Browse Tag

non profit

2 mins read

Chess in Slums Africa: Empowering Futures, One Move at a Time

Founded by Chess Master Tunde Onakoya, Chess in Slums Africa aims to harness the transformative power of chess to overcome the challenges posed by poverty.

Onakoya, who himself experienced life in a Lagos slum, understands firsthand the potential of chess to bring about positive change.

Rising to become the 13th-ranked chess player in Nigeria despite facing adversity, Onakoya envisioned chess not merely as a game but as a tool for empowerment. In 2018, he established Chess in Slums Africa with a mission to leverage chess as a catalyst for education, mentorship, and opportunity in underprivileged communities.

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The organization conducts two-week intensive chess camps in slums such as Majidun, Makoko, and Oshodi. These camps not only introduce children to the intricacies of chess but also impart valuable life skills.

Participants learn critical thinking, problem-solving, strategic planning, discipline, and focus – skills that extend beyond the chessboard, empowering them to navigate the complexities of their circumstances and envision brighter futures.

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Chess in Slums Africa’s impact extends beyond the classroom, with a 3-year grant deal with Lufthansa Airlines Global The deal, according to Onakoya, will facilitate the development of a chess academy and STEM innovation lab in Lagos, Nigeria, that will be open and free to street children without access to education.

Chess in Slums Africa has also strategically partnered with, the world’s leading online chess platform to gain access to educational resources, online tournaments, and a global network of chess enthusiasts.

Through strategic partnerships, innovative initiatives, and a commitment to empowerment, Chess in Slums Africa continues to pave the way for a brighter future for children in underprivileged communities.

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3 mins read

Resilia, Software Provider For Nonprofits, Raises $35 Million

After nearly a decade of advising nonprofits and grantmakers of all sizes, Sevetri Wilson set her sights on using technology to transform the nonprofit sector.

In 2016, she launched Resilia, a software solution that enables nonprofits to increase capacity and funders to go beyond their grant allocations with technical assistance, coaching, and capacity-building support.

Resilia has over 15,000 nonprofit users and enterprise customers including Oxfam America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Goldman Sachs’s One Million Black Women Initiative, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the United States Tennis Association Foundation, and The Boston Foundation.

The company has experienced over 300% annual revenue growth while growing net revenue retention by greater than 150%.

On Thursday, the New Orleans and NYC-based company announced that it has closed $35M in a history-making series B round to further help nonprofits increase their day-to-day capacity and funders scale impact through resources that extend beyond just a monetary grant.

The round was co-led by Panoramic Ventures and Framework Venture Partners. Returning investors include Mucker Capital, Callais Capital, Cultivation Capital, Engage Ventures, SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund, Kimble Ventures, The Jump Fund, and Fearless Fund. New investors include Goldman Sachs Asset Management Fund, Chloe Capital, Gaingels, Mana Ventures, and others.

The latest funding will be used to scale Resilia’s technology platform and expand access to the sector by bringing more North American organizations into its ecosystem—and comes at a time when 86% of U.S. grantmakers provide capacity-building support to nonprofits through investments in areas such as leadership development, fundraising, evaluation and learning, communications, technology, collaboration, or DE&I.

Further, capacity-building assistance “beyond the grant” [such as Resilia’s platform] is a key pathway for funders seeking to support equity and justice efforts, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

“Our goal at Resilia has always been to provide nonprofits with access—something our team has worked tirelessly to do,” said Wilson in a recent press release. “This latest investment gets us closer to realizing our vision of democratizing philanthropy by reallocating power over its decision-making and resources as well as providing more seats at the table.”

While Black and Latina women founders received less than 1% of VC funding combined in 2021, Resilia’s latest capital raise marks another historic feat: it is the largest raise ever for a solo Black female-founded tech company, and also marks the largest VC raise of a female founder in the state of Louisiana.

Resilia first made history when it closed an $8M Series A in 2020, the highest venture capital raise by a woman-founded tech company in the state of Louisiana.

With close to $50M in venture capital to date, Resilia’s latest funding round marks the largest raise ever for a solo Black woman-founded tech company.

-Tony O. Lawson

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1 min read

Twin Brothers Create a Non Profit That Teaches Black Children How to Swim

According to the USA Swimming Foundation, 64% of African American children, 45% of Hispanic/Latino children, and 40% of Caucasian children have little to no swimming ability. The number is worse in low-income homes, where 79% of kids don’t know how.


Tankproof, is a non-profit that partners with swim schools to offer free lessons for underserved youth. Their goal is to provide access, equity, and opportunity through swimming lessons to make communities safer and even save lives.


Tankproof was founded in 2011 by Louisiana-based twins Thurman and Torrence Thomas. When Thurman was just 9 years old, he nearly drowned at a pool party. After that, his mom enrolled him and his brother in swimming lessons.

Tankproof founders, Thurman and Torrence Thomas

“We believe everyone should have this opportunity,” says Thurman. “Learning how to swim can actually save your life.”

Tankproof has served over 2,350 individuals nation-wide with multiple sites in Louisiana, as well as in Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, California. They plan on expanding to five more cities across the country this year.

Tony O. Lawson

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6 mins read

This nonprofit helps people find employment through Auto Repair

In a garage in East Point, GA, Larry Witherspoon Jr. is changing oil and lives. For six years, Witherspoon has been running the nonprofit Automotive Training Center on Sylvan Road, helping troubled youth find their path and a job in auto repair.

Automotive Training Center
Larry Witherspoon, center, founded the Automotive Training Center in East Point to train youth and those formally incarcerated in automotive mechanics and repair.

To date, he and center co-founder Shawn McHargue have trained 172 young people – some with prison records — in the basics of car maintenance at no cost to the students.

About 80% of the Automotive Training Center graduates are now working as auto mechanics, including 26-year-old Lana Mayard.

She completed the center’s eight-week training program last August, and within weeks, was snapped up by a major car manufacturer’s Marietta dealership, becoming its first female mechanic.

“It [ATC] turned my life around a whole lot,” said Mayard, who was formerly homeless. “I cry every time I talk about what I came from and where I am now.”

Automotive Training Center

Witherspoon came up with the idea for the training center in 2012, shortly after he moved into an inner-city neighborhood in Atlanta. He said he was struck by how many young men he met had either been in prison or were headed there and wanted to do something to help.

He’d grown up in a middle-class family in Cleveland, Ohio, attending private school. His father was a mentor to young men in an inner-city school and worked part-time at a juvenile detention center.

But the positive influences of school and family were not enough to keep young Witherspoon on track. He landed in legal trouble and narrowly missed going to prison as a young adult before deciding “to make a change to live a positive life.”

Automotive Training Center

For Witherspoon, that meant merging his two passions: the desire to help troubled young men and his lifelong love of cars.

Some students are referred to the center by the Fulton County Juvenile Court or state Department of Juvenile Justice. Others are sent by nonprofits with similar demographics, such as Hearts to Nourish Hope in Clayton County, Witherspoon said. Still others, such as Brandon Oates of College Park, stumble onto the center, which is No. 1 on Google searches for the keywords “automotive training Atlanta.”

“I was looking for a certificate or something that could help me get started in the automotive world,” said Oates, who just completed the program and is looking for work at area car dealerships.

He graduated from high school in 2012 and had bounced in and out of college, hoping to obtain a degree. But he ended up having to take a series of low-paying jobs to pay down his student loans, he said.

The training center is “really good for our community and the kids in our community — the kids who had been going through some troubles,” Oates said. “Without it, I’d still be working these dead-end jobs.”

The center has two programs – a four-week program for ages 15 to 25 on the basics of how vehicles work; and an eight-week program for ages 18 to 25 that teaches mastery of oil changes and some repairs, mostly through hands-on training.

Customers are aware that students will be working on their vehicles under close supervision from a certified mechanic, Witherspoon said.

The students aren’t paid during their training. But Witherspoon and McHargue make sure they have money, if needed, for gas, public transportation, and other essentials.

Mayard said the two men got her off the streets and into a motel while she went through the eight weeks of training.

“They’re very family-oriented,” she said, adding they gave her money to wash clothes and a daily wake-up call to make sure she made it to training on time.

“They are very, very helpful people,” Mayard said. “I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Once they complete their training, students receive help filling in job applications, writing résumés, and practicing their interviewing skills. They’re also given access to an ever-growing list of dealerships and independent repair shops that hire entry-level technicians.

It’s all part of Witherspoon’s goal of helping at-risk youth stay out of trouble and prison.

“Repairing lives and repairing cars makes me very, very happy,” he said.


Source: AJC

2 mins read

8 Tech Related Non Profits Focused on Black Youth

In this digital age, the importance of having tech related training and skills cannot be stressed enough. These amazing organizations are training and grooming the tech savvy leaders of tomorrow.

Tech Related Non Profits For Black Youth

Code2040 is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for underrepresented minorities with a specific focus on Blacks and Latino/as. Co-Founders: Laura Weidman Powers and Tristan Walker


Gameheads is an organization that trains low-income and first-generation students ages 15–24 in video game design and development to prepare them for careers in the entertainment and tech industries. Co-founder: Damon Packwood


Black Girls Code is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing technology education to African-American girls ages 7–17. Founder: Kimberly Bryant 


Coded by Kids is committed to providing free tech education, tech industry exposure and career mentorship to children who lack access to these opportunities. Founder: Sylvester Mobley


Telegraph Academy is a wearable computing learning platform that makes computer programming accessible and fun for young learners. C0Founder: Albrey Brown


#YesWeCode is a national initiative to help young women and men find success in the tech sector. Founder: Van Jones


Qeyno Labs is an inclusive innovation company committed to transforming children’s lives, their families, and community through the magic of play, empathy, and discovery. Founder: Kalimah Priforce


CodeNow is a nonprofit that encourages high school students from inner city neighborhoods to pick up coding skills. Founder: Neal Sáles-Griffin


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson


12 mins read

20 Young African Influencers in the Diaspora

It goes without saying but i’ll say it anyway – Continental African’s get our shine on wherever we go. In almost every industry, the bylines of the world’s emerging leaders are looking like a young continental African “Who’s Who”. Here’s a look at a group of young African influencers who deserve kudos and a slow clap for their accomplishments. We see you and we’re excited about what’s to come. It is never an easy process to become an influencer in any form. Social media influencers have become very popular in recent times and the goal of many young people. The secret could be that Social media influencers buy Instagram likes at Buzzoid.


Young African Influencers in the Diaspora

Rahiel Tesfamariam is a native of Eritrea who was raised in Washington D.C. She is a social activist, public theologian, writer and international speaker. She is the brains behind #NotOneDime a nationwide economic boycott launched in the aftermath of the Ferguson non-indictment decision. Rahiel is also the founder and publisher of Urban Cusp, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness.

Young African Influencers

Chef Rougui Dia, “The African Queen of Parisian Cuisine” was born in Paris to Senegalese parents. While serving as Executive Chef at Le 144, a restaurant affiliated with Paris’ posh art deco venue and restaurant, Petrossian, Dia became one of the most respected female chefs in France. She later presided over the kitchen at Le Vraymonde, an upscale restaurant located in Paris’ Buddha-Bar Hotel.


Angelica Nwandu is a Sundance Screenwriter Fellow and the creator of The Shade Room, the first blog to publish directly to Instagram. She was recently named one of Forbes 30 under 30. Since its start in early 2014, The Shade Room has grown into a lucrative enterprise. The site currently has four million followers and reportedly pulls in hundreds of thousands of followers each month.

Young African Influencers

Adewale “Wally” Adeyemoa is a Nigerian-American who grew up in Southern California. In December 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him as his Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs. In a statement released by the White House, President Obama remarked, “I will be calling on Wally’s intellect, judgment and dedication as we sustain America’s global economic leadership, which reinforces our national security, and as we work with allies and partners around the world to create jobs and opportunity for all our people.”

Young African Influencers

Luvvie Ajayi was born in Nigeria and moved to the U.S. when she was nine. She is the creator of Awesomely Luvvie, a popular entertainment and humor blog that covers everything pop culture. Last year, she was named a 2015 Black Innovator by XFINITY Comcast. With over a decade of experience, you could say that she’s an O.G. in the blogging game. Her first book, titled, I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do Better Manual, was released in September and quickly became a New York Times bestseller.

Young African Influencers

In January 2015, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Mamadou Samba to serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of African Affairs. Originally from Dakar, Mamadou is passionate about addressing the challenges faced by African immigrants in the District and nationwide. He has played a significant role in securing grants for African nonprofit organizations and highlighting issues impacting African-born residents in the United States.

Young African Influencers

Nina Oduro grew up in Ghana and moved to Virginia at the age of seven, She is the founder of, an online platform that connects organizations and professionals who are focused on Africa’s growth and development. Her company offers employment opportunities and career advancement resources. Nina is also the co-founder of Dine Diaspora, a lifestyle and events company that creates dynamic experiences around food, culture, and heritage.

Young African Influencers

A native of Rwanda, Jackson Mvunganyi is a Radio host and new media reporter at Voice of America. In 2007 VOA’s launched a youth-oriented talk show, Upront Africa. It became the first cross continental radio show reaching millions of students and young professionals around Africa and beyond. His more than 17,000 Twitter followers include President Obama.

Young African Influencers

Zim Ugochukwu is the Founder & CEO of Travel Noire, a digital platform that has become one of the most popular resources for Black travelers. She was recently listed on Forbes 2016 ’30 Under 30’ list as of the brightest young entrepreneurs. Thanks to Zim, it is now obvious to those that didn’t know – Black people love to get their travel on!

Young African Influencers

Rediate Tekeste is a first generation Ethiopian-American and founder of the Ethiopian Diaspora Fellowship (EDF). This Los Angeles-based fellowship program connects young Ethiopians in the diaspora with their home country and provides them with the opportunity to be part of the country’s development through practical work experience.

young african influencers

Samuel Bazawule, known by the stage name Blitz the Ambassador, is a Ghanaian-American hip-hop artist, composer, producer and visual artist based in Brooklyn. He was recently named TED Fellow, Blitz combines the political boldness of Public Enemy, and the groove sense of Fela Kuti. His label, Embassy MVMT, is proving that Hip Hop fans are tired of the same old radio playlists and are hungry for music that is more creative and thoughtful.


Mariéme Jamme is a Senegalese-born businesswoman based in the U.K. Her company, Spotone Global Solutions helps technology companies develop business in new markets such as Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Mariéme is also an international speaker and co-founder of Africa Gathering, the first global platform bringing together entrepreneurs and others to share ideas about development in Africa. She was named by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders for 2013.

Young African Influencers

Ugandan fashion model, Aamito Lagum, — a former Top Model winner, is more recently known for the controversy caused by racist comments about her lips that were posted on MAC cosmetics Instagram page. Aamito boldly took to the internet in defense of her beauty, and the beauty of other women with similar features. This prompted campaigns like #PrettyLipsPeriod (created by Dr. Yaba Blay and Thembisa Mshaka) where Black women around the world unapologetically celebrate their full lips.

young african influencers

Yinka Ilori is a U.K based designer. He is passionately against the unnecessary waste he has seen in European and West African consumer cultures. His craft and vision is collecting discarded furniture, and re-upholstering and designing into something new. Yinka is inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and African fabrics that surrounded him as child.


Folasade Adeoso is a New York-based, Nigerian-born, model and digital artist. She’s the chief editor and writer behind the lifestyle blog, LoveFola and the owner of the online boutique, “1953 | THE COLLECTIONS”. Folasade is known for her digital collages, which mix archival and contemporary images into Dalí-esque visions.

young african influencers

Chef Djibril Bodian is a second-generation baker of Senegalese origin. Last year he won first prize in the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris, a.k.a. The Best Baguette in Paris Competition. Chef Djibril also won the top prize five years ago. This prestigious award allowed him to be the only baguette supplier to French President Holland at the Elysées Palace. The fame and publicity didn’t hurt his pockets either. He can be found creating baked goodness at ‘Grenier à Pain’ in Montmartre.

young african influencers

Heben Nigatu was born in Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. when she was five. The Columbia grad is a senior editor at Buzzfeed and co-host of “Another Round”, Buzzfeed’s most successful podcast. Heben was recently ranked #17 on Forbe’s 30 Under 30 in media. The podcast, (an iTunes’ podcast top 100) gets hundreds of thousands of listeners a month and touches on topics that range from race and politics to pop culture and favorite alcoholic drinks.


Bouba Dola was born in Kinshasa, Congo. His family moved to the Netherlands when he was a child. He studied at HKU in Utrecht and has been working throughout the Netherlands, specifically between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. He focuses his creative energy on the infusion of digital art – drawings, music and videos. His collaboration with young Black Dutch hip hop artists has helped to jump start many of their careers. His sound is reminiscent of the Los Angeles music of Flying Lotus but with elements of ancient Kikongo vibrations and patterns. Currently, Bouba is working on his first cinematic work.


Saran Kaba Jones is a clean water advocate and social entrepreneur from Liberia. She is the founder of Face Africa, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that provides access to clean drinking water in Liberia’s rural communities, where running water and sewage infrastructure is often scarce. Face Africa was launched in 2009, and has provided clean water to thousands of rural Liberians. Saran was named by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders for 2013.


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson