WASHINGTON, DC - June 7, 2016 - Chairman John Webster Leslie, Jr. was sworn in as the U.S. African Development Foundation’s Chairman of the Board on Friday, June 3, 2016 at the U.S. Department of State by Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Mr. Leslie will continue to serve as Chairman, a position he has held since 2009, for a term expiring September 22, 2019. Mr. Leslie was confirmed in the Senate by unanimous consent on May 17, 2016.
Under Mr. Leslie’s leadership, USADF has expanded its reach to serving the most marginalized populations in Africa, including hard to reach areas such as Lake Turkana in Kenya and the Sahel region of West Africa. “As we commemorate USADF’s 35th anniversary year, I am proud to lead an agency that truly promotes innovative, African-led solutions to end poverty. Africa is on the move, and we are proud to play a small part of Africa’s growth story,” Mr. Leslie said. As USADF Chairman, Mr. Leslie continues to highlight how Africa is on the rise.
USADF remains charged to seek out and assist fragile and underserved groups such as – women and children, religious and ethnic minorities, the disabled, victims of war and violence or those living in such remote areas that they are often not reached by aid organizations or their own governments. Mr. Leslie’s visionary leadership and direction has ensured USADF creates pathways to prosperity for Africa’s most underserved communities. Today, including our small grants program, USADF operates in 30 African countries, providing funding for over 400 active projects, directly benefiting nearly 1.5 million people.
From 2003-2008, Mr. Leslie served as a member and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. He was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the USADF. He is Chairman of Weber Shandwick, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, Chairman of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, former Chairman of the Board of USA for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Duke Global Health Institute and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The U.S. African Development Foundation is a small but effective tool in the U.S. Government’s Foreign Assistance toolkit. USADF supports African-led development that grows community enterprises by providing seed capital and local technical support. USADF is on the frontier of development as one of the only U.S. Agencies directly funding African-led and managed enterprises by marginalized groups, such as smallholder farmers, ethnic and religious minorities, persons with disabilities and youth. The Agency awards small grants for technical assistance and capacity building to grassroots organizations, cooperatives and enterprises that strengthens local institutions and achieves lasting impact. For more information, visit www.usadf.gov or follow us on Twitter.