In 2022, GEC developed a new philanthropic model, the Ally Funder Alliance (AFA). This deliberately small group of like-minded funders provides unrestricted funding and other non-financial assistance (what we like to call Allyship) to early-stage, promising, and locally-driven girl–centered organizations. Through collective action, the AFA will leverage the contributions of its members, while providig catalytic support to local organizations.
During our ten years working side by side in allyship with IHSA, we’ve become acutely aware of the number of small, community–based organizations that do transformational work yet are too small, too remote and too under–resourced to cross the radars of funders. The more of these leaders and organizations we met, the more we wondered, ‘what would it take‘ to effectively partner with these efforts, to uplift and support them as they identify and address local challenges, and perhaps help them get to a place where they are no longer struggling, but thriving – and noticed.
That’s how the Ally Funder Alliance was born. It’s a strategy by Girls Education Collaborative to leverage collective partnership to support and catalyze the work of local changemakers uplifting girls through education.
A new model
While small, community-led organizations are usually not on the radar of large Western donors, like single-family foundations, GEC recognizes how vital they are to making systemic and lasting change, both regionally and globally. That’s why we work determinedly and carefully to find smaller organizations that match our mission: that locally-led organizations are the key to making transformative changes in rural, under-served regions in developing economies where high rates of gender inequality and economic poverty persist.
The new AFA model grants unrestricted funds to already promising interventions on the ground that have the potential to smash gender-based barriers and make tectonic shifts in under-funded communities by equipping girls with the skills and tools needed to finish school, navigate their circumstances, and fulfill their futures.
The Ally Funder Alliance is powerful in that it addresses both funding and allyship, building trust and respect between donor and donee, and allowing Ally Organizations to thrive on a trail that they themselves blazed. We link arms in allyship with local changemakers in the girls-education space, driving social change by putting trust in their ideas, ideals, and philosophies.
AFA’s inaugural Ally Organizations
Before the close of 2022, the AFA made gifts of $10,000 each to two girl- centered organizations in Tanzania:
Empowered Girls is a Tanzanian organization that enlightens, equips, and empowers girls to thrive by teaching life skills and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education and providing mentorship in weekly seminars.
“We have the passion, but we don’t always have the tools,” says Kellen Msseemmaa, Founder of Empowered Girls Africa Founder, an AFA Ally Organization. “My mother got pregnant while in secondary school, and because of that she could not go on with her education and that meant the end of her dreams. While growing up, my mother reminded me everyday of taking education seriously, as it is the only way I could live my dream life. I did not want to live the life my mother lived.”
“We believe as we converse you will hold our hands and take us to an amazing and giant organization as we have energy to be a great one in Tanzania. We believe in moving slow but sure with the right partners like you who care for the small organizations as we are.” AHIRD Founder Josephina Joachim.
Our aim is to leverage collective partnership, to support and catalyze the work of local changemakers who are uplifting girls through education.
What if allyship with the AFA is all that stands between these incredible organizations and their ability to appear on the radars of other funders, which could get them the financing they need to develop? What impact can we unlock when we coalesce our resources, our networks, and our allyship?
There remain a few open slots for funders to join the Alliance. Email us to learn more.