Funding Africa | Directed by Eric M Mwangi | Produced by the Solutions Storytelling Project

Unconscious anti-Black biases underpin the ill-treatment, over-scrutiny and underfunding of African organizations and the local leaders at their helm. We’re committed to catalyzing systemic change by advocating for big shifts in how African leaders are viewed by funders in the philanthropic community; as innovative, capable, powerful, and critical actors in the social impact and development field.

Our Theory of Change

  • Raise awareness and challenge the racist and anti-Black narratives embedded within philanthropy. Encourage funders to confront and address their biases, challenge power imbalances, and prioritize equitable distribution of resources to dismantle systemic barriers.
  • Advocate for funders to adopt an intersectional lens that considers the diverse needs, perspectives, and expertise of African-led organizations.
  • Encourage funders to rethink their funding practices, policies, and decision-making structures, redistributing funding directly and equitably based on organizational capacity, expertise, and impact potential.
  • Establish a platform to showcase and celebrate the impactful work of African-led organizations. Highlight their achievements, co-create narratives, and share success stories to challenge misconceptions and reshape the perception of African social innovation leaders.
  • Foster collaborative partnerships between funders and African-led organizations. Encourage funders to shift from a top-down approach to one where they work for and alongside local organizations, supporting their priorities and visions.
  • Shift the narrative of value in the funding ecosystem, moving beyond money as the sole indicator of worth. Emphasize the importance of knowledge sharing, capacity building, and networks, recognizing that resources come in various forms.
  • Embed anti-racist practices within the fabric of the funding ecosystem.
  • Eliminate the need for intermediaries like the African Visionary Fund by promoting a direct flow of resources to African-led organizations.

Our Systems Change Agenda

1) Abolishing White Supremacy Culture

Let’s face it: deep-rooted racism and an inherent belief in the superiority of non-African actors—enduring legacies of colonialism and slavery—hinder the equitable distribution of funding and create unhealthy relationships between funders and local African organizations. How might funders acknowledge and address the implicit biases that affect their perceptions, judgments, and decision-making processes?

  • Chain Reaction: Localizing Value Chains to Drive Impact | #SkollWF 2023

2) Rethinking Funding & Trust

African social innovation leaders face multiple visible, invisible, and hidden challenges when fundraising due to a lack of trust in their relationships with funders. How might more funders adopt trust-based philanthropy principles in grantmaking?

  • Moving from Why to How - Learning to get Proximal, Build Trust and Develop Sustainable Relationships

3) Rethinking Process

Grant application processes are typically overly-burdensome and time consuming, and frustrations arise when funders aren’t transparent during the relationship cultivation and decision making process. How might funders design more efficient and equitable decision making processes?

  • Understanding & Addressing the Imbalance in Funding African CSOs

4) Rethinking Capacity Development

When capacity development frameworks are designed as part of a funder’s program design, it is often done with a focus on deficit diagnoses rooted in unconscious bias rather than clinical analysis. How might funders alleviate prescriptive and context-deficient capacity development?

5) Rethinking Scale

The pressure to scale programs from funding partners can come at the detriment of impact on the ground, yet organizations feel pressured to grow fast in order to attract more resources. How might funders ease the pressure to scale to attract and keep funding?

Advocacy Media

Explore our advocacy work through multimedia content produced by or featuring the African Visionary Fund