Influencing philanthropy

In recent years, more people have recognised the importance of investing in women and girls. But this increased awareness has not yet been translated into meaningful and sustainable new funding for women’s rights organising. While the grants made by Mama Cash are incredibly valuable, they fall dramatically short of what is needed to fuel women’s, girls’ and trans people’s movements worldwide.

Mama Cash’s role goes beyond providing financial and accompaniment support to grantees. We also encourage other donors —foundations, individuals and governments— to invest more resources in the human rights of women, girls and trans people, – and in their right to organise autonomously. We call this influencing philanthropy.

Fundamental and sustainable social change can only be achieved when the people who benefit the most from the change play a central role in bringing it about. Our influencing philanthropy efforts are built on this belief. Mama Cash promotes an approach to social justice philanthropy that is based on transparent, open and accountable relationships between donors and grantees.

How does Mama Cash influence philanthropy?

We increase the knowledge base

Data is invaluable if Mama Cash hopes to inform dialogue and influence programmatic priorities among funders. In 2011, Mama Cash and the Foundation Center released a report entitled Untapped Potential: European Foundation Funding for Women and Girls, that highlighted the sizeable gap between the expressed funding interests of European foundations and their actual investment in women and girls.

“90% of European foundations surveyed expressed interest in at least one issue related to women and girls. About one third (37%) intentionally focused at least some of their work on women and girls. Yet, in 2009, the median percentage of total grant monies actually allocated by foundations in support of women and girls was only 4.8% – of which only one fifth focused on human rights.” – findings of the Untapped Potential report.

We champion innovative models of social justice philanthropy

Mama Cash is committed to contributing to new models of social justice philanthropy that question traditional power dynamics between donors and grantees. We work to ensure that grantees and other activists have a place at decision-making tables alongside donors to articulate their needs and influence funding processes.

Highlights of our work in this area include our participation in and support of the Red Umbrella Fund and the Community of Practice in Support of Young Women and Girls.

We share expertise

Mama Cash shares with our donors our expertise and knowledge about funding women’s rights organising . We partnered with GrantCraft to create a practical how-to guide – Funding for Inclusion: Women and Girls in the Equation – for European funders interested in funding women and girls. Mama Cash also provides trainings on gender to grantmaking foundations.

Mama Cash encourages grantees to tell their stories and share their learnings and solutions so that they can be recognised as experts in their own right. We do this by facilitating their participation in important meetings and connecting them to opportunities for publicity and visibility.

We’re in it together

Mama Cash’s approach to philanthropy is grounded in a spirit of collaboration and partnership. We know that we cannot do any of this alone.

Mama Cash sits on the steering committee of the Dutch branch of the Ariadne European Human Rights Funders Network and the steering committee of the International Human Rights Funders Group. Our Executive Director serves on the board of the International Network of Women’s Funds and is a member of the European Foundation Centre’s Nomination Committee. Mama Cash is also a member of the Global Philanthropy Project.