One-Third of Foundations in Europe Actively Support Women and Girls

An estimated 37 percent of surveyed European foundations made grants or operated programs intended to benefit women and girls in 2009, according to a report released 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. Yet, substantially higher numbers 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.”

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).

“The report … represents the most comprehensive study to date on the philanthropic activities of European foundations in general,” said Gerry Salole, chief executive of the European Foundation Centre.

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.