Grassroots Forward
The Goal
Unite Grassroots Leaders & Philanthropists to Increase Access to Resources & Accelerate Social Impact.

There is ample evidence that the best solutions to challenges in the developing world are being designed by innovators and entrepreneurs that live within those communities.  However, the majority of funding is still being directed to only a select few of the major international non-governmental organizations. Decisions around funding are still, for the most part, being made behind closed doors with an alarming lack of transparency and diversity. Finally, when funding does reach the grassroots level, it is most often directed towards internationally-designed, locally-implemented projects.  We believe it is time to change the humanitarian ecosystem and drive grassroots forward.  

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Drive more funding to local
efforts working to achieve the
2030 Sustainable Development Goals

What We Do
We collaborate with cross-sector partners to highlight effective grassroots organizations,  
engage diaspora and youth, diversify philanthropy and innovation, and grant funds to locally driven solutions to poverty, and social impact entreprenuership.


  • Build Capacity of Grassroots Organizations: locally led, long term training programs and increased access to funding.

  • Diversify Philanthropy: Create opportunities to unite diaspora and locally led initiatives with investors and philanthropists from across the globe and engage grassroots leaders in writing the agenda and making decisions around funding

  • Invest in Future Leaders of Africa: Provide at least $1 million in funding to grassroots innovators and leaders working to alleviate global poverty

Major Activities

  • African Diaspora Investment Symposium in California
  • East and Southern Africa Grassroots Regional Peer Workshops
  • Highlight Grassroots 4ward goal at relevant conferences
  • Diversify philanthropic funding decision makers
  • Measure social impact across grassroots partners
  • Increase grassroots' representation at social impact convenings.

"We are delighted to be part of the core team leading this critical movement forward.  The humanitarian ecosystem must evolve to be relevant and effective in today's world. I believe that together, we can start to drive more funds to effective local changemakers around the world." 
- Stephanie Heckman  
former Executive Director, One World Children's Fund  
Who We Are 
Co-Founders, Obed Kabanda and Stephanie Heckman have more than 20 + years of combined experience in their respective fields: grantmaking, fundraising, capacity building training, building communities, and measuring and evaluating impact.  We have also identified more than 15 grassroots organizations across Southern and Eastern Africa. They are trusted, vetted, and established partners of the lead organizations.  Together, the partners who form this collaborative have more than 45 years combined experience in grassroots philanthropy, grassroots capacity building, social impact work, and metrics and evaluation.

Lead Organizations

If you are a philanthropist interested in learning more about this exciting and effective collaborative, please contact us today and join us as we move Grassroots 4ward.

See below for the list of grassroots partners we are working with to push grassroots forward. If you are a organization leader, or if you are part of a network that believes more funding needs to be reach the grassroots level and philanthropy needs to embrace diversity, please join us as we move Grassroots Forward.


About Us
Stephanie Heckman was the founding Executive Director for One World Children’s Fund (2011 to 2017). One World is a global non-profit, headquartered in San Francisco, CA.  One World’s mission is to unite People to Help Grassroots Efforts Improving Children's Lives in Communities Worldwide. One World’s primary activities are to improve the lives of those living in poverty through our support of grassroots organizations. One World supports grassroots organizations through providing fiscal sponsorship, fundraising training, and funds to effective grassroots organizations around the world. During her tenure, Stephanie raised and distributed more than $7 million in funds for 75+ grassroots organizations in more than 25 countries. During which she vetted, measured, and highlighted social impact at the grassroots level. 

African Diaspora Network is is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that offers Africans and friends of Africa the opportunity to enhance their impact on the continent and grow professionally and personally. ADN promotes dialogue and action on social and economic development issues in Africa; we foster collaboration between individuals and groups interested in Africa's future in order to benefit indigenous Africans around the world. By sharing knowledge and forming partnerships ADN harnesses the intellectual, financial, philanthropic, and entrepreneurial capacity of Africans and friends of Africa for the greater good of the continent.

ACODEV is a leading community organization and one of the only locally grown capacity building organizations across the continent. The mission is to serve and empower communities in the East and Southern Africa region through promotion of innovative solutions in the areas of Human Rights promotion, Health Promotion and Institutional Capacity Strengthening.

Almaz Negash, Founder & CEO, African Diaspora Network (USA)
Obed Kabanda, Founder & CEO, Action for Community Development (Uganda)
Stephanie Heckman, Executive Director, One World Children's Fund (USA)
Humphrey Nabimanya, Founder & CEO, Reach A Hand Uganda 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send us a message.