Solidarity Fund Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Solidarity Fund?
The Solidarity Fund is a new participatory grantmaking fund created by women’s funds for women’s funds at Mama Cash. Eligible Women’s Funds can apply for these funds to build their knowledge and exchange learning on topics of their choosing.

Why did Mama Cash launch this Fund?
After intensive internal and external consultations, Mama Cash decided to shift how we provide strategic financial support to women’s funds in a more equitable, transparent, and accountable form of grantmaking which also seeks to empower women’s funds to make the decisions that are best for our peers and thus strengthen the feminist funding ecosystem.

Are these funds replacing core funding?
No, these are in addition to Mama Cash’s long-term core grants support for Women’s Funds and do not replace any existing funds.

Who designed the Solidarity Fund?
The Solidarity Fund was designed by a group of eleven self-nominated representatives from women’ funds around the world which became the Solidarity Fund Design Committee. This committee discussed a number of possibilities for the design elements: eligibility, the theme of the funding, decision-making process, grant size, voting process, and more. The group collectively decided to focus this first round on the building and exchanging of knowledge, and to let women’s funds seek funds on the topic of most importance to them within this theme.

Who is eligible to apply for grant funding?

  • Women’s Funds interested in applying must first review and meet Mama Cash’s criteria for Women’s Funds
  • Women’s Funds can apply for a grant individually or as part of a larger collaborative of eligible women’s funds
  • Organizations and groups that are typically eligible for Mama Cash’s Body/Money/Voice grants are not eligible to apply for the Solidarity Fund, this is a fund for women’s funds only
  • Applicants are not required to be a member of Prospera - The International Network of Women’s Funds to be considered for funding; nascent and emergent funds are welcome to apply
  • For this initial round, Canadian and US-based Women's Funds working at the local, state, or municipal level (e.g. City or State of X Women's Fund) are ineligible. However, Women’s Funds based in Canada or the US that meet the criteria and work outside of the US or Canada are eligible.

What do you mean by a 'Women's Fund?' How do we know if Mama Cash will consider our group as a women's fund?
For our purposes, the primary activity of a women's fund is to make financial grants to support groups, collectives, and individuals organising to defend and advance women’s, girls, trans and intersex people’s rights. Women's funds also raise money to do this grantmaking themselves. We acknowledge there are other definitions of a 'women's fund,' but for Mama Cash and thus in the context of this Solidarity Fund, we require that organisations that identify as women's funds make financial grants as the primary focus of their work. For that reason, organizations that would seek funding from our Body/Money/Voice portfolio are not eligible.

What do you mean by self-led?
We support women’s funds that are led by the people they seek to support. Those directly involved in or affected by the issues the fund is trying to address must be part of the fund’s leadership and decision-making.

Why do funds have to be autonomous or have intent to become autonomous in the short to medium term?
We only support women’s fund that are not a programme of a larger entity. Eligible women's funds must have independent decision making power over their grants and resource mobilisation. If the women's funds are not yet independent, they must have concrete plans to become autonomous in the short to medium term of 2-3 years. Autonomy and independence are important to ensure that those leading the organization have final authority in their decisions to ensure they are accountable to the communities they support.

Must we support women's rights?
In order to be eligible for the Solidarity Fund, women’s funds primary mission must be to support women’s, girls’, trans and intersex people’s in their efforts to uphold their rights through their grantmaking. Women’s funds must also have a vision and strategy to challenge and transform gendered power structures.

Can Women’s Funds apply for more than one grant? If they are part of a collaborative between 2 or more, do all need to submit proposals?

  • Only one application should be submitted on behalf of any collaboration.
  • And, applicants may not submit more than one proposal: if they are interested in multiple collaborations, they will have to choose and submit (or be part of) just one idea. Prospera regional chapters are excepted from this rule, because they serve large numbers of funds.
  • If you have a question about this, contact us at SolidarityFund@mamacash.org

What can these funds be spent towards?

  • These funds are designed to be flexible and can support any costs within the theme.
  • Solidarity Fund grants are designed to support the Women’s Funds themselves, and in turn the Women’s Funds ecosystem, and the global feminist movement.
  • This round of the Solidarity Fund will support learning and knowledge exchange.
  • There is no restriction on activities, but we will not support work that actively seeks to deny the rights of women, girls, trans and intersex people. We will not support anti-sex work activities, individuals, political parties, government agencies, or religious institutions.
    See the proposal call for eligibility details, timeline, and more information.

Who will decide who gets the grants?
Women’s Funds who submit proposals are not required to review proposals. Any Women’s Funds eligible for a grant is eligible to participate in this decision-making process. Women’s Funds do not need to submit a proposal to participate in the grant application review, and will need to indicate their interest by Jan 31 to solidarityfund@mamacash.org. They will need to commit to reviewing at least 10 proposals of 2 pages maximum. The criteria they will use for their review is:

  • Fund’s capacity: How will this grant strengthen the proposing Women’s Fund’s own internal capacity and autonomy and increase the Fund’s ability to deliver its mission?
  • Importance/timeliness: In the context in which the Fund is working, why is this work of great importance, or is there a pressing demand for it now? Will it catalyze change?
  • Solidarity/movement building: Will this work contribute to or strengthen the regional network, Women’s Funds, or the feminist movement beyond the fund itself? How so?

Who will get the grants?
Eight grants will be made in this inaugural round of funding. The two highest ranked applicants in four regions will be selected for grants of 25.000 euros.

How long will this Fund run?
We are building on learning from a different participatory fund that we host at Mama Cash, the Spark Fund. We expect this first round to be an imperfect process, and we will learn from it. We hope to run it again in subsequent years.

I’m interested in learning more about participatory grantmaking.
Wonderful! We suggest you start with this Grantcraft Guide & resource center

Questions? Email solidarityfund@mamacash.org