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INTERVIEW: We Hope To Give Scholarships, Business Grants To People In 10yrs- NGO Founder

Founder SA Foundation, Shola Adekunle

Shola Adekunle, a graduate of Mathematics from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Oyo State is a public speaker and trainer, specifically in the capacity building and human development space.

He conceived the vision to lead and run Shola Adekunle Foundation (SAFOUNDATION), an impact-driven and people-oriented non-profit organization. The author of two transformational E-books;‘Financial Nuggets’ and ‘Three Simple Steps to Discover Your Life’s Dream’ in this interview with Mosunmola Ayobami, as the Foundation prepares to mark its first year anniversary speaks on sundry issues.

Tell us about SAFOUNDATION?

The Shola Adekunle Foundation  (SAFOUNDATION) is an impact-driven and people-oriented nonprofit organization.

Our mission is to enliven hope and wholeness in people, engage their minds for productivity, and empower them with the resource to thrive.

How did the Foundation start?

It all began in 2019. I was certain God wanted me to run a non-profit organisation to bless lives, but some few things happened along the process and the foundation could not be launched. However, I decided to start an initiative instead known as Rise Conference Africa, and I selected five amazing people who are my close friends to work alongside with me; Adekunle Eyitayo, Olakanmi Joshua, Makanjuola Thomas, Adedosu Tobi, and Ayanbisi Olufunmilayo. We hosted the first Rise Conference virtually on February 1, 2019 with five speakers and 350 registered participants from six different countries. Exactly two years later, Thr Shola Adekunle Foundation was launched on February 1, 2021 and here we are,  celebrating one year of its impact.

Cross section of some members and partners of SA Foundation at Rise Conference held at Ibadan in 2021.

What has been the achievements of the Foundation so far?

Through the grace of God, we have hosted physical events and several online programs during the last one year. Currently, we are running a campus initiative where we train students on various digital, financial and life skills for free across 12 different higher institutions in Nigeria and still counting. We have countless testimonials and feedbacks from people who have been transformed and mentally liberated as a result of our programs and initiatives. Almost every week, we receive messages from different people telling us how much of a blessing the foundation has been to them. So this for me is our great achievement – the lives we have impacted.

What have been the challenges this past year and how did you overcome?

Truth be told we have really enjoyed God’s faithfulness, and massive support from people. I really find it hard to think of any challenge right now, but maybe I will say we still need more support and encouragement, in prayers, in donations, and more importantly in raising awareness about the foundation to other people.

How do you get funds to run the Foundation’s initiatives and other live events?

For now, most of the funds we spend usually come from my personal account, and since the foundation carries my name I have accepted the responsibility of its funding. But also we get donations from few other people who give to us willingly without asking them.

However, as a non-profit organisation, we only engage in things that we are financially capable of doing, and God has always been meeting our needs in diverse ways.

Being the President and lead visioner, what has been your source of inspiration and strength?

First it has been God. I had so many fears when we wanted to launch out a year ago, and even till now I still marvelled at how we have gotten this far; the consistency, the ideas, the inspiration, the strength, it can only be God. Then secondly, I am blessed to have two great men in my life who are the senior advisers for the foundation; Abiodun Ayinmode and Mayowa Ojo. These men have been there for me on multiple occasions and I’ll forever honour them. Also my friends, family, and even strangers gave me so much inspiration and strength to push on. So it’s God first, and then the blessings of men.

As the Foundation begins another year, what should we expect in 2022?

This year, our focus will be on reaching out to campus students across Nigeria and we have started the work already.

Also by God’s grace, we will be hosting Rise Conference live in the city of Ilorin towards the last quarter of the year.

Our general online programs, initiatives, and seminars will also be unfolded as the year runs. In all we are trusting God for a fulfilling 2022 as an organization.

The Foundation seems to be religiously inclined. Can you explain the reason behind that?

The reason is because I am a man of faith in God and you can only launch out what you have inside. So, definitely the foundation will take after the faith of its founder.

However, our overall operations at the foundation since its inception has been for both the religious and non-religious. For example, our campus initiative has no respect for religion. Every campus student in Nigeria is being accepted and trained whether you are a believer or not. Our online seminars and programs have audiences from different religions and they are not being segregated. Although we do give honour and credence to our God as a foundation, but yet we are fully social, impact-driven and people-oriented.

Where do you see the Foundation in 10 years from now?

Wow, I see the foundation giving out several scholarships and business grants to people in 10 years from now. I see us hosting Rise Conference multiple times in a year across various African countries. I see the foundation growing in leaps and bounds, making mega impacts, empowering people, and inspiring hope to many across Africa and the globe.

As a Foundation, are there those you model after and follow?

Yes! The Tony Elumelu Foundation and The Obama Foundation have been our two major role models as an organisation.

Do you have some words for those who have been following SAFOUNDATION?

Of course. I will say thank you a thousand times and more! Also I will like them to know that no matter how big their dream seems to be, there is always a small way to start, and a small part to begin with. So let’s stop delaying, but rather get to work!




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