Outside of traditional grantmaking, Segal Family Foundation is active in groundbreaking initiatives to support grassroots organizations and communities working to end poverty.
African Visionary Fellowship
We believe that stellar individuals leading exemplary organizations are best placed to devise contextual and sustainable solutions to local challenges. They are not, however, the focus of many donors’ funding. We created the African Visionary Fellowship to disrupt this paradigm. Learn more from the HuffPost article “The African Visionary Fellowship: Why We Built It & Why You Should Support It.”
Beginning in 2017 with an inaugural cohort of 24 fellows from across eight countries, our African Visionary Fellowship offers capacity building designed for and by local visionaries themselves. Fellows receive mentorship, exposure, and the support of a community of like-minded changemakers. Meet the first class of visionaries here.
Social Impact Incubator
Our Social Impact Incubator (SII) originated in 2013 to foster collaboration between local organizations, connect indigenous NGOs to capacity-building resources, and attract new funding for exciting grassroots leaders.
Small countries such as Burundi and Malawi have not received the attention and funding opportunities that their neighbors in East Africa have. Civil society has been further weakened by a top-down funding paradigm that disenfranchises local vision. SII was created to disrupt the status quo and empower local change-makers.
For two years, dozens of grassroots organizations participated in SII Burundi through seven-month trainings, mentorship, field visits, networking, and individualized capacity building and curated connections to donors. The incubator resulted in multiple new partnerships for SFF and funders investing nearly $2 million in our SII Champions. It was with deep sadness that SII was cut short in 2015 due to the political instability—fortunately, our partner CARE Burundi won funding to continue implementing SII in Bujumbura.
SII-Malawi launched in 2016, building on the successes and lessons learned from Burundi. The second cohort began in late spring 2017.
Together with our partners, Segal Family Foundation participates in community-driven development (CDD) events and networks. The old structure of development work has not allowed African civil society organizations to take off. Since communities and grassroots organizations are at the heart of our philosophy, CDD allows communities to decide and drive their own development. Through the CDD network, we’re looking to build on the successful models of our partners—such as Spark MicroGrants, FVS-AMADE, Tostan, and ACODEV—to share learnings on how to invest and work to full capacity with communities at the roots. The ultimate goals are learning how to evaluate the impact of CDD projects, how to fundraise, and how investment in CDD programs can be thought of by donors.