building lasting peace

We invest in peacebuilding programs around the globe to help youth and children from conflict-inflicted environments build relationships across difference, and overcome prejudice, stereotyping, hatred and fear.

We help ordinary citizens create their own impact by making financial contributions to places affected by conflict. 


Our difference is...

GPBF has evolved over the past eight years to establish its unique place in the peace and security grantmaking field through the following:

Grassroots Approach – GPBF supports peacebuilding activities that operate at the local, or community level. The key premise is that lasting peace can and must be built from the bottom up by ordinary citizens. We believe that power resides not just with high level decision makers, but at the grassroots level as well. Each individual can make a difference. 

Contact Theory - GPBF operates under the Contact Theory, a central tenet of peace building, based on the belief that separation and unfamiliarity between conflicting groups can, and often does, breed negative attitudes such as stereotyping and prejudice which can potentially escalate into hostility and violence. The Contact Theory believes that these negative attitudes can be reduced by promoting contact and familiarity between conflicting groups

Long-term focus and approach – As both a fundraiser and a grant maker, GPBF is uniquely committed to long-term investment in the peacebuilding process. Rather than following a short-term and quantitative results-driven approach, GPBF focuses on long-term goals, supported by qualitative results.  GPBF realizes that it will take many generations to undo the hatred, fears and violence that have been passed down from one generation to the next. Our aim is to break this cycle and contribute to the building of sustainable peace all children deserve. 

Innovative business model – GPBF continues to develop an innovative model that combines advocacy, due diligence, and Precision Micro-Granting℠ ($500 to $1,000 grants earmarked for specific programs or projects) to increase awareness of the culture-transforming work currently underway among ordinary citizens. Our model also provides donors with an opportunity to create their own impact through financial contributions. 

Efficient, low cost operation – With low administrative costs and by-laws that prohibit the board of directors from receiving any compensation, GPBF allocates 99% of the annual budget towards core programs. We intentionally emphasize and encourage volunteerism in ordinary citizens, empowering them to think and act on both local and global scales. Thomas B. Etzel, Founder & Executive Director, has taken zero compensation since inception. 

Commitment to attitudinal change - Governments sign treaties and aid organizations spend billions of dollars a year, but only people can make peace. The change in attitude and beliefs, which happens in the formative stage of a young person’s life, creates the conditions necessary for youth to form lasting relationships built on mutual trust and respect. Amid complex and shifting landscapes, this trust is the bedrock for sustainable peace.

Operating without geographic limitations – This allows GPBF to adopt a pure approach when selecting grantees and carrying out our core programming.  We support organizations that operate locally, regionally, nationally, and globally so long as they can demonstrate a continuing commitment to our criteria, regardless of where their operational base is.  



Our Impact

  • GPBF, as a smaller grant maker, serves as an example that peace and security philanthropy is accessible to everyone and small donors can have out-sized impact.

  • GPBF raised $94,000 during the 8-year operating period (2011 to 2018). $74,000 was spent on Core programs (Grants, Advocacy, Due Diligence and Transparency), while $12,000 was spent on administrative expenses.

  • Since 2012, GPBF has issued $3,500 in Precision Micro-Grants℠ to PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI), which has helped thousands of young Catholics and Protestants use sport to break down barriers, bridge divides and develop friendships.

  • Since 2012, GPBF has issued $3,500 in Precision Micro-Grants℠ to Seeds of Peace (SOP) to support their international peace camp in Otisfield, Maine, that serves as its programming foundation. A significant goal of SOP is to enable dialog program participants to see the human face of their enemies, and from that experience build relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

  • Since 2014, GPBF has issued $2,500 in Precision Micro-Grants℠ to Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh (DCP). DCP uses ballroom dancing as a tool to break down social barriers, teach about honor and respect, treat others carefully, improve self-confidence, and communicate and accept others even if they are different.

  • Since 2017, GPBF has issued a $1,000 Precision Micro-Grant℠ to Musicians without Borders (MwB) to support inter-ethnic workshops in the Mitrovica Rock School (Mitrovica, Kosovo).

  • The impact of the PPI, SOP, DCP and MwB programs can be seen, both anecdotally and through independent studies. Initial data is showing that inter-group attitudes of participants are improving significantly as a result of participation in the programs.

  • GPBF was showcased in the 2016 edition of the Peace and Security Funding Index: An Analysis of Global Foundation Grantmaking

  • Breaking the Cycle: How to Build Sustainable Peace Using Contact Theory, an Op-Ed written by Thomas B. Etzel, Executive Director and Founder of GPBF, was published in October, 2015.