Three African women smile at the camera

We Realized Something:

| January 9, 2024
by Sylvia K. Ilahuka, Communications Officer

Hello and Happy New Year, dear audience! We appreciate those of you who have been reading — and sharing — our articles thus far, and we welcome aboard those who are new to our content. It’s been getting better, and is only going up from here. We wish the same for you in your work.

In the spirit of the new year, Segal Family Foundation has a resolution of sorts: say out loud when we make a misstep, and fix it. Our Annual Meeting in Kigali last year was organized around the theme Transforming How Change Happens in Africa. It is bold (one of our values) and sounds great and came from a good place, until we sat down and turned it over a few more times. The ‘Transforming’ tagline unintentionally places us in the driver’s seat over the exemplary leaders we support. Segal Family Foundation is keen on respectful, grantee-centric practices in philanthropy. Our partners are the stars of the show — they do it all, we add a bit of fuel to the fire. And we would love to see more peer donors do likewise when it comes to supporting innovative ideas coming out of the African continent, by Africans, for Africans. (As well as other less-funded groups.) It just so happens that by virtue of our foundation’s roots and the circles we are plugged into as funders, we have the opportunity to be listened to when we say something. For many of our grantee-partners, getting an audience is difficult — so we try to bring the audience to them then pass the mic, another of our values. In doing this, we also like our community to get to know one another. There is strength in numbers, and we have noticed the coalitions arising from within our portfolio really gain momentum; we love to see it, and we love it for them. Encouraging these connections is another thing we devote energy to, and those networks are held together by trust. It is important to us that the philanthropic space we inhabit be one of open communication and two-way benefit of the doubt.

Through last year and now at the beginning of this, we have been leaning into learning and innovating — the final value on the list. When people we respect and care about told us that ‘Transforming’ was unintentionally glorifying us (as funders), we faced the discussion and went back to the drawing board. After considering at length what we do and why we do it, Championing African Visionaries made a lot more sense; it is exactly what we do. Join us in welcoming our new tagline, use it when engaging with us on social media! #ChampioningAfricanVisionaries