John F. and Mary A. Geisse Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The Geisse Foundation focuses its global development grantmaking on poverty alleviation in developing countries.

IP TAKE: This small family funder is surprisingly approachable. Grant amounts tend to be modest, but can be highly beneficial to small and grassroots groups working at the local and community level.

PROFILE: John Geisse, founder of Target and Venture Stores, established the John F. and Mary Geisse Foundation in 1969 to support organizations that work to alleviate poverty and those that help break the generational poverty cycle in developing countries. While the foundation supports organizations that seek to alleviate poverty, its focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), agriculture, agriculture, education and the justice sectors.

Grantmaking ranges from a low of $100 to a high of around $200,000. The majority of grants, however, range from $10,000 to $50,000. In the past, the foundation has supported Water for People, Vision Spring and Congo Leadership Initiative.

With the exception of a handful of larger international organizations, this family funder tends to prioritize smaller and grassroots groups. Although Geisse maintains a low-profile, it manages to award several grants each year. The Geisse Foundation’s tax filings indicate that it is not opposed to awarding multi-year grants or to supporting the same organization over multiple years; however, it also accepts new grantees. 

The Geisse Foundation accepts unsolicited requests for funding and grant applications throughout the year. 


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