Over the years, the African continent has received only a tiny slice of the philanthropic funds that are committed, each year, to projects that aim to improve the state of the world. One organization is looking to move the needle.

The African Visionary Fund was founded in 2020 with a mission to unleash breakthrough impact by driving resources to high-impact African founders. AVFund is tackling inequities and righting the power imbalances in philanthropy by offering unrestricted, unburdensome funding to African visionaries.

AVFund is a pooled fund with support from funding partners including the Imago Dei Fund, King Baudouin Foundation United States, Peery Foundation, PIlot House Philanthropy, Segal Family Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Tawingo Fund, Thankyou, and Umsizi Fund.

The African Visionary Fund has announced that it has committed over US$1 million in general operating support grants to six organizations over a three-year period. All six organizations are African-led and work across a variety of key sectors such as education, health, human rights and livelihoods.

The leaders of the African Visionary Fund believe that grant-making in Africa is often biased and unjust

The six organizations joining the AVFund portfolio are: Barefoot Law, Dandelion Africa, Rays of Hope, SaCoDé, Shule Direct and Wezesha Impact. In the selection process, the AVFund was looking for organizations with shared values and that are taking an innovative approach in the execution of their mission and pioneering as they deliver deep, systemic, community-rooted change.

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In order to qualify for funding, the organizations have to be African-led and Africa-based, and demonstrate good organizational governance, sound financial management and organizational resilience.

The African Visionary Fund looked at its own governance structure and announced the appointment of Atti Worku as the Fund’s co-CEO, joining Katie Bunten-Wamaru as a co-leader in executing the Fund’s mission to drive unrestricted funding to African founders.

“My mission is to advocate for African visionaries to be recognized by funders as experts, equal partners and critical drivers of systems change. I’m excited to learn from incredible African leaders with big dreams and even bigger global potential,” Atti shared.

In a recent email interview, Katie wrote that “the African Visionary Fund is committed to shifting power as much as we are committed to shifting funding, this is why co-leadership matters for us. In fact, we believe it is critical in challenging systems within philanthropy that compromise equity and proximity.”

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At the Skoll World Forum that took place yesterday, Katie spoke on a panel, alongside other non-profit organization leaders, about the new digital tools that enable “virtual due diligence”, a novel concept that has become a reality during the pandemic.

Katie and Atti have revealed that they are more than a third of the way towards reaching their goal to raise US$10 million by 2023, enabling the African Visionary Fund to provide 35 nonprofits across Africa with unrestricted, multiyear grants by 2023.