Celebrating a Milestone Year and a New Future

Dear Friends and Supporters:



This year has been a milestone year for African women, and the African Women's Development Fund USA (AWDF USA) has been at the center of the story.


A Nobel Story


We are proud that we, along with our pioneering partner, the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF), were the earliest supporters of Sirleaf Market Women's Fund and the Women's Peace and Security Network-Africa, both founded by AWDF supporters and 2011 joint Nobel Prize winners, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia.


Since our founding by a network of women leaders and their allies in the United States and Africa in 2006, our Mother Africa Program has invested  $2 million in Pan-African Women's Movement. For us the world's acknowledgment of Sirleaf's and Gbowee's leadership affirms that our model of identifying and providing early, continuing support to African women innovators is the key to our continent's future.


Here are just a few examples of the outstanding organizations and leaders we have supported over the years.


But this is only the beginning of our story.


A Year of Milestones


In 2011 we took important steps to build on our successful track record to expand our impact.


We hired our first USA executive director, Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson, who brings almost 30 years of experience in global philanthropy, foundation management and African development work to our organization.


Even though she just started in September 2011, we have already had significant accomplishments, including:

  • a groundbreaking summit of 300 Pan-African women philanthropy leaders, including recognition by Congress, the Governor of Minnesota as well as the St. Paul and Minneapolis mayors;
  • re-affirmed our mission of promoting public understanding and support in the US for African women's development with a cutting edge, new strategic plan;
  • a new Pan-African philanthropy and social innovation publication series, including feature blogs on Huffington Post and Open Democracy, as well as expansion of our Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet) community;
  • the expansion of our USA support networks, including a new one in the Bay Area, CA; Seattle/Portland; and Minnesota.
  • local area programs to strengthen public awareness of African social innovation through our Africa in America Salons and other initiatives; and
  • received an Ubuntu Award from the Priority Africa Network, a United States-based advocacy organization, recognizing our USA executive director's contributions to Pan-African philanthropy.

African Women at the Crossroads


The Nobel Prize's recognition of African women's contributions is inspiring. At the same time, this is a challenging period for African women. The organizations that have made African women's advances possible are imperiled. The recession has reduced funding for organizations, weakening the capacity of African women to assert their rights, leadership and contributions to their communities.


Now more than ever African women's organizations need a vehicle that can effectively and reliably channel Americans' commitment to African giving.


And the African Women's Development Fund USA is the answer.


Towards a Future of New Promise


In 2012 we have taken several important steps to expand our impact as we help build a Movement for Africa in the United States. We are implementing the following five core initiatives:

  • national public awareness and convening initiatives that highlight African/African diaspora social innovation, giving and self-help;
  • a "Mother Africa Campaign" to increase our grantmaking to high performing African women's organizations;
  • expand our Donor Advisory Services to help Americans plan and manage their giving to Africa;
  • a study of African philanthropy in America; and
  • convenings of African women social innovators and their allies throughout the United States to strengthen the Pan-African Philanthropy Movement's leadership, collaboration and impact.

In early April, Theo Sowa, CEO of our co-founder and sister organization, the African Women's Development Fund headquartered in Ghana, gave an address at a TEDx conference in Berlin to a standing ovation and a web audience from over 22 countries!


We are also exceedingly proud that AWDF grantee partner, Joyce Banda, has been sworn in as president of Malawi--the second female president in Africa.  A former AWDF Women of Substance leadership awardee, President Banda is a symbol and inspiration to women worldwide.


The African Women's Development Fund USA is well on its way to realizing its mission and vision of becoming the United States' center for African philanthropy and women's leadership.


To join us or learn more contact USA executive director, Dr. Jackie Copeland-Carson, at 408-634-4837 or


We look forward to engaging you in 2012 as we build a new future for Africa together.






The African Women's Development Fund USA

America's Trusted Partner for African Giving


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