On Sunday, September 18 an impressive and diverse group of individuals committed to inclusive development on the African Continent gathered in the lovely home of David and Lisa Issroff in New York City for a reception hosted by the Issroff and Segal Family Foundations, and the African Philanthropy Forum (APF). This event, held on the sidelines of the UN and Clinton Global Initiative Meetings, drew change makers, social investors and philanthropists, all of whom share a passion for promoting social change and development in Africa.
In his welcoming remarks, David Issroff explained how his South African roots shaped his interest in and passion for devoting his time, insights and resources to promote education, and social innovation on the Continent. Issroff introduced the Segal family and commended their work in East Africa and the lessons gained from their recent gathering in Uganda. Andy Bryant, Executive Director of the Segal Family Foundation provided insights into the focus and activities of the Foundation and their commitment to promoting philanthropy by engaging others to partner on the Continent. He also described the emerging efforts of philanthropists focused on Africa in the Tri-State Area of the United States to actively collaborate.
Jane Wales, CEO of World Affairs and the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF) provided insights into the history and impact of the GPF over the past fifteen years, and explained how the presence of Africans at the GPF led to the creation of the APF in 2014.
Ndidi Nwuneli, Director of APF provided an overview of the APF, its activities and impact in 2016, and importantly, its upcoming conference in Rabat, Morocco on October 17-18. She stated that philanthropists could and should play a catalytic role in taking big bets and bold steps on the African Continent. She noted that 2016 APF convening would examine the roles that philanthropists could play in key areas including governance, nutrition and agriculture, climate change and energy, youth employment and entrepreneurship and arts & culture.
The evening also featured remarks from three distinguished individuals: Mr. Patrick Awuah, Founder and President of Ashesi University in Ghana, Mr. Andrew Herscowitz, Coordinator, Power Africa and Mrs. Teresa Cummings, co-founder of the Cummings Foundation.
Awuah shared his own journey, first as a member of the African Diaspora who sent money home to his relatives. He described his decision to invest his own personal resources to start Ashesi University and the journey of the school from a start-up to a premier educational institution in Ghana. Herscowitz spoke of the progress and plans for President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative launched in 2013. The USAID project intends to bring clean and efficient energy generation to millions in Africa. Lastly, Cummings, who recently established the Cummings Foundation focused on promoting development in Liberia, outlined the impetus for the foundation and she and her husband, Alexander Cummings’ desire to collaborate with other philanthropists.
The nearly 80 in attendance represented a wide array of countries—Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Morocco, to name a few. The evening was spent sharing ideas on how to pool resources, deepen African philanthropy and promote global collaboration with African philanthropists.