"Let’s run over to the fair!” MMEG’s Annual Arts & Crafts Fair, that is. It’s long been an annual tradition for World Bank Group staff and retirees to go over to the Main Complex (or the H building in the old days), pick up a snack or lunch, and spend an hour or two shopping for treasures from the colorful array of vendors at MMEG’s fair. Or you might have seen MMEG etched on the plexiglass boxes at the Credit Union, where you can donate your leftover foreign coins.
But for 465 exceptional women from over 75 developing countries over the past 40 years, MMEG has meant a grant to help them complete their higher education and go on to improve the lives of hundreds of other women and children.
MMEG—Margaret McNamara Educational Grants, formerly MMMF—was inspired by its namesake, who used her influence as wife of Robert McNamara, the World Bank's fifth President, to advocate for the inclusion of education and gender equality in development programs.
In 1983, MMEG awarded our first education grant to Marion Subah, a Liberian woman studying nursing at Catholic University whose goal was to return to her country to train nurses in rural areas. Since then, our program has grown as word of our mission has spread, and the impact of each woman has multiplied.
Investing in the education of girls and women is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth. And MMEG’s philosophy is to find exceptional women who will influence the lives of many, many more over their careers.
Today, MMEG receives applications from hundreds of accredited universities in the United States and Canada. The program expanded to include five universities in South Africa in 2007. In 2011, women studying in select universities in Latin America became eligible to receive grants. And in 2016, a local chapter of MMEG was inaugurated to give back to the local community; since then, the MMEG Trinity Washington University Program has provided grants to 15 women.
MMEG has awarded a total of $4.2 million in grants so far. Recipients are women at least 25 years old, enrolled at universities in the United States, Canada, and select universities in South Africa and Latin America.
Applicants are rigorously screened by all-volunteer, independent selection committees, who have difficult decisions to make each year choosing between numerous worthy candidates. The WBGFN is a critical contributor, providing office space, in-kind and logistics support, and catalyzing passionate MMEG volunteers.
The annual Arts & Crafts Fair is usually the main source of income for MMEG, a public, volunteer-led charity that awards education grants to exceptional women from developing countries who are committed to improving the lives of women and children. The plan is to hold a fair next spring, if possible. The volunteers and vendors alike can’t wait to see you there!
In the meantime, please consider adding to your usual CCC contribution the amount you might have spent at the fair—and selecting MMEG as a recipient charity. For World Bank Group employees and retirees, donations via the CCC between November 1 and December 16 will be DOUBLED, bringing twice as much support to our truly exceptional women to complete their education (Staff and retirees can login to CCC at https://worldbankgroup.benevity.org/user/login).
If you’d like to volunteer, fill out this form: https://www.mmeg.org/volunteer-application-form
For more information about MMEG, go to www.mmeg.org.
Thank you for empowering women through education to build a better world.