Jackie Copeland-Carson

Jacqueline Copeland-Carson, Ph.D. is the USA executive director of the African Women’s Development Fund USA.  An anthropologist and urban planner, she has worked as a philanthropy scholar and practitioner for almost 30 years in Africa, Brazil, India, the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States. She has been an executive, grantmaker, evaluator, strategist and researcher for numerous foundations, including the TY Danjuma, Philadelphia Foundation, Noyes, Women’s Funding Network, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Institute forthe Future, Bertelsmann, U.S. Bank Private Client Group and many others.

Dr. Copeland-Carson’s influential writings examine issues in globalization, diasporas social theory, evaluation, diaspora studies, women’s leadership, and development.   Also a philanthropy blogger for The Huffington Post, her influential publications include Pan-Africanizing Philanthropy (co-edited by Mojúbàolú Olufunke Okome and Olufemi Vaughan, Palgrave 2011), Kenyan Diaspora Philanthropy (TPI/Harvard University 2007), Promoting Diversity in Contemporary Black Philanthropy (Indiana University 2004), Creating Evaluation Anthropology (with Mary O. Butler; Wiley & Sons/NAPA 2005), and Creating Africa in America (University of Pennsylvania 2004).

In 1998, she was a recipient of the Bush Foundation’s prestigious Leadership Fellowship for her contributions as an activist scholar. As a volunteer, she has been on the boards of more than 20 nonprofit organizations, and in 2003 founded the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet), a growing 400-member diaspora philanthropy community.

Dr. Copeland-Carson holds two master’s degrees, one in urban planning and the other in cultural anthropology, with a doctorate in anthropology (African/African diaspora and South Asian concentrations), all from the University of Pennsylvania. Her undergraduate degrees are from Georgetown University in literature, with a certificate in African studies from its School for Foreign Service.


Deborah Richardson

Deborah Richardson is the Executive Vice President of the Center for Civil & Human Rghts.  Prior to joining the Center staff she was Chief Program Officer at Women’s Funding Network in San Francisco. A native Atlantan, Deborah was the CEO of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF);Director of Program Development for Fulton County Juvenile Court; founding Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Fund and Managing Director of the National Black Arts Festival.

Deborah has been recognized over the years for her community service.  She has been given many distinctions such as: The Community Leadership Award by Spelman College Board of Trustees, The Legacy Award by the Juvenile Justice Fund, The Grassroots Justice Award by the Georgia Justice Project, a Woman of Excellence by Business to Business Magazine, Ember Award by Campfire USA, inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, the Atlanta Business League 100 Black Women of Influence and the Liberty Bell Award by the Atlanta Bar Association.  She is an alumnus of Leadership Atlanta, the Regional Leadership Institute and a recipient of a Harvard Business Club of Atlanta Executive Education Scholarship.  She is on the Sister Scholars Advisory Council of the Delta and on the D5 Executive Committee, a coalition among funders to increase equity and diversity in philanthropy.

Deborah is a nationally recognized leader on social justice for women and girls and an advocate against child sex trafficking.  She has designed leading programs for girls victimized by commercial sexual exploitation and is the co-author of “Ending Sex Trafficking of Children in Atlanta” (Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, Spring 2007).  In 2010 Deborah testified during the “Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking” hearing of the U. S. Congress Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. She is a national spokesperson for A Future, Not a Past, a campaign to stop the prostitution of children and a frequent contributor to Huffington Post.




Connie E. Evans

Connie E. Evans is the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the national trade association for microenterprise representing nearly 400 practitioners and advocates in the US. Evans is a visionary leader, astute strategist, activist, and social entrepreneur who has founded three organizations. In 1986 she was the founding president of the award-winning Women’s Self-Employment Project, the first and largest urban microenterprise development organization in the U.S and the first adaptation of the Grameen Bank model to a U.S. urban setting.

Evans also pioneered one of the first matched-savings program — Individual Development Accounts — in the country. In 2000 she founded WSEP Ventures, a social enterprise-hybrid organization developed to serve as a catalyst for social change, economic development and community empowerment. In 2007, Evans founded CSolutions Consulting, an advisory boutique specializing in solutions that address social change. An international development consultant, with over 25 years experience, she has been recognized and utilized by such groups as the World Bank, the Clinton Administration, a host of local government, private and independent sector organizations. With international experience spanning 43 countries, Evans draws on her expertise in developing and implementing strategies to further economic development, health and social change in communities.

Evans started her career in community mental health as a master-level psychologist. Her commitment to improving the health and life options for disadvantaged women and their families moved her to “harness the marketplace” for solutions. As the Assistant Director of a Hull House Association affiliate in Chicago, Evans became the Project Director for the first resident managed public housing site in the city. She helped low-income women to organize, develop leadership skills, and learn business to take control over a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Evans has lectured in universities throughout the United States and is a frequent panelist and key note speaker at conferences around the globe. She has many distinguished awards. A sampling includes being named the Inaugural Twink Frey Social Activist in 2006; the 1996 Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine; the first Teknion Humanitarian Award in 1999; Gloria Steinem Woman of Vision Award; 1998 Community Leader of the Year presented by the African American MBA Association at the University of Chicago; and the Chicago Community Service Fellowship Award by the Chicago Community Trust.

Evans’ broad experiences across the worlds of business and finance compliments her skills in development finance. She served two elected terms on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago…the first African American woman to hold such a position and was appointed to the CDFI Advisory Board, a fund in the Department of the Treasury, by President Clinton. Evans was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. She also served as a member of the U. S. Delegation to Preparatory Meetings for the Summit of the Americas, the U. S. Delegation to Preparatory Meetings for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and again for Beijing Plus Five having been appointed to each by President Clinton.

A strong advocate of good governance in nonprofits, Evans has nearly 20 years of service on philanthropic foundation boards, and serves on a number of national and international boards.

Dorothy Davis

Dorothy Davis is the President of The Diasporan Touch LLC, which she founded in 2002. The New York City-based international consulting firm creates strategic partnerships in support of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals across sectors and geographic regions to promote economic development and entrepreneurship; particularly among women, the global diasporan communities and through South-South Cooperation.

Clients of The Diasporan Touch include the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation at UNDP, UNIFEM, UN-OHRLLS, IFAD, WHO, UNECA, the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, the African Women’s Development Fund, Femmes Africa Solidarite, the Ford Foundation, Lincoln University, the Sports Foundation.

Ms. Davis initiated and managed the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP’s) Special Unit for South-South Cooperation’s partnership with the State of Louisiana as the “Gateway to the Americas for the Creative Economy platform of the Global South” for its South-South Global Asset and Technology Exchange (SS-GATE), based in Shanghai. As UNDP’s Global Advisor for the Creative Economy to Louisiana for the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, Ms. Davis was able to facilitate New Orleans becoming the only American city featured at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 in the Creative Economy Corridor at the UN’s Pavilion. The Expo drew 70 million visitors from around the world.

She also served as UNIFEM’s first Campaign Manager for the Africawide Campaign to end Violence Against Women (Africa-UNiTE): the Africa regional component of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s global Unite to end Violence Against Women campaign through January 2010. In addition, Ms. Davis served on the Corporate Council on Africa’s Tourism Committee that provided recommendations regarding tourism in Africa to the Obama Administration in March 2009.

Ms. Davis was born in Liberia of U.S. Foreign Service parents who were among the team that opened the first U.S. Embassy in sub-Saharan Africa and were pioneers of President Harry Truman’s Point 4 Program for foreign aid, the forerunner of the present-day United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She was raised in Nigeria, Tunisia, Switzerland and the United States. With a Caribbean heritage that includes Jamaica, Haiti, Cayman Islands, Cuba and Barbados, Ms. Davis brings a unique diasporan perspective to her work.

Ms. Davis has worked directly with the United Nations system since she was first hired in 1999 to develop and manage the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Programme featuring actor and humanitarian Danny Glover, Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer of South Africa, actress Misako Konno of Japan, soccer legends Ronaldo of Brazil and Zinedine Zidane of Algeria and first Youth Emissary basketball player Dikembe Mutombo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It became a model program for all UN agencies at that time.

Prior to her work with the United Nations, Ms. Davis served as the Director of the first Office of Public Affairs of the Africa America Institute in New York City and staff liaison to its prestigious Board of Trustees.

As the first African American Advertising Sales Representative for FORTUNE magazine, she was responsible for paving the way for FORTUNE’s growth into the international arena.

Ms. Davis has a Master’s degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University after having attended College du Leman in Versoix, Switzerland. She was a member of the International Steering Committee of the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, Peace and Security held in Liberia in March 2009 and served as chair of the Logistics Committee for the Americas Committee of that group. She is a founding member and Chair of the Communication Committee of the Board of Directors of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund (SMWF). She is also founding member of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF)-USA Board. In 2005, she opened the first U.S. office of Femmes Africa Solidarite in New York City. She is a licensed real estate representative specializing in the international community and member of The World Trade Center of New Orleans.


Kavita N. Ramdas

Kavita N. Ramdas served as President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women from 1996 to September 2010. Kavita currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Global Fund for Women. This fall she was appointed Visiting Scholar and Fellow to Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS). She also Chairs the Expert Working Group of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health of the Aspen Institute. Prior to the Global Fund, she served with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation leading programs in Economic Development, Reproductive Health, and Population.

She is the recipient of numerous philanthropic and leadership awards and is a respected and prolific commentator, writer, and speaker on issues related to human rights, development, environment and population, gender equality and justice, and philanthropy. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the

Susan Davis

President & CEO, BRAC USA – Ms. Davis is a thought leader in international development and civil society innovation. She is a founder and current President & CEO of BRAC USA, a newly created organization to support BRAC’s global expansion to Africa and other countries in Asia. In addition, she was a founding board member and Chair of the Grameen Foundation and is a current board member.

She serves on Ashoka’s international board committee that selects Ashoka Fellows. She is also Senior Advisor to New York University’s Reynolds Program on Social Entrepreneurship. Previously, she led Ashoka’s Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship, co-founded the University Network for Social Entrepreneurship and oversaw Ashoka’s expansion to the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. In addition she served as a Senior Advisor to the Director General of the International Labor Organization. Prior to that, she led the global advocacy group, Women’s Environment & Development Organization.

She has extensive micro-credit experience from her years with the Ford Foundation in Bangladesh and from her work with Women’s World Banking. She also served as a funder and volunteer representative to start Ashoka Bangladesh. Earlier, she was the Assistant Director of the export trading company of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. She serves on numerous other boards including Project Enterprise and the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund. She is on Mary Robinson’s Advisory Council of Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was educated at Georgetown, Harvard and Oxford universities.


Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Ms Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, wife of the Ekiti State Governor, was born in Liverpool, England on June 11th 1963. She attended Abeokuta Girls Grammar School (1973-1978) and Methodist Girls High School Lagos for A’ Levels (1978-1980). She has a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria. She also received an MA in Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK. With an academic background in History, Cultural Anthropology and Gender studies, she has acquired professional experience as a social change philanthropist, social entrepreneur, journalist, facilitator, trainer, and organizational development specialist.

During her years in the UK, Mrs Fayemi worked in the Department of Health and Social Services, and then became the Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women based in London, UK, with an Africa regional office in Kampala, Uganda, from 1991-2001. While she was the Director of AMwA, she established the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), a training and networking forum for young African women. The leadership institute she developed has become such a powerful legacy that today, the AWLI has trained over 5,000 women across Africa, and most of these women are now in senior decision making positions as Ministers, MPs, academics, civil society leaders, and employees of international organizations.

In 2000, Mrs Fayemi co-founded the African Women’s Development Fund, (AWDF), the first Africa-wide grant-making fund, which supports the work of organisations promoting women’s rights in Africa. Since it began grant making in 2001, AWDF has supported over 800 women’s organisations in 42 African countries with over U$16m in grants. AWDF has played a key role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa, through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements and movement building for social justice.

Mrs Fayemi has been Co-Chair International Network of Women’s Funds (2004-2006), Honorary President, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) (2003-2005) and Trustee, Comic Relief (UK. She has also served as a resource person to UN agencies such as UNIFEM, UNDP, UN/ECA (Addis Ababa) and several other regional and international bodies. She is currently an Adviser to Global Fund for Women (USA), an Editorial Board Member of Alliance Magazine (UK), a board member of Resource Alliance (UK), an Advisory Board member of Realising Rights – The Ethical Globalisation Initiative, a member of the African Feminist Forum Working Group, a board member of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, a board member of the Women’s Funding Network (USA), and Co-Chair of the newly established African Grantmakers Network. A talented writer, Mrs Fayemi is also a Contributing Editor for The News magazine, Nigeria.

Mrs Fayemi is a leading voice not only in the African women’s movement and civil society, but in the global women’s movement as well. She has also become a key figure in the world of philanthropy, particularly in the global South. She is in very high demand across the world as a resource person, strategist, guest speaker, trainer, events host and process manager.

In 2006, she received the Distinguished Alumni award from the Faculty of Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as well as an Achievers Award given by the African International Media Summit (2006) for promoting a positive image of Africa. She is a 2007 recipient of the prestigious `Changing the face of Philanthropy’ award from the Women’s Funding Network, USA, a Synergos Senior Fellow, as well as the 2000/2001 holder of the Dame Nita Barrow Distinguished Visitorship at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) University of Toronto. She also holds the honorary chieftaincy title of ‘Ochiorah’ (People’s Leader) of Imezi Owa, Ezeagwu Local Government, Enugu State, Nigeria, in recognition of her support for women in that community. In April 2009, Mrs Fayemi was named by New Africa Magazine as one of the 20 most influential African women on the continent. In March 2011, Women Deliver also listed her among the leading 100 personalities advancing the cause of women and girls around the world.


Abena P. A. Busia

Abena P. A. Busia The current Director of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) and in-coming Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Literatures in English, and Comparative Literature, and the Associate Director of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at New Brunswick, where she has taught since 1981. Born in Accra, Ghana, she spent the first years of her childhood at home, as well as in Holland and Mexico, before her family finally settled in Oxford, England, where she read for a BA in English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford, in 1976, and a DPhil in Social Anthropology (Race Relations) at St Antony’s College in 1984. She lectures and publishes widely on the African Diaspora literature and culture, and curriculum transformation for race and gender.

She is co-editor, with Stanlie James, of Theorizing Black Feminisms: The Visionary Pragmatism of Black Women, and of Beyond Survival: African Literature & the Search for New Life the publication from the proceedings of the 1994 African Literature Association Conference, with Kofi Anyidoho and Anne Adams. She co-directed, and co-edited with Tuzyline Jita Allan, and Florence Howe of the Feminist Press the two decades long Women Writing Africa continent-wide publishing project of cultural reconstruction whose four regional volumes were published between 2003 and 2009. She has published two volumes of poems, Testimonies of Exile published by Africa World Press, Trenton NJ, in 1990, and Traces of a Life, published by Ayebia Books, London, in 2008. Her poetry has also been published in various magazines and anthologies in West Africa, North America and Europe.

As an institution builder she is a Founder of the Busia Foundation and Busia Foundation International, the International Cultural Exchange Center, the founding Program Committee Chair of the African Women’s Development Fund and Secretary to AWDF-USA, at her university one of the founding board members of both The Center for Women’s Global Leadership and the Center for African Studies.