In the year 2000, three women, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Joana Foster and Hilda Tadria created a philanthropic organisation focused on making measurable change in African women’s lives.

Inspired by the aspirations of the African women’s movement, the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) was created as an independent resource for gender equality and development across the continent.

Today, the AWDF’s grantmaking practices are built to support the initiatives of African women who may not have access to mainstream funding due to capacity, language, location, and marginalisation. In fact, the AWDF has served as a key donor to 60 percent of grantees who experience serious challenges to sustainable funding.

Over the past 15 years AWDF has worked to build relationships with, and mobilise resources for close to 1,200 women’s organisations in 42 African countries across the continent.


AWDF USA Board Members

Founded in New York City in 2002, AWDF USA was established by a coalition of African women and allies in the diaspora as a 501(c)(3) public charity. AWDF USA was created to help raise visibility and mobilise support in the United States for African women’s development. Through research, public information, and convening initiatives, AWDF USA works to highlight the tremendous impact that African women-led philanthropy and nonprofits have on communities across the continent and the diaspora. Programs and services include grantmaking to African women-led nonprofits; philanthropic advisory and management services; community convening and building; technical assistance for African women-led nonprofits and philanthropies in the US; as well as research and public information initiatives.

AWDF USA is supported by a national network of regional committees based in Chicago, the Mid-Atlantic region with emerging networks in Minnesota; Silicon Valley, CA; New York City; and New England.