Strengthening the bold work of self-led groups in the Netherlands and the ABCSSS islands

Through the Spark Fund, we honour Mama Cash’s historical roots in the Dutch lesbian feminist activist movement. The Spark Fund provides small grants to communities of women, girls, and trans and intersex people in the Netherlands and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten. 

A small amount of money can spark major, radical change

The fund supports initiatives by and for structurally excluded communities working on urgent and contested issues. Ranging from €1,000 to €3,000 per project, grants are awarded to formalised groups as well as those that may not have formal, long-term plans, but where a small grant can provide the group with the needed resources.

In 2017, the Spark Fund awarded 10.000 euros, in 2022, 66.000 euros 

In 2017, Mama Cash launched Spark with an initial advisory committee with activists from the communities the Spark Fund aims to support. This first committee opted to gear the Spark Fund to those activists who are operating at the cutting edge, who urgently need money, but would perhaps pass up on more formal grant processes.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Work from a feminist, women's, girls, trans rights and/or intersex rights perspective
  • Self-led by the women, girls, trans people and/or intersex people they serve
  • Push for structural and fundamental change

Frequently Asked Questions

The Spark Fund’s eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Groups led by women, girls, and trans and intersex people. The people whose rights are at stake are the decision makers in the project.

Example: If a group is working on trans rights, trans people should be the ones deciding upon the group’s activities and how the group’s money is spent. The spokespersons for the group, as well as those being paid, should be trans people. Non-trans people can also work for the group in different capacities providing they are not the ones leading it.

  • Groups working from a feminist and/or a women’s, girls, and trans or intersex rights perspective.

Example: A proposal for a project to work on women and housing issues puts the experiences of women at the core of its work. The group identifies the specific barriers women face in accessing decent and affordable housing. They also speak to the challenges of different groups of women (e.g., both urban and rural) in accessing housing. The experiences of women and the issues they face are at the core of the project, rather than being included as just one of many elements, and the proposed solutions reflect this perspective.

  • Groups working on urgent and contested political issues in the Netherlands or the ABCSSS islands.

Example: A group of Muslim women organise for their rights and try to make their concerns heard in an environment were wearing a hijab, niqab or similar covering is contested by both state bodies and members of the public.

  • Groups working on structural and systemic change.

Example: A migrant women’s group provides shelter services to other migrant women to respond to their immediate needs. But the group also works to tackle the fundamental barriers to accessing such services so that other migrant women who they do not or cannot reach will also benefit in the longer term.

In addition, the Spark Fund will prioritise:

  • Non-formalised/non-registered, nascent groups that have a budget below €30,000 per year, and that have limited resources (e.g. no paid staff, no office space, etc.)

Please note that you do not need a bank account, residence permit or any other form of identification to submit an application. In addition, your organisation does not have to be registered as a ‘foundation’.

We define feminism as being very multifaceted, but at its core we see it as work that addresses or combats sexism and patriarchal gender norms (relating to sexuality, class, ethnicity, race, migration status, disability and so on) with the aim of ending inequality and injustice.

A steering committee of former Spark grantee-partners – feminist activists in the Netherlands and the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba – reviews all eligible applications and makes a shortlist. The shortlist is then voted on by the shortlisted applicants themselves. The Spark Fund steering committee then conducts a final check to ensure inclusivity

The Spark Fund is usually open for applications each year during the month of August. Please check back for further information as August approaches.

If you have any additional questions about the Spark Fund, contact us via

Grantmaking window – Mama Cash usually accepts applications for Spark Fund grants in the month of August.

Online application You will find links on our website to an application form which accepts written, video, or voice recorded applications. Mama Cash accepts applications in English and Dutch. If you prefer to submit your application in a language other than English or Dutch, you can contact us at and we will work with you to submit the application in your preferred language.

Screening & Shortlisting – The Spark Fund steering committee screens all applications to ensure that they meet the Spark Fund’s eligibility criteria. The steering committee compiles a shortlist of eligible applications.

Voting – If your application is shortlisted, your group will be asked to vote online for your top Spark applications from a list of shortlisted proposals. This generally happens in September.

Award – Awards are made in accordance with the ranking results. The top ranked applications are reviewed by the Spark Fund steering committee to ensure inclusivity. Grants decisions are usually announced in October.