used to support community-based groups outside the United States and Western Europe working on issues of environmental justice, sustainability, and conservation. Since its establishment in 1993, Global Greengrants Fund has made over 5,000 grants in 129 countries, giving a total of over $20 million.
To “make small grants (typically $500 to $5,000) to grassroots groups around the world working to help people protect the environment, live sustainably, preserve biodiversity, and gain a voice in their own future."
Greengrants focuses its resources in seven major issue areas: biodiversity, climate change, energy, indigenous peoples, sustenance, water, and women.
Greengrants launched a designated climate fund in June 2010 in partnership with 1% for the Planet. Through this program, groups will receive $500–5,000 toDevelop alternative energy sources
Protect forests and plant trees
Train farmers on resilient agricultural techniques, and
Address climate change and its effects around the globe.
Greengrants seeks to bridge the gap between those who can offer financial support and grassroots groups in developing countries that can make effective use of that support. To identify prospective grantees, Greengrants uses a volunteer network of advisors - experts in their fields who are knowledgeable about the pressing issues in their regions and able to identify grassroots groups working on these issues. Through this global network, the organization is able to grant money to groups working in local communities that otherwise would have little or no access to funding. This network keeps overhead costs low, while ensuring that grant dollars are reaching those who the organization feels are most in need and are best positioned to effect real change.
Each board develops a grantmaking strategy to fit the regional context and the advisors’ experiences. The advisors identify appropriate moments for strategic grants to grassroots groups. Global Greengrants Fund has supported a wide array of projects and groups over the years, from organic agriculture in India, to securing land rights for indigenous peoples in Brazil, to fighting dams in Mozambique.
Greengrants currently has regional advisory boards in the Andes, Central America, China, East Africa, India, the Pacific Islands, Russia, Southern Africa, the Southern Cone of South America, and West Africa. These boards are composed of volunteers from a variety of fields and coordinated by part-time staff members in each region.
Additionally, Greengrants has developed a partnership of locally constituted and locally governed organizations in Brazil (Center for Socio-Environmental Support), Mexico (Solidarity in Action Fund), Southeast Asia (The Samdhana Institute), The Netherlands (Both ENDS), and Canada (Small Change Fund). Together, these organizations make up the Greengrants Alliance of Funds. The members of the Alliance operate much like the other the advisory boards, while also raising their own resources to increase support for grassroots groups in their respective regions.
Also affiliated with Greengrants is a group of Global Advisors that supplements the work of its regional boards. They include Earth Island Institute, Friends of the Earth International, International Rivers Network, Pesticide Action Network, and Rainforest Action Network. In addition, an International Financial Institutions (IFI) Advisory Board identifies grassroots groups working to influence trends in international lending and finance, helping citizens gain a voice in decisions about development programs, dams, public works and other large-scale infrastructure projects.
In 2009, with the help of several organizations supported in part by small grants from Greengrants, the National Coalition on Mining succeeded in pressuring the Ghanaian government to ban mining in protected forest reserves.
In 2008, pressure from groups including the Indigenous Council of Roraima and the National Committee in Defense of Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land (both of which are supported by Greengrants and their partner, the Center of Socio-Environmental Support (CASA) in Brazil) concluded a 20-year legal struggle to secure their traditional lands in the Raposa Serra do Sol reserve in the northern Brazilian state of Roraima.
Using only the seven grants totaling $30,400 made to them between 2005 and 2009 by Greengrants, the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) indigenous community in northern Ontario won the protection of their lands from exploitation by the Toronto-based Platinex, Inc. The proposed project would have threatened the health and livelihood of the indigenous community, which lies 125 miles from the nearest road, in the Boreal Forest of Northern Ontario.
Global Greengrants Fund received a four out of four star rating on Charity Navigator, an independent organization that rates non-profits. They received four stars on both efficiency and capacity.
Greengrants has been chosen by the Aveda Corporation as their global partner for Aveda's annual Earth month campaign. They work together to support clean water projects in communities where Aveda sources their ingredients. In 2007, $700,000 was raised though candle sales and customer donations from salons and spas. With this money, 186 projects were funded in 15 countries such as India, Brazil and Bulgaria.
To date, 27 Greengrants grantees and advisors have been awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, considered the "Nobel Prize of environmental activism." Notably, in 2009, Wanze Eduards and S. Hugo Jabini of Suriname "successfully organized their communities against logging on their traditional lands, ultimately leading to a landmark ruling for indigenous and tribal peoples throughout the Americas to control resource exploitation in their territories.". Other grantees have received the Condé Nast Traveler Environment Award; the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize; the Sting and Trudie Styler Award for Human Rights and the Environment; and the Reebok Human Rights Award, among others.