American Institute for African Development (AIAD), a private operating and grant making foundation, aims
to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. On a local
level, AIAD implements a range of initiatives to support the rule of law, education, public health, and independent media.
At the same time, AIAD works to build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as combating corruption
and rights abuses.
We hire people with deep knowledge of the issues to staff our grantmaking program teams. We also seek different
views from people beyond our own staff, including academics, businesses, scientists, local organizations, and other philanthropists.
We’re interested in what has worked and what has failed. As we consider the best approach, we look for ways to complement
other efforts and engage with partners. We’re also creating advisory boards in each of our program areas to
give us candid advice and help us increase our impact.
Julius Mwale, Co-chair
Kaila Mwale, Co-chair
Fiona Graham M.D., Director Health Initiatives
Our program officers start by asking key questions: Given the strategy we’ve chosen, who are the right
partners? What organizations are best suited for the work? How much money is required? How will we measure the effectiveness
of the effort? Who can most successfully manage the grant? Who is best qualified to evaluate it?
Once they’ve answered these questions, program officers recommend particular grants. The program presidents
have significant authority to make grants that are in line with a previously approved strategy. Especially large grants must
be approved by the president, and the very largest by Kaila and Julius.
Most of our grantmaking goes to large intermediary partners—organizations that in turn provide funding
and support to those doing the work in the field. This lets us take advantage of expertise that others already have, and it
builds up expertise among people in the field rather than simply on our staff. In our South African Program, for example,
we make grants to bursary management organizations, which use the funds to support groups and students that are going
to become leaders for tomorrow.