The Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) was created as an indigenous grantmaking organization in 1990 following an agreement between the Governments of Pakistan and the United States of America to establish a Special Development Fund (SDF), TVO was set up to tap the potential of non-government organizations (NGOs). The purpose was to aid them in the development process and develop a mechanism for strengthening the contribution of NGOs towards a broader goal of improving the quality of life of the neglected segments of Pakistani population. The bottom-up working of NGOs meant that they could reach the people who most needed help and the funds would reach those who needed them the most. TVO was constituted as the agency to carry out the objectives of the SDF through the provision of grants, technical assistance and training for NGOs. The Trust became fully functional in 1992.
A 12 member Board of Directors governs the affairs of TVO. The Board consists of three ex-officio members i.e. representatives of the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division (PASSD), the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs Division. Also included in the board are 10 individuals from the private sector who have distinguished themselves in any field of endeavour. The Board is a policymaking institution and also approves funding for projects.
In order to facilitate funding of small cases, the Board’s activities have been decentralized by the formation of the Regional Committees (RCs) of the Board at Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad Capital Territory. These RCs are authorized to approve individual projects of up to Rs.0.5 million.
In order to extend its outreach to the NGOs of less developed and remote areas, the Trust has set up 08 Regional Offices at Quetta, Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore, Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, and Muzaffarabad (AJK). TVO has also created a network of over 326 partner NGOs/CBOs (one each in rural and semi-urbanTehsil of Pakistan) to make its operations more effective. This network will act as TVO's main instrument of socio-economic development, capacity building initiatives, and dissemination of information at the grass roots level.