The MMEG was founded in 1981 in memory of Margaret Craig McNamara by members of the World Bank Family Network (WBFN) in recognition of her life-long commitment to women and children worldwide and her advocacy for education. The MMEG’s founders believed that an educational fund to support women students from developing countries who are committed to improving the lives of women and children, would be a fitting tribute to Margaret McNamara’s many achievements.
Since 1981, the MMEG has awarded over 200 educational grants to women from more than 70 low- and middle-income countries. The number of these grants has grown from one grant in 1983 to nineteen in 2012.
For more than 30 years, the Fund has operated as an all-volunteer organization, benefitting from the support of Board members and hundreds of WBFN volunteers, as well as in-kind administrative assistance from WBFN.
Primary funding for the MMEG includes the MMEG Annual International Arts and Crafts Fair, many generous donations from World Bank Group staff and retirees during our annual MMEG Friends Campaign, and contributions from the IMF, the Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union, and corporations and foundations. The Fund also receives in-kind support from the World Bank through its long-standing affiliation with the WBFN.
Rigorous criteria underpin the selection of grantees by independent selection committees comprised of volunteers from around the world. Committees review applications and provide a slate of finalists to the MMEG Board. Awardees may use the grants for a range of financial needs, including research, travel, and living expenses.
Each year, US and Canadian grantees attend a three-day event in Washington, D.C., to receive their awards and attend several professional development seminars. Similar celebrations for awardees occur in South Africa.
The MMEG is proud that so many grantees are back in their countries making a difference. The grants they received not only helped them complete their degrees, but inspired them to achieve impressive results in many crucial sectors. Today many MMEG grantees are improving conditions for learning challenged children, using art therapy to heal ex-child soldiers, providing safe water delivery systems to rural communities, advocating for women’s rights among poor women, caring for HIV/AIDS orphans, providing counseling to war traumatized women and children and training nurses in breast cancer prevention.