Mama Cash

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Mama Cash
Founded 1983 (in Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Founder Marjan Sax, Dorelies Kraakman, Patti Slegers, Lida van den Broek, Tania Leon
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
Area served
supporting over 100 women's, girls, and trans groups worldwide every year
Key people
Nicky McIntyre
(Executive Director)
Marjo Meijer and Geetanjali Misra
(Co-Chairs of the Board)

Mama Cash is the oldest international women's fund in the world, founded in the Netherlands in 1983.[1][2] In 2013, Mama Cash supported 118 women's, girls and trans rights organisations with 4.3 million euros.[3]


Mama Cash was founded in the Netherlands in 1983 by five feminists: Marjan Sax, Dorelies Kraakman, Patti Slegers, Tania Leon and Lida van den Broek.[4] Marjan Sax provided the initial capital of $1,25,000, lending it to Mama Cash for an initial ten years, later extended by another five years. While initially uncomfortable with her inherited wealth, Sax felt it was important that activism be funded, and that money and ideals go together. Her philosophy inspired other wealthy women, and Mama Cash started a group called De Erfdochters (Women With Inherited Wealth).[5]

The founders of Mama Cash believed that women are best able to achieve structural change in their own context, and that small, autonomous women's groups were critical to achieving this change. However, since most groups at the time needed small grants (mostly less than $10,000), large grantmaking organisations were not equipped to give such small grants or have the expertise to support these grassroots organisations. In the early years, Mama Cash mostly gave start-up money to initiatives that supported women's autonomy over their bodies, including groups that supported sexuality rights, safe abortion and sex workers' rights.[6] One such initiative was a Latina lesbian magazine, Esto no tiene nombre, which was organised and edited by a group of Latina lesbians including tatiana de la tierra, and it was meant to create a platform for discussion and awareness about this underrepresented minority of women.[7]

This philosophy continues to shape Mama Cash's development, with Mama Cash's main initiatives being Body (safety and autonomy of women's bodies), Money (equitable and just economic systems), Voice (women's decision-making), and Women's Funds (the global network of women's funds).[8]

To mark the thirty year anniversary of Mama Cash's existence in 2013, Alliance magazine interviewed Nicky McIntyre, the Executive Director.[9] At the time, McIntyre reflected on the impact of women's rights organisations over the past three decades, saying: "The work of women’s rights movements has led to nothing short of a revolution in public attitudes, law and governance, in the private sector and civil society. While many women’s rights groups are small, their aggregate impact is enormous."


  1. ^ Watson, Tom (17 April 2013). "'Using Our Moral Will' - 25 Years On, Global Fund for Women Aims for Lasting Change". Forbes. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Agard, Kathryn A. (ed.) (2010). Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: A Reference Handbook. SAGE Publications. p. 238. ISBN 1412968860. 
  3. ^ "Annual Report". Mama Cash Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "History". Mama Cash Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Sweetman, Caroline (ed.) (2001). Gender, Development and Money. Oxfam Publishing. pp. 53–54. ISBN 0855984538. 
  6. ^ Sweetman, Caroline (ed.) (2001). Gender, Development and Money. Oxfam Publishing. pp. 54–55. ISBN 0855984538. 
  7. ^ De La Tierra, Tatiana. "Activist Latina Lesbian Publishing: esto no tiene nombre and conmoción." I am Aztldn: The Personal Essay in Chicano Studies, ed. Chon A. Noriega and Wendy Belcher (Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press, 2004) 172, 194.
  8. ^ "Our Members". International Network of Women's Funds Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Celebrating the impact of women's rights movements over 30 years". Alliance Retrieved 6 July 2014. 

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