ACT Foundation commenced operations in early 2017 with the major objective to support nonprofit organizations across Africa through grantmaking as well as build a stronger social sector through capacity building. ACT Foundation has currently embarked on 2 grant cycles in 2017 and 2018 which has been hugely successful as the foundation partnered with about 47 organizations to increase impact across its 4 focus areas; Health, Entrepreneurship, Environment and Leadership. ACT Foundation hopes to partner with more organizations to achieve sustainable impact across the continent through subsequent grants.
“We see ACT Foundation as a bridge between socio-economic development and the underserved African demography. “ Osayi Alile
- What are the benefits of having a structured form of giving via a foundation?
Structured giving is very important to ensure sustainable impact across the different initiatives that we fund. Structured giving provides us with the following benefits
- Accountability from our grantees
- Ease in monitoring and evaluation to ensure desired impact
- Grantees having a clear understanding of our expectations
- Ability to track the use of funds
- Aids clear assessment of impact in the long term for ACT Foundation and implementing partners
- What challenges are you addressing through ACT Foundation and why?
Our interventions are aimed at effectively tackling challenges in the areas of Health, Entrepreneurship, Environment and Leadership. We believe that these challenges are the predominant clogs in the wheel of African development. Through addressing these challenges, we envision an empowered, advanced and secure Africa.
- Since inception, what impact has ACT Foundation made in these areas?
With two grant cycles and 47 partners across 28 states in Nigeria, we have impacted over 100,000 beneficiaries. Interestingly, a bulk of our beneficiaries are women and children who are the most vulnerable in our society. We have made strides in ameliorating the dangers of cancer with a focus on breast, cervical and prostate cancers. The malaria burden on the continent is not on the decline, and as such we have embarked on partnerships to mitigate the situation. Additionally, ACT Foundation has interventions that are centered on combating gender-based violence, and initiatives that have ensured that thousands do not lose the gift of eyesight by providing free eye screenings and corrective lenses.
Leadership being a predominant problem in Africa needs a new narrative, and we are attempting to change the leadership status quo on the continent by pushing progressive ideals to the younger generation. Similarly, our focus on entrepreneurship aims to empower the African youth while improving the standard of living for our beneficiaries through skills acquisition and financial literacy. As for the environment, we have committed resources to proper waste management and environmental sustainability, which extends to water, sanitation and hygiene.
- How do you measure the impact of your grants?
ACT Foundation measures impact of its funded programs through a detailed Measurement and Evaluation System. The process commences with monitoring the implementation of grantees projects and culminates in an assessment of the funded programs by a third-party evaluation firm. This terminal program evaluation focuses on the degree of impact each funded program had on the beneficiaries, the efficiency and effectiveness of the programs during implementation and the relevance of the programs to the beneficiaries. Through this process, we have learnt lessons that has helped us refine our processes and build stronger systems and structures to achieve greater impact.
- What advice would you give an emerging grant making organization or corporation interested in grant making?
The best advice for potential grant makers, particularly those working to improve the living standard of Africans is to make the passion for development and impactful change their utmost priority. Africa is a richly endowed continent that needs to be explored and open to more opportunities for impact investment. An emerging grant maker should be aware of the challenges faced by the social sector; however, it must be willing to take risks that will ensure progress in its areas of intervention. Additionally, grant makers must strive for sustainability while embarking on interventions. More importantly, isolation could be dangerous and as such the importance of establishing strategic partnerships cannot be over emphasized if an emerging grant maker aims to drive sustainable impact, as well as amplify the scale of their work. Finally, we would recommend that grant makers listen to their grantees and provide all the support they can to help the organizations be more sustainable.
- Why did you join the APF community?
At ACT Foundation we take pride in our partnerships which have so far seen that a large population of underserved Africans have been impacted positively. In line with the United Nations SDG 17, we constantly work towards building partnerships with local, regional and international organizations which include our grantees, other nonprofit organizations, private and public sector organizations. We leverage on partnerships to create effective social impact solutions across the continent. We have joined the APF community because we believe in the Vision and Mission of the organization. We believe there is great potential to be harnessed for the continent if we promote home grown philanthropy. By joining our voice with APF, we hope to open doors to social sector engagement in Africa, as well as attract strategic partnerships and impact investments for the good of the continent.
- How has being a part of the APF community impacted your work and that of your other grantees?
APF has been a crucial platform for us to share solutions and engage with key players in the African social development sector. Resulting from the myriad of challenges faced by the social sector in Africa and bearing in mind the critical issues such as forging strategic partnerships and creating funding opportunities, APF is for us a vehicle for making impact on a larger scale. More so, the presence of an organization like APF serves as a constant reminder that Africa has a potent culture of philanthropy which is a plus for the continent and for us as a leading African grantmaker.