2015 African Philanthropy Forum: Millennials Bring Down the House


The second African Philanthropy Forum (APF) convened in Kigali, Rwanda this past October. This year’s forum brought together over 150 of Africa’s current and emerging philanthropists and social investors to discuss the role of philanthropy in keeping a “Promise to the Next Generation” – a promise to leverage and further develop human capital and talent to achieve Africa’s potential.

Panels included incredible changemakers, who discussed how investments in education, health, agriculture, technology, and women will generate the talent needed to realize a brighter African future. However, it was the panel composed of millennials that brought an energy of passion and urgency too rarely felt at conferences.

In the “The Future We Make: Africa’s Next Generation of Social Actors” panel, Sangu Delle, Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa, Patrick Ngowi, and Uzodinma Iweala aptly summed up the cross-cutting themes of the 2015 APF as follows:

  • We need to place emphasis on homegrown philanthropy. Working in Africa is distinctly different from working anywhere else in the world, which requires locally developed models of philanthropy, investment and development.
  • The ideas and innovations required to solve problems in Africa already exist, but they require flexibility from funders in order to successfully develop and scale. This means creating local finance systems, access to affordable capital, long-term commitments, listening to local definitions of impact, and providing access to relevant mentors.
  • Social entrepreneurship will be at the center of the next generation of philanthropy.
  • Partnerships between private, public and civil sectors will drive greater change as they leverage different strengths.
  • Achieving equal rights for women is crucial for Africa’s development, and both men and women need to be involved in driving those equal rights.

You can check out more of the discussion from this year’s African Philanthropy Forum on Twitter – #APF15.

IDP Foundation Attends SoCap 2015

October 20, 2015

The eighth annual SoCap (Social Capital Markets) conference recently took place in beautiful San Francisco, California, drawing a huge crowd of impact investors, foundations, social entrepreneurs and visionaries who gathered to discuss ways to increasing the flow of capital towards social good. The conference rooms were jam-packed and the shoreline was alive with meetings of people looking to create change.

In an effort to keep our finger on the pulse of impact investing, IDP Foundation attended the conference, which proved to be on target with our focus as we strive to become 100% mission-aligned. We learned from a diverse group of investors, social entrepreneurs, and managers, as well as heard from budding entrepreneurs who shared their innovative ideas, while inspiring us along the way.

The growing demand for impact investment options was evident throughout the event as attendees explored ways to invest their assets and align them with their values. Some discussions focused on achieving high impact without giving up returns, while others focused on giving up return potential in lieu of high social impact. Regardless of the direction, investors were demanding social and environmental impact, and looking at their investments with more than just a financial lens. 

While impact investing was the primary focus, we were also looking to discover opportunities for partnerships with ventures that use business solutions to solve education issues – particularly in the developing world – while we continue to identify sustainable solutions to incorporate learning enhancements into the IDP Rising Schools Program

Overall, the conference was exhilarating and inspired us to take much of what we learned and apply it to the work and efforts of the IDP Foundation.

Click here to learn more about SoCap and join the conversation on Twitter at #SoCap15


Dr. Patrick Awuah Named 2015 MacArthur Fellow


October 1, 2015

Congratulations to Ashesi University President, Dr. Patrick Awuah, who has recently been named as one of the twenty-four recipients of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship!

Known to many as the “Genius Grant,” the highly coveted award has three criteria for selection: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

This year’s class makes up a diverse collective of trailblazers, ranging from ages 33 to 72. “These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment, and their creativity inspire us all.”

To learn more about Dr. Awuah and the other MacArthur Fellow recipients, read here.

Join the conversation at #MacFellow


IDP Visits Social Enterprise Alliance Summit 2015

September 29, 2015

This past week, our Program and Research Coordinator, Jenna O’Brien, attended the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit in Denver, Colorado to get acquainted with the social enterprise community and hear firsthand what challenges entrepreneurs face when creating and maintaining their businesses. The Social Enterprise Alliance is the national membership organization and key catalyst for the rapidly growing social enterprise movement in the United States. They provide social enterprises with the resources needed to succeed, offer support and help grow the field on a national scale, and serve as a voice for more sustainable social impact. Here are some of her takeaways from the sessions and burgeoning sector:

  1. Some of the most lively conversations I had with SEA attendees revolved around a proverbial elephant in the room of growing movements – how do we stay true to task and mission, while becoming a popular option and of interest to the general public? One of the greatest achievements of the social enterprise movement is the widespread adoption and validity of the business model. Now comes the part where you have to decipher between who is legit and who is a knock-off playing to a trend.
  2. Cross-sector collaboration is key to bringing many stakeholders together to solve a complex issue; however, despite the mass amounts of stock photos showing large groups working together harmoniously, that is far from the case. When bringing players from the public, private, and civic spheres, you will usually find some stark misalignments with each sector’s institutional logics that can cause some tension. One easy example to use is the fundamental differences between the for-profit private sector versus the non-profit public sector. Thus, the real challenge becomes how do we turn preexisting tension into beneficial and successful relationships that create outcomes worthy of the hard work?One project to highlight in this area is the Denver Social Impact Bond on homelessness. All eyes are going to be on this city as they attempt to normalize a shift in government spending to focus on positive outcomes and cash savings, rather than creating additional services. If this social impact bond works in Denver, other city governments may follow suit.
  3. There is a growing concern for non-profits that could turn into social enterprises, but choose not to do so. According to a panel addressing Technology for Society, those entities that have the capability to become a social enterprise have a moral obligation to do so in order to leave funding for those non-profits and budding social entrepreneurs who lack access. There are still issues and opinions about solving social problems with market solutions, but many feel philanthropic dollars should go to those starting out – not those with a 10-year track record. “Don’t milk the cow dry, leave some for someone else.”
  4. Millennials were a huge topic of conversation, and I must admit I was flattered to be on the minds of so many influential people! The conversation wasn’t negative; it was about how to work with the 1.1 billion world population (75.4 million in America) who have been at the forefront of technology and is a generation that truly cares. 75 percent of millennials donated to a non-profit in 2014, and 51 percent did volunteer work. How can we tap into this group who doesn’t value structure and are challenging old ways with new change? “Do you work within a system, outside the system, or create a new system?”

Interested in joining the SEA community? Find a chapter near you by clicking here.

We Have a New Partner!


April 10, 2015

IDP Foundation, Inc. and the IDP Rising Schools Program (IDPRS) are pleased to announce a new partnership with Eneza Education; a virtual tutor and teacher assistant accessible on low-cost basic mobile phones. Started by Toni Maraviglia, a Teach for America corps member and former New York teacher, and Kago Kagichiri, a Kenyan developer, Eneza was created to give students access to information that will improve their intelligence and general knowledge. Designed as a way to engage students outside of traditional rote learning, the Eneza product increases critical thinking and inspires curiosity.

After meeting Toni at the Unreasonable Institute in Colorado, IDPF President, Irene Pritzker, knew that the product was something that could contribute exponentially to the educational landscape in Ghana, and thus talks began. What was discussed was an exploration into bringing a new technology to the low cost private schools already enrolled in the IDPRS program, and a strong focus on helping the JHS students pass their Basic Education Certification Exams (BECEs); which allow students to enter into secondary school.

In February of this year, the two teams met in Accra for a very successful scoping trip, as a way to begin formulating a more solid project framework. Over the course of two weeks, the teams met with proprietors in ten different schools in both the Kumasi and Accra regions, which also included demonstrations of the product to teachers, students, and parents. Meetings were also had with mobile network providers and potential local partners who could serve as resident implementers.

As a result of the trip and the conversations had, it was decided that the IDP Foundation, Inc. would make a program related investment for the creation of JHS 3 content, consisting of 50 mini lessons, quizzes, and answer explanations for a pilot that is set to begin at the start of the academic year in September. The content is to be developed by teachers certified by the Ghanaian Education Service to construct curriculum, and it will be vetted by head teachers to assure accuracy. Additionally, the incorporation of teacher content will be included, with tips on classroom management, student engagement, discipline, and even lesson planning.

Because Eneza’s mission is to make 50 million kids across rural Africa smarter, the cost of the product is extremely low, hovering at about $0.50 a month for unlimited use, which is one of the most affordable supplemental education tools our team has ever come across. They are committed to the quality of their product and will partner with a local organization in Ghana to secure the project’s sustainability.

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new project!