Discovering Best Practices Through Reflection

What the Segal Family Foundation Learned From Funding Local Organizations

We have learned from our team on the ground to be more ambitious around influencing philanthropy and we are now wondering if this hit the right tone in Burundi, are there opportunities to do something similar in other countries?

Dedo Baranshamaje, Segal Family Foundation

One of the fundamental components of the Segal Family Foundation’s (SFF) philanthropic model is investing in African-led, grassroots non-governmental organizations (NGOs). SFF believes that local solutions are the most appropriate and sustainable. SFF continually iterates on its investment model by integrating learning from past investments into its strategy for working with local NGOs. This learning has driven SFF to not only adapt its grantmaking, but also to become an advocate with other donors around best practices in strengthening African societies.

SFF executive director Andy Bryant shares that by funding at a local level, the foundation has learned that flexible funding and lighter reporting requirements are key to ensure maximum impact and better meet the needs of grantees. “I think providing unrestricted funding in a timely  manner is absolutely one of our fundamental principles of working with grassroots organizations,” Andy explains, “It is more impactful than increasing funding.”

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Meet Dedo


Dedo Baranshamaje is Burundian and saw first hand the impact the funding landscape has had on local vision. At SFF, he is the biggest advocate for local solutions driven by young Burundians with innovative ideas and deep ties to their communities. Dedo has been at the helm of the Social Impact Incubator since its inception. He was motivated to create a space that harnesses the creativity of local organizations and influences the funding paradigm to recognize the role that civil society should play in development.

If trust is there, then a donor can trust that the grantee is going to put the funding to its best use.

Dedo Baranshamaje, Segal Family Foundation