Advisory Board Member, Mohamadou Sy

Philanthropy, in its simplest form, is the act of using one’s resources for the benefit of others. And while we may now have a more expanded definition of the term which is more institutional in implementation, it is humbling to encounter a reminder of the simple definition through the stories of others.

Advisory board member - Mohamadou Sy

Mohamadou Sy is an author, contributor to the 2014 publication titled “Giving to Help, Helping to Give” and the Founder of Institut Supérieur de Développement Local (ISDL), which is a private education institution based in Senegal that provides higher education programmes in the fields of community development, project management and environmental development to students in French West Africa. Since 2005, ISDL has been building the knowledge and skills of community workers and young people who seek to carve a career path alternative to commerce-related fields.
The seeds for ISDL were sown many years before its inception, in rural North Senegal where Mohamadou grew up in a small but nurturing community. Having a real life understanding of the needs of his community and how education can greatly improve the lives of young people who come from there, he set out towards his ambition of becoming a teacher and returning to the community that influenced his way of life, by building a learning institution that would benefit them. This entrepreneurial ambition became a reality, and like many such ventures, was met with challenges related to growth and sustainability, that have been overcome through the years. Today, ISDL is a respected voice that has increased the appeal of non-commercial studies such as Community Development and Environmental Management among prospective learners.

There are similarities between the stories of ISDL and the Centre on African Philanthropy and Social Investment (CAPSI). When considering CAPSI’s vision and mission, Mohamadou is excited to be part of a pan African institution that brings students, researchers and lecturers together beyond the limitations of language and location. He says, “Being part of the advisory board is a great opportunity for me to make a difference in how CAPSI grows to be truly and inclusively African by reaching Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone regions.”

In looking to the future, Mohamadou uses the massive strides that CAPSI has made since its inception, as hope for what is possible. “I see CAPSI becoming a leading African platform that facilitates research and dialogue on issues related to resource mobilisation, social development and philanthropy all in a manner which is inclusive of language and location”, he says. In closing, Mohamadou reflects by remarking, “As the saying goes, Rome was not built in one day, and so we must build CAPSI step by step. I’m grateful to everyone who has walked the journey with CAPSI to date for what they are doing as pioneers. I think that in paving the way for the new generations of scholars, we can continue to write our own history and story about philanthropy.”

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The Charles mott foundation

An automotive pioneer, philanthropist, and leader in the community, Charles Stewart Mott cared about innovation, fairness, and communities. By working toward a world where each individual’s quality of life is connected to the well-being of the community, both locally and globally, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation continues this legacy.

A founding funder of the Centre, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation supported the establishment of the Chair and continues to support our programmes.

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