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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 AGAG 2018 Annual Conference will launch AGAG2020, a series of special events over the next three years culminating in AGAG’s 20th anniversary. AGAG2020 will explore how we can disrupt the silo mentality that limits our potential to formulate the strategies that will lead to more robust, effective and responsive philanthropy across the African continent.

The 2018 conference will be held at the William and Anita Newman Conference Center on the Baruch College campus in New York City.

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.


Plenary session 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.

Campfire sessions will give small groups an opportunity to discuss ideas about grantmaking practices in a more intimate setting.

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 throughout the day in the Center’s spacious open atrium.

A welcome reception at the end of day one will allow attendees to continue the conversation over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.


Disrupting the Silos and Increasing Impact
Silo funding often characterizes communities as the very issues funders seek to address. Ignoring the interconnected nature of challenges facing African communities that results in missed opportunities to increase impact which limits the potential for partnerships. This session will explore how funders can adopt or adapt to a more open approach and what this means for funders and the organizations they support.

American Foreign Policy: Implications for Africa
Recent developments in American foreign policy are affecting the nation’s relationships around the globe. Changes in immigration and refugee policies, travel bans on Libya, Somalia and Sudan, and funding cuts for health, humanitarian aid and security have implications for communities across Africa. This session will examine how philanthropy responds to changes in foreign policy.

Young People: Protesting the Status Quo and Shaping Global Social Change
Data from the United Nations indicates that the ten countries with the world’s youngest population are all located in Africa. This young population is often seen as a major asset to the continent. This session will examine the dynamics of the African youth experience as part of a global movement for social change, and explore how philanthropy can engage with and learn from young people in order to inform the strategies funders employ for change.

Leveraging Philanthropies Targeting Africa
Across Africa and throughout the African diaspora, the growth of formal philanthropy and the involvement of high net worth individuals is reflected in the emergence of philanthropy infrastructure groups based in Africa. These groups present opportunities for funders based inside and outside of Africa to form partnerships that can help leverage philanthropy to benefit African communities. This session will explore the issues, dynamics, challenges and opportunities for these partnerships.

More than a #Hashtag: Technology, Equity and Social Media
The growth of mobile phones with internet access has enabled communication that spans borders. But internet freedom is threatened when governments block access to social media. This session will examine the marriage of social media and social justice, and how rapid advances in technology have increased access to vital services on the continent.

Building Relationships That Work: Power Dynamics and Effective Philanthropy
Relationships are the glue between funders and the organizations they support.  A shared vision, language and understanding of process are all essential elements of effective collaborations. But power dynamics and a lack of transparency hinder relationships between funders, grantees, intermediaries, and local and international NGOs. This session will explore the challenges of “funding at a distance,” and uncover best practices for navigating these relationships.


Tuesday, April 17
 8:30 am – Coffee & Networking

09:00 – Morning Sessions

12:00 pm – Lunch Table Discussions

1:30 – Afternoon Sessions

5:00 – 7:00 Welcome Reception

Wednesday, April 18
9:00 am – Morning Sessions

12:00 pm – Lunch Table Discussions

1:00 – Afternoon Sessions

5:00 – Conference Ends

Register Online