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  Press Release


Corine Aartman
Interim Director of Development
    and Communications
Mama Cash
+ 31 (0) 20 515 87 00

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
+ 1 888 356 0354 ext. 701
+ 1 212 807 2486

One-Third of Foundations in Europe Actively Support Women and Girls,
Landmark Study Shows

Large Gap Remains Between European Foundations'
Interest and Their Investments

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and New York, NY, USA — May 25, 2011. An estimated 37 percent of surveyed European foundations made grants or operated programmes intended to benefit women and girls in 2009, according to a report released today by Mama Cash and the Foundation Center at the European Foundation Centre's Annual General Assembly in Portugal.

Untapped Potential: European Foundation Funding for Women and Girls indicates that the median percentage of total grant monies allocated by foundations in support of women and girls was 4.8 percent, based on 2009 grants data from sampled foundations. At the same time, the study also showed that the vast majority of European foundations (90 percent) expressed interest in at least one issue related to women and girls.

"The gap between interest and investment tells us is that there is genuine potential and motivation for European foundations to step up and provide more funding for women and girls," said Nicky McIntyre, executive director of Mama Cash. "Data consistently show that no country has yet achieved gender equality. We at Mama Cash hope that this report's findings will inspire conversations and collaborations that will, in turn, contribute to mobilising leadership and realizing increased giving in support of the rights, well-being, and empowerment of women and girls."

Of the foundations that expressed an interest in issues related to women and girls, particularly high levels of interest were noted for violence against women (74 percent), poverty among women and/or girls (73 percent), and women's and/or girls' access to education (71 percent). Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights generated the least interest among foundations surveyed (30 percent).

"As the first research study of its kind to examine the scope, distribution, and diversity of European-based funding for women and girls, this report establishes critical baseline data for measuring change in the future," said Seema Shah, director of research for special projects at the Foundation Center.

"The report also represents the most comprehensive study to date on the philanthropic activities of European foundations in general," added Gerry Salole, chief executive of the European Foundation Centre. "We are excited to see the ways in which this rich data will inform future giving that advances the public good in Europe and beyond."

Altogether, 145 foundations from 19 countries participated in the study. The report draws upon a mixture of survey, grants, and interview data to understand the range of foundation characteristics and interests, as well as their specific approaches to work related to women and girls. The report was commissioned by Mama Cash and co-authored by the Foundation Center and Weisblatt & associés, in cooperation with the European Foundation Centre. It was made possible in part by support from the Ford Foundation.

Untapped Potential: European Foundation Funding for Women and Girls (PDF) can be downloaded from the Mama Cash web site, as well as the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site. Both the full report and highlights are available at no charge.

About Mama Cash
Founded in 1983 in the Netherlands, Mama Cash is the oldest international women's fund in the world. Mama Cash mobilises resources from individuals and institutions; makes grants to women's, girls', and transgender groups; and helps to build the partnerships and networks needed to successfully defend and advance women's and girls' human rights globally. Since 2000, Mama Cash has awarded more than €24 million in direct grants to ambitious women's, girls', and transgender rights organisations and women's funds around the world. Mama Cash also plays a catalyzing role within the European philanthropic sector to develop support for and understanding of social justice philanthropy and philanthropy that specifically advances women's rights. For more information, please visit or call + 31 (0) 20 515 87 00.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the U.S.-based Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond. For more information, please visit or call + 1 212 620 4230.

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