Angels and Activists

VegFund is a solid choice for sustaining your donor contribution and maximizing your impact in increasing vegan outreach around the world. Learn more by following the “12 Days of VegFund” on Facebook. Please “Like” us, and join the effort! The VegFund staff and our global activist base are grateful for donations made through our website. Each contribution, large and small, helps us grow beyond the thousands of activists we are already reaching in some 30 countries.

Speaking of sustainability and impact, VegFund recently sponsored a panel titled “Exponential Sustainability: The Payoff of Vegan Living” at Sustainatopia 2015. Sustainatopia is a bi-annual event for knowledge-sharing by more than 500 impact investors, social ventures, nonprofit organizations, corporations, media outlets, and others working to create a more sustainable, healthier, and compassionate world.

The VegFund panel addressed how vegan diets and lifestyle choices yield a great return on investment to maximize the well-being of people, biodiversity, and the earth’s environment. The VegFund panel included Caroline Wimberly of Brighter Green, David Benzaquen of PlantBased Solutions, and Leslie Barcus of VegFund.

The VERY FIRST person we encountered at the conference by VegFund was a young man, who works for a small corporation promoting green energy solutions. He was passionate about protecting the environment and lowering his carbon footprint, but he only recently had realized the difference he can make by adopting a vegan diet. The documentary Cowspiracy motivated him to make the dietary switch. We hope this newly inspired environmentalist and vegan will soon join the VegFund activist network and help us expand our reach to new audiences working on social finance, climate change, sustainable development models, organic and local farming, and all of the fascinating practice areas in play making the world a better place.

David Benzaquen of PlantBased Solutions proved that potential activists such as this young man could land in the good company of renowned global business leaders who are funding vegan products. PlantBased Solutions now works with six vegan venture funds and some 480 angel investors. Angels are not found only during the holiday season! In the investment world, “angels” are investors who offer funds to start-up and young companies at gentler investment terms than those offered by more established venture capital funds.

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Vegan investors and angel investors are walking among the international business gods! David also made note of a number of billionaires who are taking a financial position in vegan products, including:

  • Bill Gates … no introduction needed? OK, he is the founder of Microsoft, and his wealth now stands at an estimated $80 billion dollars, according to public wealth rankings.
  • Li Ka-shing … yes, you can think “cha-ching”! Mr. Li was ranked in 2014 by Bloomberg as probably the wealthiest entrepreneur in Asia.
  • Marc Benioff … founder of Salesforce and, thus, a godfather of cloud computing.

David reminds us that regardless of our place and stage in life today or readiness to invest, each and every one of us can vote with our forks and speak up to educate others. You just never know who is listening!

VegFund is here and ready to assist with your vegan outreach through our grant programs, from video event to food sampling, documentary screening — or whatever novel outreach idea you may have that would merit a financial grant.

We look forward to receiving your contribution in 2015 and expanding our outreach in 2016.

ALL support large and small has a big impact for spreading the beauty of vegan living.

Happy Holidays! Leslie Barcus Executive Director

VegFund Ventures to UK Veg Fests!

VegFund attended London VegFest and the Northern Vegan Festival in Manchester this October to meet with vegan activists from around the globe.

Find out more about VegFund’s programs to support vegan activists across the globe, and help us reach out at more events like these during 2016 by donating to support our work.

Back to the UK Veg Fests… Amanda Riley, VegFund’s Operations Assistant based in the U.S., traveled across the pond to attend these events and spread the word about VegFund’s grant programs to support the work of grassroots activists.

Photograph courtesy of VegFest UK

Photograph Courtesy of VegFest UK

London VegFest, Europe’s largest vegan festival, attracted 12,000 attendees over the two days of the event. Along with information booths and tantalizing foods, the festival featured a Health Summit and an Activist Summit that offered attendees a diverse program of talks on vegan-related issues and topics. As part of the Activist Summit, Amanda presented a talk on cost-effective activism: “How a Little Money Can Make a Big Difference.”

This talk highlighted the value of focusing on a low cost per person as means of reaching as many people as possible within a budget. Amanda provided activists with helpful tips, among them:

  • Estimate your reach and don’t pay for more than you need.
  • Ask for donations and discounts for your expenses, such as literature and food samples. You might be surprised what organizations and businesses are open to offering you!
  • Do comparison shopping for the items needed for your event, ensuring you are getting the best price possible.
  • At your outreach events, provide people with follow-up opportunities to maximize your impact. For example, offer them a leaflet linking to a website.
  • Make use of VegFund’s online advertising program. Online advertising is a low-cost form of advocacy with the potential of reaching a large audience. For example, one of VegFund’s grantees reached more than 38 million people through their online ad, with more than one million of these requesting a vegan starter kit as a result!
  • For larger events, refine your strategy to make the most of your available budget.

Food Sampling Outreach:

  • Stick to small sample sizes.
  • Limit the number of types of food offered to a few good quality products.

Video Outreach:

  • Seek good-value venues that enable you to reach as many people as possible for a reasonable cost; for example, a $150 venue capable of holding 1,000 people.
  • Try to estimate your audience size accurately to ensure license costs are kept to a minimum — this can be a big savings point.
  • Promote your event! Don’t neglect this area, and keep in mind that lots of promotion can be done at zero cost via social media channels.

You can listen to Amanda’s full talk here.

The Northern Vegan Festival attracted 3,500 people over the course of the one-day event. Amanda presented a talk titled “Using Microgrants to Spread Veganism around the World” at this festival, providing an overview of VegFund’s international work supporting activists in their vegan outreach. Microgrants, as she emphasized, have the power to reach communities across the globe by funding events and projects that touch hundreds and thousands of individuals at the local level.

Amanda, with the help of volunteers, distributed more than 500 brochures at these festivals, and about 100 folks signed up to find out more about VegFund’s programs. The booths were active all day with truly inspiring conversations from both experienced and new activists who are making a positive change.

VegFund's Stall at London VegFest

VegFund’s Stall at London VegFest

Thank you to everyone who came by to say “Hi” and listened to our talks in the UK. We look forward to funding your activism in the future!