Linda Mutesi is many things, including a feminist lawyer, social entrepreneur and arts lover. Her life’s work is centered on sharing resources with her immediate community. In her formative years, she was able to witness the virtues of giving and sharing, instilling in her the deep sense of community that is reflected in her work. She says, “My ethos, the two words that really sum up my belief system are community and posterity.”
Although generosity and service are an integral component of her life and work, she is interested in finding indigenous terms to define communal giving and sharing, in ways that go beyond what philanthropy has been defined as. Linda foresees a world where people who are doing good work in their communities have enough to live comfortably, and are respected for increasing the wealth and well-being of their community. She believes in supporting and increasing the means of people who are already innovating and executing feasible community solutions. As a feminist whose service is premised on decolonial approaches, Linda’s work deliberately centers the realities of women.
FUTURE GENERATIONS (FG) FOUNDATION
During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, Linda felt an urgent call to respond to the withdrawal of funding from many Western NGOs and the glaring flaws in Western development models that were brought to light. Supported by a long-term friend and the Chief Executive Officer of Muyi Consulting Group, Irene Ikomu, she embarked on creating a structure to support all the community giving and efforts she had been a part of. Her intention was to streamline her work, making it more accountable and accessible. Although Linda explained that how she gave was deeply personal and a continuation of the values deeply embedded in African values of being and caring for each other, Irene countered by naming the need to ensure that African giving is recognized and valued. As luck would have it, Linda and John Mark met during this time and he expressed that he was in the process of kickstarting his dream of creating a foundation that would house his present and future community work and asked Linda to join his Board. They eventually agreed to work together since their shared interests aligned.
The Future Generations (FG) Foundation is growing into a movement enabling African community-based solutions and innovations to achieve their highest potential. The Foundation is focused on partnering with Ugandans who are effecting small incremental changes right where they are. The Foundation specifically seeks out women and other marginalized groups who exist on the margins of society. Linda expects that the foundation will implement, suggest, and influence positive community-based policies around philanthropy. To her, success for the Foundation would mean Africa shifting from aid and help-based community initiatives to philanthropic models that give with the intent of supporting self-sustainability for those that they fund. Linda intends to reinvent power dynamics in partnerships with grant-making organizations and defy stereotypes about what kind of people give and share of their resources with their communities. She anticipates the invention of new systems of accountability and processes of grant writing that center the dignity of the people who do the work adding, “Our due diligence is not going to be, has never been, tedious and suspicious but rather will involve dignity, respect and curiosity about the work communities and individuals are doing and seeing how we can join hands and grow together.” Since its inception, The Future Generations (FG) Foundation has given to Ugandan businesses and social impact organizations through direct financial contributions as well as in-kind support.