Twenty-five small African organizations working to accelerate social change through innovation have been awarded $5,000 each from the Bic Corporate Foundation and the Moleskine Foundation.
The grants will be provided through the Innovation Pioneers Fund, which will total more than $1.5m over the next five years. This year, the fund provided financial assistance to organizations in 18 countries.
One third of the companies are run by women; About 80% are under ten years old, with an average workforce of less than ten people and an annual budget of less than $100,000. More than 30% of the 2022 grants were collected in Africa, including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt and Cameroon.
The three offerings from South Africa include Bridges for Music, Free Film Collection and Sunshine Cinema.
As a nonprofit organization, Bridges for Music empowers youth in underserved communities to become creative changemakers by providing them with the 21st century tools and psychosocial skills they need to succeed.
Free Film Collective Alternative, a free education project by African filmmakers and Sunshine Cinema, Africa’s first solar-powered cinema network, operates mobile pop-up cinemas in rural South Africa that inspire conversation, educate and inspire community action.
Building a supportive ecosystem
Alison James, executive director of the Bic Corporate Foundation, outlined the fund’s desire to build a supportive ecosystem that provides greater value to pioneers in addition to its initial microgrants.
“Our mission is to build a community of changemakers supported by a global network of peers, thought leaders, experts and social influencers. This ecosystem of support is what differentiates the Creative Pioneers Fund from traditional philanthropic sources of funding,” said James.
Agents of change
Adama Sanneh, CEO of the Moleskine Foundation, said: “We encourage local organizations that use innovation to solve the biggest challenges in their communities. We know that creators are the main agents of change – they save the world. These are the underdogs in the charity world – and we want them to know we’re in their corner.
“Most innovators got where they are because of luck. Maybe they had a relative who taught them or were born into a community with a well-funded school system. Our goal is to free creativity from luck because we know that creative problem solving is critical to building healthy, strong communities.”