Mama Cash is an international women’s fund. They fund and support women’s rights initiatives around the globe that challenge the root causes of injustice. Activists and donors join with Mama Cash to advance social change that starts with gender equality and respect for the human rights of everyone.
Five Dutch feminist women founded Mama Cash in 1983. Before long, this small, feisty women’s fund began giving grants to emerging radical women’s groups all over the world.
They fund and support groups that work at local, national and international levels. They educate, advocate, break down sexist stereotypes and build cultures of peace, justice and respect.
For three decades, Mama Cash has pursued the vision that every woman, girl and trans* person in the world will have the power and resources to make her own choices, have control over her body, and participate fully and equally in creating a peaceful, just and sustainable world.
Today, Mama Cash works together with activists, organisations, funders and supporters to strengthen collective action to defend, promote and advance the human rights of women, girls and trans people. They are committed to capturing and communicating what they have learned about how social change happens and how to support it.
Courageous organisations that stand up for women’s, girls’, and trans people’s rightspossess abundant energy, vision and ambition. But they often lack the funding, supportive networks, and access to learning opportunities they need to maximise the impact they have and transform their communities and nations. Mama Cash’s mission is to fill that gap.
Mama Cash’s role is to provide the money and support that will enable their grantees to grow stronger, to professionalise, to take their work to the next level and to increase their spheres of influence.
By partnering with like-minded individuals, organisations, women’s funds, and foundations, Mama Cash also aims to inspire greater philanthropic commitment to women’s rights movements. Their goal is to significantly expand the pool of resources available to girls, women, and trans people.
Most women’s rights groups have to confront the challenge of insufficient resources and representing marginalised individuals and groups. Some organisations, however, are even further marginalised because they represent stigmatised groups, advocate controversial positions or pose a threat to established power structures.
Mama Cash provides support to groups at the margins of their own communities and women’s rights movements. Their status on the edge often means that they have a harder time accessing resources and making their voices heard. For groups that tackle issues that are considered by some to be controversial, they are often the first international funder. They support sex workers’ rights in Peru, girls’ education in rural Kenya, lesbian and bisexual women’s rights in low-income areas of Manila, and land rights for women in isolated, militarised zones in Pakistan.
Supporting self-led groups means that Mama Cash and those who fund their work put resources and decision-making power into the hands of people who are most affected by injustice. In other words, Mama Cash funds groups led by the people they work for: rural women organising and supporting other rural women; girls designing projects for girls; trans people leading and making decisions about trans people’s rights.
Mama Cash supports about 100 organisations, networks, and women’s funds each year. Since 1983, Mama Cash has awarded more than €37,000,000 to advance women’s and girls’ human rights internationally.
30 years of history:
Mama Cash was the first international women’s fund in the world and is still alive and kicking. In 1983 five feminists sat around a kitchen table in Amsterdam and started an initiative that would develop into an international grantmaking organisation that supports women and girls around the globe in their fight for equal rights. Courageous women and girls who, in the face of often challenging circumstances, make themselves heard, take risks and bring about fundamental changes.
In three decades of funding feminist activism they have helped to break taboos and build bridges. They are grateful to their Board, and in particular co-chair Marjo Meijer, for having conscientiously collected stories about these achievements.
With this website they dive into the history of Mama Cash, a history that has been characterised by audacity and radical élan. They not only want to honour the founders, advisors, employees and hundreds of volunteers who have worked with Mama Cash, but also the foundations, governments and thousands of donors who have supported her over the years. And perhaps most importantly, they celebrate and honour the tireless women and girls who are fighting for their rights everywhere in the world. They know that together they can change the world.
Mama Cash’s core values
They embrace and encourage respect for diversity in their organisation and among their partners. This includes actively promoting the rights of lesbians, bisexual women and trans people, adolescent girls and young women, women living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous women, migrant women, sex workers, women living in poverty, women from ethnic or religious minorities, and women with disabilities.
They are open to bold, innovative strategies, responsive to changing circumstances, ready to take advantage of strategic opportunities, and prepared to share the risks inherent in the work of resisting and transforming oppressive structures and systems.
They are dedicated to forging collaborative partnerships with donors, grantees, and other organisations in order to achieve shared goals.
They are committed to being accountable, evaluating and communicating the outcomes of their grantmaking, and to sharing what they have learned about doing successful social justice philanthropy.
They are determined to make real, lasting improvements in people’s lives by inspiring others to join them in this work and contributing to it financially.
Mama Cash is committed to promote an organisational culture that recognises the importance of sustainable practices. Both internally on the workplace as externally, when working with groups and suppliers.
Mama Cash’s commitment to sustainability is taken into account across the organisation:
-they promote good sustainability practices,
-they aim to reduce the environmental impact of their activities when possible
-and they support an environmentally conscious office culture.
Achieved since 2014:
-The vegetarian, organic lunch now consists of mostly locally produced and Fair Trade items
-Switched to renewable (“green”) electricity
-Compensation of CO2 emission of travel
-Use of Forest Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) paper and decreased amount of prints using Secure Printing
-Increased systematic waste separation (plastic, glass, paper)
-Cleaning products are all sustainable
-Use energy-efficient dishwashers, refrigerators and printers
Mama Cash staff is dedicated to continue to decrease their environmental footprint by:
-Decreasing their energy consumption
-Reduce, recycle and re-use of products
-Including suppliers performance on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in their selection criteria (respect for labour rights, environmental impact/concern, including animal welfare, and, if applicable the advancement women’s, girls’, and trans people’s economic participation/independence)
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for the groups they support. Mama Cash is part of GAGGA: the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action. GAGGA´s goal is to catalyse the collective power of the women´s rights and environmental justice movements towards realising a world in which women can and do exercise their rights to water, food security and a clean, healthy, and safe environment.
Where is Mama Cash