Stephanie de Wolfe is a committed advocate of grassroots change. de Wolfe grew up moving across the continent and at a young age she became interested in social inequality and community-led development. She has led and worked on several wide-ranging campaigns and initiatives focused on inclusion and advocacy of marginalized groups. As a grant-maker for almost three years at the Global Fund for Children, she worked with community-based organizations across Africa in addition to managing the foundation's digital media projects.
de Wolfe studied Political and Social Thought and African-American and African studies at the University of Virginia, with a minor in public health. While in University, de Wolfe contributed to a dedicated initiative that established the University of Virginia's first African studies academic program and promoted African studies on campus and in the curriculum. She served on the Organization of African Students Executive Board for three years. An avid supporter of film as a powerful medium for understanding, she founded the Human Rights Film Festival at the University of Virginia, which continues annually. She also co-led the University's KIVA chapter.
In Her Own Words
Why AiD? Why Africa?
Why AiD? Because I believe that transformational change is possible without engaging narratives of powerlessness or profit margin. We need to be bold in our vision of the future of development in Africa. AiD upholds the humanity and value of those with a deep commitment and connection to Africa. It offers a much-needed space for African-led exchange and collaboration on social and economic development.
Why Africa? I grew up moving and traveling across the continent, and my time spent in various African countries informed my values, purpose, and the way I engage. I’m drawn to the dynamism of the continent that made me who I am, the places I’ve loved since a young age. And it seems natural to invest in the places you love.
What or who do you call home?
Home to me is not a city or a place, but a sense of belonging, where there is no need to explain oneself to be accepted and adored.
Where did you dirty your hands and/or mint your knowledge?
I dirtied my hands in my family’s lush backyard in Bujumbura, at marché Sandaga in Dakar, on the back of motor taxis traveling from Mokolo to Tourou, Cameroon, alongside powerful community organizers in Charlottesville, Virginia, and in the kitchen with, and then without, my mom. I continue to learn from the powerful, loving, women who have taught me by example of the gift of giving, of hard work, and of seeing people for who they are, as opposed to who you think they should be.
What are you passionate about?
People, our rights, connecting, exchange. Community, and its potential to catalyze change, and tackle the insurmountable. Food and health, their integral role in sustaining us, in bringing us together. The arts, and their power to heal, inspire, celebrate, incite action.
What keeps you sane?
Cooking. Shared meals with loved ones. Reading is good for me, too.