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2018 Conference

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“Funding in Africa: Disrupting Silos, Connecting Conversations, Creating Impact”
April 17-18, 2018
Newman Conference Center, Baruch College
New York, New York  

The Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group (AGAG) convenes funders, curates information and connects people and ideas. We believe that a strong network of informed and engaged funders is essential to promoting robust, effective and responsive philanthropy to benefit African communities.

As one of the few meetings designed specifically for funders who support initiatives targeting African communities, the AGAG Annual Conference has provided a unique benefit to the social sector since it began in 2000.

The 2018 Conference will promote conversations that disrupt the silo funding that often characterizes communities as the very issues funder seek to address. We will explore the interconnected nature of the challenges facing African communities and how working together can identify opportunities to increase impact. 

The AGAG 2018 Annual Conference will launch AGAG2020, a series of special events over the next three years culminating in AGAG’s 20th anniversary.

Join us at the William and Anita Newman Conference Center on the Baruch College campus in New York City. Registration closes April 10, 2018. 

Who Should Attend: 

The Annual Conference is open to the grantmaking staff of private funding organizations including family and corporate foundations, philanthropy advisors who manage donor-advised funds, affinity groups and funder networks, invited guests and speakers.

Please note that individuals whose primary job is fundraising or seeking grants are not eligible to attend. Sessions are informal and designed to stimulate discussion and respectful debate. 


The Conference is designed to be a conversation among peers geared to sharing, learning and connecting with colleagues engaged in philanthropy to benefit African communities. 

Plenary themes will cut across sectors and issue areas to deepen our understanding of the current challenges facing communities across Africa.Concurrent sessions, organized by AGAG members, will take a deep dive into specific topics and grantmaking trends.

Lunch table discussions will provide an informal space to discuss hot topics and new initiatives.

Participants will enjoy networking time during morning coffee and refreshment breaks in the Center’s spacious open atrium and during the welcome reception. The midtown Manhattan location of the closing reception will showcase the vibrant city and allow attendees to continue the conversation and meet new colleagues over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Session Topics *

The Challenges and Rewards of  Grantmaking Relationships
The Impact of U. S. Immigration Policies on African Communities
Nuances of Diaspora Giving: Culture, Responsibility and Philanthropy
Mobilizing Philanthropy in Support of Social Justice
The Dynamics, Tensions, and Potential of Philanthropy 
Liberia After Ebola: Supporting Community Resilience
Funding in Conflict-Prone Environments 
Supporting Women Social Entrepreneurs: One Size Does Not Fit All 
Local Organizations Driving Change
Funding Rights-based Approaches to Mental Health
Advancing Business Journalism in Africa
Protesting the Status Quo, Shaping Global Change: Africa’s Next Generation 
AGAG2020: Tapping Into the Wisdom of the Community

What conference participants had to say about the AGAG Annual Conference:

“Typically in my foundation’s grantmaking and I imagine other large endowed philanthropies do we, can be somewhat “siloed” around the issue areas that we’re addressing. The conference has been a regular opportunity for me to get more of a big picture sense of what’s happening not just in philanthropy but also in Africa more broadly —  social trends that are going on that I might not be aware of and demographic trends very much in evidence in this year’s conference focus on youth. It also exposes me to compelling work that’s going on in other fields and in some instances allows me to identify emerging leaders either at the individual or organizational level.”


“The conference has been a phenomenal resource in a couple different areas. One is just connecting with colleagues. It has provided a really wonderful opportunity and balance to have conversations in more curated sessions and then free flowing conversations as well. The ability to connect with colleagues from across the sector is something that I don’t get to do on an ongoing basis that is extremely valuable.”


“This conference provides me with an opportunity to meet a lot of folks who are representing a variety of different donors or funding institutions as well as individuals that are working on the continent. That is a tremendous value because the reality of my schedule and work based in New York is that I don’t get to be on the ground on a frequent basis. So to connect with people who are practicing on the ground and are there more is an incredible opportunity as well to get to hear those perspectives. Another thing that it is incredibly valuable is the questions that are asked and how you are challenged to think about your practice of work and issues that filter across a number of different areas.”


“AGAG being an affinity group that is not based so much on an issue or an identity but around the geography, there are a lot of issues that it encompasses. So the breadth of issues that one could actually encounter over the two-day conference here is incredibly valuable. You’re not focusing only on one aspect but also you’re spreading wide so have the chance to go deep in your individual conversations or sessions as well.”

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*subject to change