Venture Philanthropy in Development – Dynamics, Challenges and Lessons in the Search for Greater Impact

The concept of venture philanthropy is fast rising as an alternative and sustainable solution for foundations. Though still an idea that is yet to be well understood in Africa, venture philanthropy is being touted as the next big thing in philanthropy. So, what are the key trends, success stories, challenges and opportunities? What are the key lessons from Foundations that have adopted it?

The East Africa Association of Grantmakers and the Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (OECD NetFWD) in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation (Africa) hosted a learning session to launch the Venture Philanthropy in Development – Dynamics, Challenges and Lessons in the Search for Greater Impact study. The two hour session was held on 27th May 2013 at the Rockefeller Foundation offices from 10am- 12pm facilitated by Bathylle Missika, the head of OECD Network of Foundations Working for Development (NetFWD) and deputy head of the policy dialogue division, OECD Development Centre.

Being the first launch in Africa, the objective of the session was to discuss the study report and relate some of the key findings to the local context and realities. The event drew 20 leaders from the corporate and private foundations, impact investors, CSR executives, philanthropists, representatives from the public sector and other development organizations in Kenya.

This study that was conducted by the OECD NetFWD aimed at examining the journey, enabling environment, incentives and drivers that led a number of Foundations to (re)define their operating model associated with the commonly used term of “venture philanthropy”. It offered lessons and recommendations drawn from these new forms of engagement, their impact and the way they can influence or help leverage the work of other development stakeholders. The report reflected on case studies of leading global foundations including the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, the Lundin Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Shell Foundation, alongside the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development.

To see a brief of the discussions, please click here.


Gertrude’s Hospital feather in the cap

It is estimated that getreudesout of 40 million Kenyans, 12,000 are born with heart disease. Over 6,000 of these are in need of open heart surgery. The Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation saw the need to intervene for the less privileged because there is a great deficiency of medical services in this sector, considering that less than 300 surgeries are conducted in Kenya annually with the help of their families, well-wishers and established heart surgery programs. Many children either die or have poor quality of life. Dr. Mark Awori led his dedicated team in conducting a successful surgery. He says that the main drive for starting another program is the high numbers of children with deficiencies as the statistics tell us. The highest programs are also done at children’s hospitals and therefore the desire is to deliver the highest quality of care in the country. The team follows the guidelines of the word ‘TOUCHES’.

T – Totally, O – Outstanding, U – Universal, C – Children’s, HE – Heart, S – Surgery

Pharrell Ndino was the beneficiary of this life changing opportunity at 2 and ½ years. His mother, Jane Mwaura, says he was born healthy but after 2 weeks, he got a cold. She took him to hospital where he was treated. This was to be a norm for the rest of his 2 years because he kept contracting chest infections which the mother found strange. Finally, a doctor at the chest clinic referred her to have her son undergo an echo cardiogram test. The tests confirmed the cold truth which she was not prepared for. Pharrell had an atrial septum defect, which is the technical definition of a hole in the heart. The doctor realised that she could not afford treatment for this condition so he advised her to seek help from the Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation.

When Jane got in touch with the Foundation, the issue was taken up immediately and arrangements for the procedure were underway within a few weeks. It costs an average of Kshs. 750,000 to have cardiac surgery in Kenya and the Foundation plans to help more children along with other parallel projects. Dr. Awori and his team put Pharrell on a heart lung machine as they opened and closed his heart using his tissue. His heart was then restarted and after 2 days, he was strong enough to be discharged. Jane says she is forever grateful to the Foundation because she was in a predicament due to the high costs involved. She smiles as she places her hand on her son’s back “there is no heavy breathing and his airways are very clear, even his appetite has grown’’.”It would be important for Kenyans from all walks

of life to work together with institutions offering heart surgery to enable resources to be mobilized to help these children because 90 percent of them cannot afford surgery”, said Dr. Awori. “When you hear of any runs, walks and fundraisers, you should give something.” He further reiterates that it was a team effort and their philosophy is ‘SHARP’ as they deliver “TOUCHES”.

S – Sincere, H – Helpful, A – Available, R – Reliable ,P – Pleasant


baby pharell after the surgery

baby pharell after the surgery

  1. Mark Awori during an interview Pharrell and his mother, one week after the procedure

Hope for Elijah as Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation Gives a Hand

The sun’s rays shine on the wall in a room at the Child Development Centre, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital. Rachel Mula carries her nephew Elijah Maundu Kasina into the room and smiles and gestures relief at finally being able to sit down after a long, tedious trip. She agrees to talk about how she came to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital and how she has co-operated with them since. She was once married and worked as she lived with her husband, but has since been abandoned by him.

She recalls her sister, Elijah’s mother, with fondness that is evident, as tears roll down her cheeks as she talks. Her sister bled to death during Elijah’s birth so Rachel has taken care of him since 17th October, 2011. It was only natural, she felt, that she should take him in and care for him as if he were her own. But he was unable to drink milk so she took him to Machakos District Hospital. The hospital found no problem and soon he appeared to be all right. Meanwhile Rachel had to quit her job because of the increased duties of caring for a tiny infant. Four months later, she noticed that Elijah’s neck and body were weak. He also suffered severe convulsions and could not sleep. She therefore decided to go to Kenyatta National Hospital.

Meanwhile, her husband had noticed that Elijah had special needs and disappeared leaving her with their two daughters and Elijah to care of. When things became unbearable, her children sympathized with her and reluctantly agreed to live with their grandmother until she was able to find her way. Life became harder still for her as friends advised her to leave the baby in a matatu, dump or poison him. She finally felt driven to taking her own life rather than Elijah’s since she could see no other way. As she sat on her bed trying to pluck up courage to drink her poisonous concoction, she received a call from her doctor at Kenyatta. The doctor insisted that she should not miss her next appointment, for he had an extremely urgent issue to discuss. When she saw him, he told her to go to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital for more specialised care. Rachel visited the hospital, inquired about their services and whether they were in a position to help her. They took down her details and in March 2014, she received a call to go for an appointment. The Child Development Centre conducted different tests on Elijah, which included a brain test, consultation by a neuro-developmental specialist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist and finally a hearing test. After also examining his medical history, they found that his jaundice after birth affected the brain and caused quadriplegia meaning that he cannot use his hands and legs. He also tested positive for hearing loss graded as severe to profound. He was therefore in need of a wheel chair, corsets and hearing aids.

Rachel narrates how she has seen Elijah’s transformation after just two sessions with the Development Centre. “He could not sleep at all because of his congested chest but now he sleeps soundly”. Rachel was able to start working again by doing casual jobs because Elijah’s appetite has increased since then and naturally this involved food costs. She is so happy because she did not have any appetite before but now she is sure she has a reason to eat and live. She states that even her appearance has changed because now the great worry for Elijah has been lifted.

Elijah is happier and can now move his hands. ‘He could not move at all but now I can’t leave him alone because he might either fall or roll over his seat.’ She reiterates that all these changes have happened in one month. She has however had to replace napkins with pampers for use during the physiotherapy sessions which has not been easy. The drugs for suppressing the convulsions have also been a challenge to acquire regularly. A few months later, baby Elijah is visibly stronger as he is brought in for his therapy sessions. This day is different though, because it is the day he will leave the hospital on wheels rather than being carried. Rachel is overjoyed by this new advance. ‘I may not be able to repay you but God will bless you abundantly. Thank you all very much’.




The Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation was established in 2010 and is the main vehicle for the Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital’s community outreach activities. The Foundation’s aim is to provide quality health care to needy children, who are located in hard to reach areas and children’s homes in various parts of the country, and rely on our free services at the main hospital, our outreach clinics and medical camps.



Philanthropy and Youth Empowerment Foundations Innovative Approaches to Support Youth

The OECD netFWD launched the ‘Philanthropy and Youth Empowerment: Foundations’ Innovative Approaches to Support Youth’ study at the Crown Plaza hotel on the 28th May 2014.

The study provided insight into the unique role played by foundations in youth empowerment. Based on ten case studies of foundations that support youth, the study examined some of the more innovative approaches that philanthropic actors use including specific value-additions of these efforts in comparison those of other development actors. The study included an overview of trends, highlights specific examples of programmes and partnerships, and offers recommendations to foundations and policymakers on how to work together to achieve even greater impact. To view the full report click here.
In addition, the event included a workshop on ‘How to Measure the success of youth Interventions’. An interactive session based on case studies presentations on different approaches to M&E and impact assessment (such as Randomized Controlled Trials) that provided participants with the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other.

EAAG Represented at the 2014 WINGS Forum

EAAG participated in the Wings Forum 2014 held on 27th – 30th March in Istanbul Turkey. Themed “The Power of Networks – Building a Connected Global Philanthropy” session discussions aimed to generate and share innovative ways of building a coordinated global philanthropy movement through effective networking, information sharing and enhancing exemplary leadership. Sessions profiled case studies, synthesized reports and experiences on best practices for effective philanthropy around the globe.

Network and relationship building for effective grantmaking, the value of quantifying giving through a globally coordinated, reliable and comparable approach to philanthropy research and the undeniable role of philanthropy in the global development agenda specifically, the Post 2015 development agenda were key messages from the event.

The session explored the evolving trends and diversity of philanthropy actors and practices drawing organizations, individuals and associations from different funding types, structures, cultures, interests, and ideologies from continents. Africa was fairly represented by 27 participants, 15 of whom were EAAG members.

2014 Participating members

East Africa had the opportunity to share experiences on local philanthropy in a session themed “Scaling up African Philanthropy: Case Studies from East, West and Southern Africa’’. The session was coordinated by African Grantmakers Network (AGN) and East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG). Session participants from East Africa included the Safaricom Foundation, the Kengen Foundation, Akiba Uhaki Foundation, the Foundation for Civil Society, the Tanzania Gatsby Trust and Allavida’ East Africa among others.

Participants had an opportunity to share African Philanthropy narratives and their composition, values, motivation, operating environments, actors and support structures. Guided by AGN’s “Sizing the Field” Report, discussions underscored the prevalent horizontal and informal forms of giving while acknowledging the challenges that came with unstructured architecture in measuring magnitude, value and impact of philanthropy in development. Although largely unstructured, Community philanthropy was identified as the most prevalent form of giving in Africa with indications of an incremental rise in institutionalized corporate and family philanthropy.

The discourse on increased opportunities for the growth and impact of African philanthropy was a key session highlight. One significant shift has been the unprecedented economic growth of the African middle class and subsequent emerging set of high-net-worth individuals the continent is witnessing, and how this phenomenon is reconstructing unplanned giving into structured individual philanthropy. Second has been the rise of reliable technology including mobile money and its transformative effects on fundraising mechanisms especially in East Africa. Third is the increase in responsiveness by communities particularly around development resources in the region, evidenced by increasing endowment development and innovative community organizing models that are leveraging other forms of giving within and outside community environments. Foundations such as the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) were applauded for pioneering a continental best practice model for community resource mobilization and management.

Session summary contributions from participants showed that despite its massive growth adequate documentation on philanthropy is still lacking. The benefits of organized philanthropy, networking and partnership are significant but without a supporting operating environment, transparency and accountability, African philanthropy is the region is endangered.

For more outcomes from the convention, please visit .

The WINGS forum is held after every four years. The next conference will be held in Mexico in 2018.

Community Foundation Atlas Project – Share Your Work with a Worldwide Audience

What does meaningful change look like for your community foundation? Participate in the Community Foundation Atlas project and add your voice to a growing picture of the global importance of community philanthropy. The Community Foundation Atlas, an invaluable new website to be unveiled this fall, will provide the most detailed picture presented to date of the importance of community philanthropy the world over.

As part of its contribution to the 100th anniversary of the community foundation movement in 2014, the Cleveland Foundation (the world’s first community trust) is collaborating with the Foundation Center, the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) and the C. S. Mott Foundation to gather and publish on a single online platform comprehensive information about the locations, resources, roles and achievements of community foundations everywhere. Preliminary analysis of responses to the Atlas project’s online survey has revealed a rich and diverse landscape of community change that is being driven by community foundations and community foundation-like organizations in almost every region of the world.

Over the last century—and at an accelerating pace in recent decades as citizen activism has flourished—community philanthropies have taken root on every continent except Antarctica. There is still time for your community foundation to share highlights of your work with a worldwide audience of peers and interested government officials, policy makers, journalists, potential philanthropic partners and citizen leaders.

Join the Community Foundation Atlas project and add your voice to this growing picture of global leadership! If you haven’t already participated in the survey, please do so at The survey, which takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Some early findings:
● Half of the respondents are relatively new, having been established in the last 25 years.
● Twenty-eight have no paid staff members while eight have more than 50.
● Ten percent reported assets of more than $130 million.
● Forty percent have endowments of $1.5 million or less.
● Respondents span the grantmaking spectrum: Ten percent reported total grantmaking of less than $2,600 in their last fiscal year, while ten percent exceeded $11 million.

Another indicator of the movement’s vigor: More than three-fourths of the respondents say their organization’s financial condition is improving. These placed-based philanthropies have something else important in common. More than 95 per cent of them see their main accountability being to local people. From fostering economic development in depressed or rural areas to fighting for human rights, the respondents’ collaborations with local partners to address their communities’ urgent needs are wide-ranging. Yet there are similarities of interest as well. Nearly half (49 percent) of the foundations surveyed say they are deeply engaged in the field of education. One fourth of them report extensive involvement in health, and almost a fifth strongly support arts and culture.

COMMUNITY FOUNDATION ATLAS Share Your Work with a Worldwide Audience The Atlas survey also provides an opportunity for respondents to describe in their own words the “most meaningful change” their organization has brought about. Here is a selection of responses: From Kenya Our community development foundation is a unique organization. In a landscape where many not-for profits look to external donors for their sustenance, we look within Kenya and ensure it has its own investments to finance its activities. In a context where most donors and grant makers impose their agendas on communities, we support communities to be drivers of their own development agenda.

From South Africa We have worked tirelessly and consciously for the past 11 years to bring about an awareness and consciousness of the value of community assets as the starting point for funding support and an appreciation that the poor have assets and value and that there is a need to unlock those resources and to place communities at the centre of all our interventions. We are now seeing the fruits of our work in that this approach is taking root in national government pro-poor programmes. From Ghana In November 2005, we instituted an Education Day for all junior high schools in Akuapem. The Day concentrated on looking for solutions to the problems affecting the delivery of quality education such that for many years many basic schools scored 0% pass at the Basic Education Certificate Examination.

In 2011, on our seventh Education Day, there was an evaluation of what had been done so far. Outcome was the realisation of the remarkable improvement in the pass level in Akuapem schools, currently well above the national average. This year’s Education Day, the ninth, was about the health needs of our mothers. Their wellness is basic to the well-being of the children we hope will be our future leaders. From Tanzania Supported municipality cleaning women groups who started with brooms and now have wheelbarrows and uniforms. Supported floods victims in Kilosa area with food and health care to the tune of U.S.$20,000. Provided grants for rehabilitation of municipal mortuary buildings and to hospital units for 400 bed sheets, 200 blankets and 20 wall fans. Provided seed funds to a group of youth involved in waste collection and recycling, enabling them to purchase tools to produce organic fertilizers from wastes. From Palestine We are working to raise the local (community-level) standard of knowledge and understanding of human rights as “rights”—not privileges—and to demand them constructively. From Turkey We are the only community foundation in Turkey and one of the few grantmakers as well. We have supported local civil society organizations in our city as they built capacity in a way that other organizations couldn’t by providing grants and networking support. In the rural areas, we created awareness of organic agriculture, conscious use of fertilizers and soil analysis. Our work revivied the long-forgotten industry of apple production, benefiting both the farmers and the entire economic sector.

In addition to sharing illustrative stories of community service and change, the Atlas will feature a detailed profile of each community foundation that participates in the survey. Furthermore, the collective survey responses will be professionally analyzed and interpreted by Barry Knight, director of CENTRIS (the United Kingdom-based Center for Research and Innovation in Social Policy and Practice), allowing the Atlas to present compelling evidence of the many ways in which community foundations worldwide are making a critical difference to their societies. Thank you so much for joining this effort to document for the first time the worldwide impact of the community foundation movement.

Cleveland Foundation : Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the larg¬est today, with assets of $2 billion and 2013 grants of $87 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit

Foundation Center Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy world¬wide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the re¬sources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, in¬creasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. For more infor¬mation, please visit

Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) WINGS is a global network of grantmaker associations and philanthropic support organizations formed in 1999. WINGS strengthens, promotes and provides leadership on the development of philanthropy and social investment around the world. WINGS gives voice to the many cultures of giving and provides its members and other participants with information, knowledge, and peer exchange. Its vision is to create a strong, global philanthropic community that strives to build more equitable and just societies around the world. For more information, please visit

Global Fund for Community Foundations The Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) is a grassroots grantmaker working to promote and support institutions of community philanthropy around the world. GFCF works with individual community foundations and other local grantmakers and their networks around the world, with a particular focus on the global south and the emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe. Through small grants, technical support and networking, GFCF helps these local institutions to strengthen and grow so that they can fulfill their potential as vehicles for local development and as part of the infrastructure for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and citizen participation. For more information, please visit

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation The Mott Foundation, established in 1926 by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four pro¬grams: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. Besides Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The Foundation, with 2012 year-end as¬sets of $2.28 billion, made 439 grants totaling $91 million. For more information, visit

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS – East Africa Philanthropy Awards 2014


call for nominations


Members, Partners and Friends,

Very warm greetings from the EAAG Secretariat in Nairobi. The East Africa Association of Grantmakers is happy to once again invite you to participate in the nomination of deserving candidates for consideration for the 2014 East Africa Philanthropy Awards (EAPA).

The EAPA seeks to identify, recognize and celebrate outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to strategic social development and to the growth of the philanthropic movement in East Africa. Since establishment in 2011, the awards have feted 14 individuals and organizations from across East Africa in different categories… Read more By recognizing and honoring these individuals and organizations, we continue to demonstrate the transformational power of philanthropy as well as raise role models for local philanthropy.

This year we are seeking nominees in the following categories:
•    East Africa Individual Philanthropy Award
•    East Africa Youth Philanthropy Award
•    East Africa Women Philanthropy Award
•    East Africa Family Philanthropy Award
•    East Africa Community Philanthropy Award
•    East Africa Corporate Philanthropy Award

To nominate your candidate please visit EAPA Nomination Form. This will take you about 5 minutes to complete. For more information on the awards, please visit the awards page on our website at  The deadline for submitting your nomination is 15th August 2014. Kindly call us on +254 0722573575 or email us at  if you have any questions or need further clarifications.


Nicanor Sabula
East Africa Association of Grantmakers



This report summarises the discussions that took place during a two-hour session of the Annual Philanthropy Conference organised by the East Africa Association of Grantmakers. The session on Social Justice Philanthropy: Why should it matter, provided a diverse group of philanthropic grantmakers and development practitioners with an opportunity to develop a shared understanding of ways in which philanthropy may address systemic and structural issues of social justice. Read more HERE