Nothing for us without us

The Red Umbrella Fund emerged out of a unique and innovative collaboration between sex worker activists and social justice funders. During a historic meeting with donors in 2009, sex worker activists insisted that they should be able to set their own funding priorities. By 2012, this demand had become an idea and the idea had materialised into the Red Umbrella Fund (RUF) – the world’s very first global fund led by and for sex workers. 

After a rigorous selection process, Mama Cash was chosen in 2011 by RUF’s Steering Committee to host the new fund as its fiscal sponsor. Mama Cash is proud of 12 years, and counting, of meeting RUF’s high standards and trust.  

A strong and sustainable global sex worker’s rights movement

“Our core values are autonomy and ownership. That is why the Red Umbrella Fund is a sex worker-led, participatory fund.”

Red Umbrella Fund works to strengthen and ensure the sustainability of the global sex workers’ rights movement. It does so through three mutually-reinforcing strategies. 

Grant-Making & Accompaniment

RUF funds sex worker-led groups and (cross-border) networks that work to advance the human rights of sex workers in all regions of the world. They support sex workers of all genders and prioritise those who are most marginalised or face multiple forms of discrimination. All RUF grants are unrestricted and flexible. Grantee partners are trusted to set their own priorities and determine their own strategies based on their needs and vision. 

RUF accompanies its grantee-partners with flexible and personal technical assistance in the form of guidance, mentorship and introductions. Where relevant and desired, RUF contributes to the visibility of their grantee-partners. 

Funder Advocacy

RUF advocates for more and better funding for sex worker-led organisations and networks from public and private funders. They want to see more resources available to community groups and for those resources to be better attuned to the movements’ needs and priorities. This means funding that is accessible, unrestricted, flexible, multi-year, and human rights based. 

“There is power in sex workers’ participation in funder spaces as peers and grantmakers”

Sex Worker’s Leadership in Grantmaking

A strong sex workers’ rights movement needs not only better funding, but also power and autonomy in making decisions about how to use this funding to fuel change. RUF’s participatory and activist-led model, which was designed by sex workers and which has sex workers in the majority in our strategic decision making and grants selection bodies, is central to making this vision a reality. 

“Only when sex workers have a real seat at the table in funding decisions can real change be achieved.”


Your support makes it possible for Red Umbrella Fund to provide flexible core funding to sex worker-led organisations and networks worldwide.
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