$1.2 Billion reasons to dance with us!

From 2011 to 2021, Prospera INWF has collectively mobilized over 1.2 billion dollars in support of feminist movements, activist organizations, groups, and collectives worldwide, all in the relentless pursuit of gender justice. This substantial transfer of resources towards feminist movements led by women, girls, trans, and non-binary persons, has translated into 25.174 grants, research initiatives, capacity-building programs, and advocacy efforts spanning 172 countries. 

After a decade of advocacy work and resource mobilization, news of reaching the billion mark couldn’t come at a better time now that we have launched our Strategic Framework for the next ten years. If you were ever curious about our collective impact by resourcing activists, movements, organizations, and collectives in the Global South and East, as well as in shaping the global aid ecosystem, this milestone is  proof of our collective power, resilience, and growth. 

It is no surprise that women’s and feminist fund members of Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds (INWF) have significantly grown in influence as philanthropic actors over the past decade. The recent gifts bestowed by MacKenzie Scott to many of Prospera’s member funds underscore the effectiveness of our feminist funding model. It showcases how we prioritize establishing equitable partnerships with movement actors and actively contribute to the process of building these movements, rather than merely serving as intermediaries. As a result, all of the funds within our network have doubled and even tripled their grantmaking budgets, putting more and better funding into the hands of feminists worldwide.

To further illustrate the collective power of our network in mobilizing resources and building knowledge as a community of women’s funds critical to our network’s mission, at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, eight women’s funds in the Asia & Pacific chapter worked closely with their grantee partners to assess and address the pandemic’s impact on the movements they support. Such a proactive response showcases the ability of women’s funds to act swiftly and collectively in adapting to rapidly changing contexts, ensuring that essential resources reach the diverse groups we support. 

Here’s another compelling example of Prospera’s collective influence as a network committed to collecting resources and redistributing them, especially during times of crisis: Women’s Fund Asia initiated a special grants program called the Kaagapay Fund, designed to support feminist resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic through flexible and immediate funding. During the first cycle of the Kaagapay Fund in 2020, the fund started with over US$100,000 in reallocated funds from within WFA and, eventually, garnered an additional US$800,000 in additional contributions from donors. Most of these grants supported an array of marginalized and intersecting identities, such as ethnic and religious minority communities (e.g. Dalit, Adivasi, indigenous women), LBT people including trans women, women with disabilities, domestic, migrant, and informal workers, sex and entertainment workers, women agricultural workers and farmers, women human rights defenders, young women, survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), and women living with HIV/AIDS.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the globe in December 2020, a powerful moment unfolded. The National Campaign for legal, safe, and free abortion in Argentina, led by feminist movements and supported by Fondo Mujeres del Sur (FMS) over time, played a pivotal role in securing the legalization of safe abortion –a groundbreaking victory for girls, women, and trans people, and their communities in Argentina. This historic decision propelled Argentina into the ranks of Latin American countries permitting elective abortions, alongside Uruguay (which decriminalized abortion in 2012), Guyana (where it has been legal since 1995), and two Mexican cities: Mexico City and Oaxaca (at the time of Argentina’s legalization). The ripple effect of the Marea Verde (Green Wave) has extended to Colombia in 2023 and  across borders, including to  the United States, in solidarity with the diverse contexts where both setbacks and hopes for access to the right to safe and legal abortion persist. Many members of the women’s and feminist funds within Prospera have played a pivotal role in supporting the Marea Verde movement throughout this vast territory. 

In the European context, a recent noteworthy event unfolded earlier this year involving the Women’s Fund Georgia and Taso Foundation in Georgia as they orchestrated a collaborative effort among philanthropic actors and civil society to oppose a proposed draft law known as the ‘Agents of Foreign Influence’ bill, which had been presented to the Georgian parliament. This legislation not only threatened to impose stringent reporting requirements and inspections, putting activists and social society organizations at risk of imprisonment, but it also raised significant concerns about the state of freedom, democracy, and social justice in Georgia. Through a swift and robust mobilization of various movements and widespread protests, the draft legislation was effectively withdrawn just days after its revision, signaling holding the line against anti-rights and anti-gender ideology. This success is just another example of the power of collective action in safeguarding democracy, civic participation, and social justice. 

Amidst the global spotlight on the 2019 Sudan Uprising, the feminist movement and its supporters both within and outside Sudan united in their quest for a peaceful transition from an authoritarian regime and a deeply patriarchal society. This transition held particular significance for women, girls, trans people, and other marginalized groups who had long faced oppression. Urgent Action Fund Africa closely monitored the activities of women activists in Sudan and collaborated with local women’s groups to document the impact of the protests on the lives of Sudanese women. As the ongoing crisis in Sudan intensifies, several women’s funds have extended vital assistance to a wide array of women and girls who find themselves at heightened risk. This support is especially crucial for women human rights defenders (WHRDs), individuals living with disabilities, and women engaged in the informal economy.

Prospera celebrates our collective political power, which serves as the bedrock of the feminist funding movement. Women’s and feminist funds stand as trusted partners, essential bridges linking donors with activists. We are catalysts for driving change, effectively translating both financial resources and the work of social movements. 

Nevertheless, there’s a long way ahead of us to fulfill our collective dreams. Currently, only 20% of eligible applications receive requested funding of our network as a whole, which means there’s still a considerable disparity between the demand for resources for women’s and feminist movements and the availability of funding. If we were able to reach the billion mark after ten years of hard work, just imagine the collective transformations our Strategic Framework will produce in achieving our mission to bring more and better resources to support feminist movements worldwide!

Here’s to reaching another billion in less time, benefiting more people, and doing so in harmony with our planet!

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