BIC Corporate Foundation, Moleskine Foundation award $5000 each to 13 African small organizations using creativity to catalyze social change
The Creativity Pioneers Fund gives grantees the courage and confidence to address big problems in their communities
The BIC Corporate Foundation and Moleskine Foundation have recently awarded USD5,000 grants to 13 small organizations in Africa that are using creativity to catalyze social change.
The grants are given out through The Creativity Pioneers Fund, which will provide more than USD 1.5 million over the next five years.
The Fund leaves the organization as the sole decision-maker on how to use the money and is a boon of opportunity, networking, and visibility for its recipients.
The Fund awarded grants to organizations spanning 18 countries this year. One-third of the organizations are led by women; 80 percent are less than ten years old with a staff size that is, on average, well below ten people and an annual budget under USD100,000.
They represent the diverse perspectives and experiences that the Fund wants to elevate. The grantees range from the Nigerian-based Street Project Foundation, which aims to facilitate opportunities for youth employment, social mobilization, and cross-cultural dialogue using creative arts as a tool; to the Kalaverse Initiative Record, which aims to empower marginalized communities, specifically African girls, in Africa through film and design as well as support the Ugandan contemporary and local design sector; to the Ghana-based Moongirls Live, an artistic activist organization that aims, through graphic novels, to encourage a richer conversation around women.
Alison James, Executive Director of the BIC Corporate Foundation, outlined the Fund’s ambition to build a support ecosystem that delivers tremendous value to the pioneers in addition to the initial micro-grants.
She said: “Our aim is to build a community of changemakers that are supported by a global network of peers, thought leaders, experts, and social impact professionals. This ecosystem of support is what differentiates the Creativity Pioneers Fund from traditional philanthropic funding sources.”
Adama Sanneh, CEO of Moleskine Foundation, said: “We are encouraging local organizations that are using creativity to address big challenges in their communities. We know that creatives are the ultimate agents of change – they will save the world. These are the underdogs in the world of philanthropy – and we want them to know that we’re in their corner.
Most creative people got to where they are because of a stroke of luck. Maybe they had a relative who mentored them, or they were born into a community with a well-funded school system. Our goal is to liberate creativity from the privileged because we know that creative problem-solving is critical to building healthy and resilient communities.”
According to Sanneh, the Fund prioritizes organizations that traditional philanthropies might deem too risky, or have no direct return on investment. Instead, he said the Fund invests “in the immeasurable je ne sais quois” that helps the underdogs succeed: courage, confidence, community, empathy, and human connection. “Not everything that is valuable is measurable,” says Sanneh.
Over 30 per cent of the 2022 grantees are clustered in Africa, representing countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt, Cameroon, and South Africa. Sunshine Cinema is Africa’s first solar-powered cinema network running mobile pop-up cinemas across rural Southern Africa that spark dialogue, educate, and inspire communities to action. Working out of Cameroon and Burkina-Faso, Jail Time Records is a cultural association implementing art programs in prison and promoting creative outlets to stimulate the seamless reentry of prisoners into society.
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