“I’m taking out this time / To give you a piece of my mind …. I’m just trying to get mine / I don’t have the time / To knock the hustle for real….” – Jay-Z

Indeed.  These days I’m finding all one has is the hustle as the world around us becomes more uncertain and less stable.  It’s been a pretty rough time, and though it’s been hard to maintain a steady level of enthusiasm for work, I will say that for us Toa Nafasians, the important work we do has been keeping us sane and ensuring that our team remains intact.  Particularly for the fundraising staff at Toa, we’ve busied ourselves by applying for grant upon grant and I am pleased I can finally announce some of the fruits of our labor.

Last month, The Toa Nafasi Project landed a second grant from The International Foundation whose vision statement reads: “We envision a world in which active philanthropy measurably improves the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in developing world communities.”  We were first awarded funding back in 2018.Created in 1948, The International Foundation’s purpose is “to promote, foster, encourage, and further non-profit, non-sectarian, and non-political educational, medical, philanthropic, humanitarian, scientific, and literary enterprises of all kinds.”

From their website, they describe their approach thusly: “At the core of our mission is the concept that charity alone isn’t enough.  We must take charity to a level that delivers measurable and sustainable change that is ‘owned’ by the project participants and that leaves broad, lasting benefits.  We prioritize the principles of self-determination, local engagement, and sustainability, both as means to and ends of our philanthropic goals.  More and more, this requires grant-maker and grantee to share a common view of the challenges, optimal solutions, and ultimate objectives of our partnering efforts.”

In March, Toa Nafasi’s work with Segal Family Foundation was reviewed by our program officers in Tanzania as well as headquarters in the United States.  We had won funding from them in 2018 also, and like The International Foundation, Segal has also entered into a second grant cycle with us, providing us with congratulations on what we’ve accomplished and constructive criticism going forward.

Segal believes in “a world where development is steered by grassroots leaders and power is shifted into the hands of communities.”  They work across Sub-Saharan Africa and strive to be true partners to their grantees with a desire “to change the power dynamics inherent in traditional philanthropy and prove that a new, more equitable, and responsive approach is not only more fair, but more effective.”

They develop long-term relationships—supporting the whole organization, not just projects—led by their teams on the ground in East Africa.  The Segal community improves partners’ ability to design the most effective, locally appropriate solutions to poverty in their communities.

We are thrilled that – even in all the chaos that 2020 has spewed forth – our hustle has paid off and we’ve won a bit of money for the project, that it may continue for the foreseeable future and hopefully keep growing, providing employment opportunities and career paths for formerly marginalized local women and supporting public primary schoolchildren with learning difficulties.

June 3, 2020