Red Umbrella Fund is led by a partnership of sex workers and donors, with a significant sex worker majorities in both grant decisions and overall governance. We live our own values, ensuring we are sex worker-led in all decisions.
Our decision-making structure consists of an International Steering Committee (ISC), which is responsible for making strategic decisions, and a Program Advisory Committee (PAC), which is our grants review panel that selects the groups to fund. Both the ISC and the PAC have sex workers in the majority.
Red Umbrella Fund has a small Secretariat that is responsible for the daily operations and financial sustainability. In line with our values, the Secretariat prioritizes hiring sex workers for staff positions.
Red Umbrella Fund is hosted by Mama Cash, the oldest international women’s fund, which has been a champion for sex workers’ rights since 1983. Mama Cash is based in the Netherlands.
International Steering Committee
ISC, PAC and Staff (2012)
PAC and Staff (2016)
Red Umbrella Fund’s International Steering Committee (ISC) is the key governing body of Red Umbrella Fund tasked to oversee the strategic vision of Red Umbrella Fund and make the grantmaking decisions. It currently has seven sex worker activist representatives from different parts of the world and three donor representatives.
Programme Advisory Committee
ISC, PAC and Staff (2012)
PAC and staff (2016)
The Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) reads the applications received by Red Umbrella Fund from sex worker-led groups and networks and selects which groups should receive funding. They are sometimes also called a community or peer review panel. Their recommendation is sent to the International Steering Committee for approval. The PAC consists of at least 80% sex workers from different parts of the world.
joined Red Umbrella Fund in August 2020 as the Coordinator. He previously worked as Programme Manager for the global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), Programme Coordinator for Solidarité Sida and as a Civil Society Member of the International Steering Committee of the Robert Carr Fund. Besides his experience in sex workers’ rights, Paul-Gilbert has two master’s degrees in International Relations from the University of Strasbourg (France) and the University of Udine (Italy). Paul-Gilbert has coordinated multiple programmes aiming to build the capacity of sex worker-led organisations on international normative guidance and the Global Fund, has worked with a variety of donors and has provided technical support to several sex worker-led organisations in developing and implementing monitoring, evaluation and learning systems. Paul-Gilbert speaks French and English fluently and has basic Hindi and Italian skills.
joined Red Umbrella Fund team in August 2017 as Programme Associate. Vera was born in Spain where she graduated in Journalism at Universidad CEU San Pablo of Valencia. In 2000 she moved to London and worked in a Peep Show in Soho to pay for her BA in Photographic Arts at Westminster University. In 2011 she volunteered for the First Sex Worker Film festival in London and since then, she has combined activism, art, photography and sex work. She is an active member of X-talk organisation for 7 years, has been very involved with East London Strippers Collective and she is a cast member of the Sex Workers Opera. Vera worked at Sexual Health on Call in London as a Multilingual Migrant Support Worker and has shot feminist porn for Erika Lust productions. Vera shares her life with a little dog, believes in community, creativity and social change and defines herself as a ‘Puta Feminista’. She speaks English, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Italian.
joined in 2019 as Programme Associate. Alexis was born in California where she completed a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy at University of California, Berkeley in 2004. Prior to completing her degree, she worked at the Lusty Lady in San Francisco and was a part of the efforts to unionise the peep show in 1996. Alexis later moved to Philadelphia and earned a Juris Doctor from Temple University School of Law in 2007 and returned to California to work as a criminal defense attorney in private practice for seven years. She provided pro bono mass defense for Occupy Wall Street protestors throughout Northern California and members of Anonymous in the PayPal 14 case in Federal Court. Compelled by her experience at the Lusty and the over-policing and incarceration of her communities, she has spent over twenty years seeking to abolish prisons and end enforcement of vice and poverty-based crimes through community activism and allying with non-profits within the criminal justice and drug policy sectors including the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service (ICEERS); Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice; National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and NORML Women’s Alliance (NWA); and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Informed by a multitude of roles as an activist and as an advocate, she supports community-led and harm reductionist theories of change. She speaks English, and basic Dutch and Spanish.
Stella Kawira joined Red Umbrella Fund in June 2021 as a volunteer in supporting the team with processing the applications and preparing them for scoring by our Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) members and became Programme Associate in August 2021. Stella was born in Meru Kenya, but raised in Nairobi where she currently resides. She holds an advanced Diploma in Business Management from Digital Advisory Learning Center (DALC). Stella has worked with various organizations in different capacities (Future Force Consultancy-office assistance, Community researcher assistance-Aids Fond, Peer educator-LVCT Kenya and with Warembosasa as a team leader). Before joining Red Umbrella Fund, she worked with African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) in various positions: as a faculty member of the Sex Workers Academy Africa, Programme Officer at the Sex Workers Academy Africa and later worked as the Programme Coordinator for the Sex Workers Academy Africa. When Stella is not working at Red Umbrella Fund, she is providing technical support to the upcoming sex worker led groups across Africa. Stella believes in sex work and the promotion of sex workers rights!
Our host organisation: Mamacash
Red Umbrella Fund’s small Secretariat is fiscally sponsored and hosted by Mama Cash.