It’s been just about a month since the 2019 annual general meeting of the Segal Family Foundation to which Toa was invited as a first-time grantee.  The event did not disappoint and I’ve already posted about it in text, photos, and videos on our social media platforms, so I won’t blather on too long here, but rather just wrap up with a few words and images.  🙂

Segal, in their own words, relies on a “philosophy of funding [that] is rooted in deep respect and admiration of our grantee partners.  We strive to be advocates of their work and partners in their struggle for social justice.  Our model of Active Partnership is informed by our Theory of Change.  We develop long-term relationships—supporting the whole organization, not just projects—led by our team on the ground in East Africa.  Our community improves our partners’ ability to design the most effective, locally appropriate solutions to poverty in their communities.”

In order to achieve these goals, Segal champions the following practices which, as a donee, I can say are GREATLY appreciated:

–>Flexible Funding (unrestricted funds for general operations)

–>Unburdensome Reporting (one annual report that evaluates mutually agreed-upon milestones set prior to receipt of funding)

–>Celebration and Promotion (partner news, shout-outs on social, and events like the AGM)

–>Building Community (creating a family feel among Segal’s network of doers and donors)

–>Capacity Building Resources (providing amazing services other than the grant; being a Segal grantee is literally the gift that keeps on giving!)

–>Influencing Philanthropy (introducing grantees to other philanthropic arms both within and without the Segal network)

Being new to the rodeo, so to speak, I didn’t know quite what to expect, but with my “momager” Carla by my side, we steeled ourselves for the 20 minute PATH train ride from lower Manhattan to Jersey City.  🙂

Within minutes of our arrival, it was like I was back in Moshi.  Snippets of Swahili wafting through the Westin Hotel, our home for the next two days; big smiles from Sharonrose Msaki and Gidibo Tindwa, our Segal program officers in Tanzania; and warm greetings from old friends like Anthony Ephraim of The Gabriella Center and Mama Grace from Connects Autism Tanzania.  Africa came to Jersey!

Over the course of the AGM, Carla and I attended panels such as “Fueling Effective Partnerships,” “Making the Case for Funding Local Solutions,” “Igniting the Power of Collective Action,” and “Setting a Vision for Funder Accountability.”

We also met with people from like-minded organizations such as Steve Williams from Kyaninga Child Development Centre, Kakenya Ntaiya from Kakenya’s Dream, Maria Omare from The Action Foundation, Iku Lazaro from Shule Direct, and Joy Zawadi from Akili Dada.

We immediately put some of these new contacts into motion, making plans for partnership with Jackie Bomboma of Young Strong Mothers Foundation to discuss women’s empowerment with our all-female tutoring staff.  Likewise, with Gwamaka Mwabuka of Tai Tanzania to collaborate on message-driven as well as academic short animated videos for our students.  Back in Tanzania, Augustino and Ema have already met with both of these folks!!

As for me and Carla, we found our time at Segal to be incredibly rewarding and educative if a bit overwhelming.  We came, we saw, we learned a ton.  We met other doers like us and other donors like Segal and we generally had a ball.  In the weeks since the event, we’ve been busy making sense of our notes, reaching out to contacts made, and following up on any and all leads that will help Toa moving forward into 2020.  We’re looking forward to seeing how all that pans out, and of course, we’ll let you, our friends and donors know how it goes….!

My nametag!


Video from the welcome plenary


Barry tells a Trump joke just after informing the crowd that Segal comes in fourth in giving to Africa after Gates, Clinton, and Rockefeller


Andy Bryant, Segal’s Executive Director


A slide from “Fueling Effective Partnerships” showing where some of the doer/donor misunderstandings stem from.  🙂


A view from the back of an M&E panel


Who dat?  It’s Grace Lyimo of Connects Autism Tanzania, Michelle Landy of Kilimanjaro Education Foundation, and Barry Childs of Africa Bridge!


Group photo (credit @ Segal Family Foundation) – what a bunch of rockstars!!