Firelight Foundation: Grants for Global Health

OVERVIEW: Firelight offers smaller global health grants to community-based organizations that address HIV/AIDS in regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

IP TAKE: Firelight accepts solicited and unsolicited grant proposals from relatively unknown, rarely funded, grassroots organizations, and provides them with support for up to seven years.

PROFILE: Based in Santa Cruz, California, the Firelight Foundation believes in the "power of African communities to create lasting change for children and families affected by poverty, HIV, and AIDS." It identifies, supports, and seeks to strengthen community-based organizations that address the health, education, and resilience of African children. In contrast from other foundations investing in Africa, which tend to fund established NGOs, Firelight often prioritizes funding grassroots groups in Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Firelight also awards grants to community-based groups in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. 

Firelight takes a broad approach toward philanthropy.  It invests in a variety of areas including nutrition and education. While it's global health strategy remains less clear, Firelight prioritizes preventive care and treatment for HIV/AIDS. 

Firelight is not transparent about its grantees awards: while tax filings reveal specific amounts, it does not list specific grantees except that they are located in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the anonymity it gives to its grantees in IRS filings, Firelight helpfully highlights some of its projects on its website. Firelight funds dozens of projects every year. Its grants range from a few thousand to a few tens of thousands of dollars. 

To apply for funding, complete a brief questionnaire on eligibility. As of this post, Firelight is not actively soliciting proposals but, as noted above, the foundation does accept unsolicited requests for certain countries. Additionally, Firelight has a weekly "Newsflash" for grantseekers in which it details recent operational developments and when it opens its grant application process. 

PEOPLE:

  • Nina Blackwell, Executive Director
  • Joshua Kyallo, Managing Director

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