Impact partner profile

African Visionary Fund

Driving more funding to African social change-makers to accelerate their impact

Est. since


Location of HQ

Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

Partnership date with Thankyou

September 2020

Area of focus

Philanthropy, Health, Education, Livelihoods, Agriculture, Human Rights, Vocational Training, Technology, Youth, Mental Health


Sub-Saharan Africa


The African Visionary Fund is a new venture that aims to find and channel unrestricted and unburdensome funding to high-impact African social change-makers. The aim is to transform development across the continent through local leaders and organisations, while simultaneously tackling inequities, injustices and power imbalances in grantmaking. They believe that driving funding to those most proximate to the issues ensures that the hopes and aspirations of each member within the communities helps to inform the solutions that are being developed.

Upending traditional funding streams is at the core of African Visionary Fund’s model. Utilising the knowledge and expertise of leading incubators, fellowships and accelerators across the African continent, the African Visionary Fund gives donors access to a well-vetted pipeline of locally-led organisations which have the potential to transform millions of lives.

Dozens of social change-makers are partnering with African Visionary Fund to develop innovative solutions that are sustainable and just, for local, low-income communities.

These solutions are built to tackle the challenges they face—from education quality, to hygiene and sanitation, through to gender-based violence, and more. By steering funding towards these social change-makers, they are able to implement these solutions at a community level. African leaders live, go to school, access healthcare, and work among the communities they are seeking to partner with—so they understand their context, know what works and what doesn’t, and are able to collaborate in a creative and cost-effective way. Leveraging social change-makers helps accelerate their impact and drive transformational change within these communities, whilst enabling flexible funding with localised, on-the-ground capacity and development support.

The African Visionary Fund believes that those most proximate to on-the-ground issues are the best ones to lead change. That’s why they encourage anyone looking to make a difference in the world, to find the leaders who have lived experience with the problems they seek to solve. Their advice is to listen, and follow their lead.

Core impact goals

Increase percent of grantee partners receiving new funding

The African Visionary Fund (AVF) hopes to increase the percentage of their grantee partners who are receiving new funding from outside funders due to connections or referrals made by the AVF team.

Increase number of new funders supporting African social change-makers

The African Visionary Fund aims to increase the numbers of new funders supporting African social change-makers directly because of support from the AVF, or those who increase their funding of African social change-makers through the AVF.

Increase percent of African Visionary Fund grantee partners growing in depth or breadth

The African Visionary Fund is aiming to increase the percent of grantee partners who have grown in either the depth or breadth of their impact after receiving funding.

Type of grant funding given

$478,333* AUD

*Unrestricted Grants funded from July 2020 to December 2023

  1. Disburse $2.3M in grants to 38-40 African Visionary Partners (AVPs).
  2. Deliver organisational development grants to 25 AVPs to accelerate their growth & impact.
  3. Reach USD $10M fundraising goal by the end of 2023. Funded grant: $83,333 AUD 12 month unrestricted funded grant (January - December 2023)
Disburse $1.4M in grants to 23-25 African Visionary Partners.

African Visionary Fund (AVF) surpassed their goal of committing $1.4M in grants to 23-25 African Visionary Partners (AVPs), disbursing $1.5M to 25 AVPs in December 2022. Since 2020, they have committed $4.5M to African visionaries.

Deliver catalytic portfolio services to 15 African Visionary Partners to accelerate their growth and innovation goals.

African Visionary Fund disbursed $225K in Portfolio Services grants to their 15 Visionary Partners ($15K grants each). Portfolio Services can include additional funding alone or extra support, including (but not limited to) correspondence, site visits and grantmaking, and reporting mechanisms determined by Visionary Partners identifying their greatest need.

Raise $2-3M in new funding commitments, totalling $6-7M towards 2023 goal.

In 2022, African Visionary Fund raised $2.4M in new funding commitments, reaching $6.5M in total funds raised towards their goal of $10M by the end of 2023.

Make grant commitments totalling $750k to 8-10 African Visionary Partners by June 2021

African Visionary Fund (AVF) gave $1M USD in multi-year commitments to African visionaries. AVF planned to do two selection processes in 2021: one in Q2 and one in Q4, with each bringing in 4-5 new partners. However, they realised it was more efficient to do one larger round so they could focus on other organisational objectives, such as reviewing their grant-making criteria and selection. This resulted in 6 African visionaries receiving funds, with plans for the next round of grants to reach 8-10 partners.

Raise $4 million in multi-year commitments by June 2021, working towards the $10.5 million by 2023 goal.

AVF raised $3.9M towards their $10.5M 2023 goal - 95% of this is unrestricted, and 80% is multiyear funding.

Continue to build a governance structure that prioritises African leadership at all levels and includes meaningful representation and grantee voice in decision-making.

AVF recruited 4 advisory board members during the grant period, 75% of whom are African. The advisory board were engaged in the first grant selection process and made grant recommendations totalling US$1M in multi-year commitments to African visionaries.

Build organisational structure that is lean, effective, and sustainable, ensuring that they drive the most value to partners possible and that their operations align to their core values.

Alongside their advisory board, AVF developed bylaws that align with their values and best practices in non-profit governance. They also created a three-year budget and preliminary staffing projection during this time, aligned with achieving their 75% grantmaking goal by the end of 2023 to ensure that they drive the most value to partners possible.

On track
Milestone on-track for completion within specified timeframe, outside of Thankyou’s grant period.
Mostly achieved
>90%+ milestone completion.
Partially achieved
Milestone <90% completed within grant period.
Milestone delayed, not completed within grant period.