The Funders Who Don't Want the Rwandan Genocide to be Forgotten

The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre marked its 10th anniversary back in April, and one milestone to celebrate was a major grant from the Annenberg Foundation to the Aegis Trust, which runs the memorial on behalf of Rwanda’s National Commission For The Fight Against Genocide.

The $500,000 grant for the next 15 months was awarded to support the memorial’s operations, which serves to remember the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. This grant wasn’t the Annenberg Foundation’s first to support the memorial. Back in 2008, they also granted Aegis $500,000, which was followed up by gifts of $250,000, $50,000, and $100,000 in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Other supporters in the past have included the William J. Clinton Foundation, as well as the Governments of Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium and United Kingdom, specifically the UK Department for International Development. The Kigali Centre lists all of these groups as part of the original funders who helped raise the $2 million to establish the memorial.

The Cummings Foundation, founded by Commercial Real Estate mogul Bill Cummings and his wife Joyce, also provided a grant this year to the Kigali Memorial via the Cummings-funded Institute for World Justice. The dollar amount of the grant to the Kigali Memorial, however, is not readily available on either the Cummings Foundation or the Kigali Memorial's websites.

The Institute for World Justice also provided funding to several other projects in Rwanda in addition to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, including the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, which provides professional development to orphans of the genocide, and the Butaro and Rwinkwavu Hospitals. IWJ clearly has a particular focus on genocide, as other grantees included United to End Genocide, the United States Holocaust Memorial museum in Washington D.C., and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial is built on the burial site of 250,000 people, and serves as “a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and serves as a place for people to grieve for those they lost.” With the backing of major funders like the Cummings and Annenberg Foundations, it’ll likely continue to provide a space for memorialization, education, and discussion of genocide prevention for decades to come.