Weidemann Foundation MicrolendingIn May 1998, the Weidemann Foundation launched its non-profit work by collaborating with Citicorp Foundation, the World Bank, the State Department/US Agency for International Development, and the British Government to sponsor a conference in Nairobi, Kenya to increase the capacity of mainstream banks to reach poor borrowers.  Almost 120 participants from Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe attended.

MicrolendingTo help low-income artisans, the Weidemann Foundation provided seed money in collaboration with the World Bank, to fund an online training and resource network for the Artisan Enterprise Network (AEN) of the Crafts Center. The AEN assisted over 23,836 grassroots artisan producers with knowledge to turn their small enterprises into prosperous businesses, linked to the global marketplace. 

To raise public awareness of microlending, the Weidemann Foundation made a grant to the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  The grant was used for recording a 2007 lecture by Anne Hastings entitled “Eradicating Global Poverty: Is It Really Achievable?”  This program about the Haitian microlending program, Fonkoze, has been widely televised and disseminated throughout the University of California system. 

Microlending LoansThe Foundation made a grant to ACCION International, a world pioneer in microfinance, providing loans as low as $100 to poor entrepreneurs in 25 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the United States. 

The Weidemann Foundation made a grant to Fonkoze, USA for the Santa Barbara, CA sponsored branch bank for the microlending program, Fonkoze (Shoulder- to- Shoulder Foundation) in Haiti.  Fonkoze, started in 1997, now has 30 branches with 45,000 borrowers (98% of whom are women) who have loans of over $9 million.  Women receive training in business skills, literacy and health.  Savings are an important component of Fonkoze.  A new initiative for the ultra poor will train those without productive assets so they will eventually qualify for loans. women's issues

Women’s Issues

The Weidemann Foundation is a co-sponsor of the Women’s Festivals in Santa Barbara, CA and Sedona, AZ. The Festivals are organized around five crucial areas of women’s lives: personal, professional, philanthropic, political and planet. Jean Weidemann Co-Chairs the Philanthropic track and is speaking on microlending.

The Weidemann Foundation made a grant to the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara for recording a 2008 lecture by Zaineb Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women for Women International and award-winning photographer, Lekha Singh. The lecture, "Beyond Bullets and Borders: Reconciliation and Rebuilding in the Aftermath of War," addresses women who survived war in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world. The recording is being widely televised and disseminated throughout the University of California system.

Weidemann Foundation Women's IssuesWomen’s EDGE Coalition/Women Thrive Worldwide received several Weidemann Foundation grants.  This unique 25,000 member organization advocates for international economic policies and human rights to support women world wide in their actions to end poverty in their lives, communities and nations.  For example, Women Thrive Worldwide works with the US Congress on legislative initiatives such as the Global Resources and Opportunities to Thrive Act (GROWTH) and the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). 

Jean WeidemannThe Weidemann Foundation also provided several grants to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), a 5000 member international organization that connects, informs and mobilizes feminists and other advocates for women’s rights and gender equality.  Special initiatives include cultivating leadership of young women, gender equality and new technology, and women’s rights in the new global order.


Weidemann Foundation YouthWeidemann Foundation partnered with Rotary International Scholars on Project Japale Goune in Dakar, Senegal.  The project funded a kitchen and serves 10,000  lunches each year to primary school children who would otherwise go without a noon meal.  The project is approaching sustainability, with the school now paying a majority of lunch costs.  The President of Senegal recognized the school by donating 30 computers, which may form the basis of a Cyber Café to aid in fund raising. 

Weidemann Foundation made a grant to Save the Children, to ensure that children can survive and thrive, and that their families, and communities have the resources, and skills to enable them to do so.  Save the Children also has an economic opportunities program targeting women entrepreneurs.

Community Development

The Weidemann Foundation collaborates with well-known organizations such as the Jane Goodall Institute. Together we provide support to the impoverished village of Nyamoli, Tanzania, in the TACARE (Take Care) community development project. TACARE fights poverty, encourages sustainable livelihoods, and addresses environmental degradation through integrated initiatives in microlending, natural resource management, fuel-efficient stoves, healthcare, AIDS prevention, girls’ education, and youth programs.

Tibetan Village ProjectThe Weidemann Foundation has provided support to the Tibetan Village Project (TVP) for small-scale, practical healthcare, educational and micro-enterprise initiatives that embrace Tibetan cultural values. Since its inception, TVP has impacted over 8000 Tibetan villagers through building / renovating four bridges; building a school and distributing school supplies to 10 other schools with over 1,200 students; and providing medical care for over 3,200 patients through 3 clinics and a mobile clinic.

A similar grant was made to the Drokpa Foundation to help Tibetan and other pastoral communities in the Himalayas and Central Asia with community health, alternative energy, social entrepreneurship, and education/training.

Cultural and Spiritual PreservationTibetan Community

The Weidemann Foundation has provided numerous smaller grants for cultural and spiritual preservation of the Tibetan Bon communities, including for nuns, monks and orphans.  The Tibetan Bon people represent the original Tibetan spiritual tradition, but their numbers today are less than 500,000.  Other Weidemann Foundation grants to support the Tibetan cause were made to the Bon Foundation, the Ligmincha Institute, and the Tibetan Monk and Jean WeidemannYungdrung Bon Foundation.  The Dalai Lama Foundation also received support from the Weidemann Foundation.


Among other recipients of Weidemann Foundation grants are Direct Relief International; Heifer International; and a Rwandan trauma training Make a Differenceprogram for widow and orphan heads-of-household genocide survivors.