My name is Colin Higgins and as of January 1st, 2016, I will become the Chair of the Board of Directors for Asante Africa Foundation. I have been on the board since 2007 and have served on both the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee for much of my tenure.
I first met Erna Grasz, our founder, eight years ago. I was introduced to her through a close personal friend who had spent time in Africa with the Peace Corps and had just become the Program Director at this new non-profit organization, Asante Africa Foundation. At the time, I had never donated much in terms of time or money to any organization other than my alma mater and children’s school. But I was fortunate enough to be at a place in my life that I was capable of giving more of both. I knew I wanted to give back; I just didn’t know how, or to what organization or in what capacity.
There are so many worthwhile non-profit causes to support, but I knew that I wanted my effort to benefit as many individuals as possible as well as be sustainable. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. My wife is an educator and supporting education has always been important to us. In meeting Erna and joining Asante Africa Foundation, I was given an opportunity to fulfill my desire to contribute in some small way and make the world a better place.
After visiting Kenya and Tanzania last summer, I saw firsthand how vital Asante Africa Foundation is and how much we have achieved in such a short amount of time. Our programs continue to gain momentum and expand in their reach despite limited resources. Through education and leadership training, we are developing the next generation of leaders and Asante Africa Foundation is making a difference. It is not solely due to the commitment of its staff and donors here in the U.S. but is largely due to the people in East Africa, who have embraced this organization and are committed to building better futures for themselves and their communities.
For me, I want Asante Africa Foundation to be a part of my legacy and I want to ensure that it continues to remain a passionate and relevant cause for everyone that is involved. Most importantly, the work needs to expand in scope and scale so that we continue to make a more meaningful impact in the regions we serve.
When I reflect back to my early days on the board it is mind-blowing to see the growth and progress that has been achieved. I am extremely proud of the contribution we have made to the development of Asante Africa Foundation’s organizational structure, strategic focus and vision. Our vision is to impact the lives of more than 1 million individuals in Africa by the year 2020. We are well on our way, but there is a tremendous amount of work that remains ahead. As Board Chair, it will be my priority to ensure that Asante Africa Foundation is a focused and sustainable entity that delivers on this mission, long after the current board and staff are gone. If successful, the work of Asante Africa Foundation will benefit many future generations to come.
We are all looking forward to the journey, and hope that you will join us along the way.
Chair-Elect, Asante Africa Foundation