Africa Grantmakers Blog

promoting increased & more effective funding in Africa


Steering Committee

Rohit Berman, MAC AIDS Fund

Raoul Davion, MacArthur Foundation

Andrea Gay, United Nations Foundation

Shira Gitomer, Geneva Global

Sarah Hobson, New Field Foundation

Andrea Johnson, Carnegie Corporation of New York

William Moses, Kresge Foundation

Vuyiswa Sidzumo, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation


Executive Director- Niamani Mutima

Niamani Mutima joined AGAG in 2001 after twenty years of working on African socio-economic development issues. As the first staff member, she has been the guiding force behind the growth and development of this dynamic network of Africa grantmakers. Charged with "growing the idea" of how a community of funders can work together to promote increased and more effective funding in Africa, Niamani has guided its evolution in partnership with the Africa grantmaking community.

Before joining AGAG, Niamani worked with public and private organizations in the US and in African countries on a range of development issues. Central to her work has been a committment to connecting people and ideas and a belief in the power of  strategic alliances. She worked with the African-American Institute (AAI) for over 17 years. During that time she traveled extensively to and within Africa, organizing conferences to bring together professionals from different countries working in similar areas to share with and learn from each other. 

Niamani has conceptualized, designed, and implemented over 100 meetings, conferences, and workshops on aspects of African socio-economic development.  Known for her communications skills, she has facilitated meetings on a range of development topics including women and development, education and training, health, strengthening NGOs, agriculture, and leadership development.

As the Director of Services to the Field for the USAID African Training for Leadership and Advanced Skills (ATLAS) Project, Niamani supervised staff and contractors based in the U. S. and in Africa. She negotiated contracts, conceptualized and managed projects, monitored results, and ensured adherence to policy guidelines.

Her work with the ATLAS project included promoting networks among government and civil society leaders trained in the U. S. under USAID training programs. She managed a grants programs for Africa-based organizations and designed and implemented leadership development training workshop for NGOs and conducted in-country training needs assessments and designed and delivered leadership and management training modules.

Niamani is a graduate of Princeton University in Anthropology and African-American Studies.  She is a contributing editor of BLACK MASKS, a national theater journal. She is a writer, poet, and produced playwright.

Communications & Program Manager – Talaya Grimes

Talaya Grimes joined AGAG in 2008. She has worked in a variety positions in media, education/culture, and international development for non-profits/NGOs, educational/cultural institutions, and television. Her expertise includes project, event and media production, public relations, fundraising, and grants management.

As consultant to the Africa-America Institute she produced videos of U. S. and Africa-based meetings and coordinated conferences in Windhoek, Namibia on Sustainable Agriculture and in Lusaka, Zambia on HIV/AIDS. She also coordinated the forum on “The Bush Administration and Africa” held in Washington, DC and aired on C-Span.

She served as Director of Communications and Development for the Humanities Council of Washington, DC (a council of National Endowment of the Humanities) where she raised funds, coordinated programs, produced local Council public TV programs, and handled public relations and marketing.

Talaya’s work in video and television production includes documentary, reality television, interactive training and non-profit video. Her clients included National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian Networks, PBS, and independent filmmakers.

Talaya earned a B.A. from University of Maryland in Government & Politics and M.A. in Media Studies from The New School of Social Research (The New School University). She is former Board Member of Women in Film International and Women in Film and Video of Washington, DC and continues to advocate for women and professionals in media, arts, culture, and entertainment.


   Copyright 2014 Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group, a project of the Tides Center