Following fourteen years of success in the financial sector, Amy Towers turned her full-time attention to raising four young sons and running her philanthropic foundation. She established the Nduna Foundation in 2007 with the intent to focus her work on nutrition, human rights, health care, education and conservation, primarily in conflict and post-conflict countries in Africa.
Ms. Towers made her first trip to Africa in 2005 during the height of the food crisis in Niger. There she found that the causes for acute malnutrition that put hundreds of thousands of children’s lives at risk were entirely preventable. This fueled her passion to begin investing in areas, people and programs that proved early money mattered and would prompt other donors to follow.
This could not have been more evident than in 2006 when Ms. Towers’ investment in tankering water into some of the most dangerous regions of Somalia would not only prove that it could be done, but would prompt others to follow. Her $500,000 investment resulted in $5 million of donations from others.
Another example is her investment in the construction of a facility to make ready to eat therapeutic food (RUTF) in Ethiopia. Today, this project is often referenced as a model of how partnerships can work with local players. Today, this facility is a thriving enterprise.
Since her initial trip in 2005, Ms. Towers has traveled to Ethiopia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, and others. She has traveled to remote regions at considerable risk in order to research what interventions worked best and where early money mattered. She maintains a diverse portfolio of partners who manage a wide range of projects all intended to effect sustainable change in the lives of people who would otherwise be forgotten and live without a voice.
Her partners include UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, The Elders, WITNESS, The CDC Foundation, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Millennium Promise, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Acumen Fund, Teach for America, MANA Nutrition, Robin Hood and others.
Ms. Towers has grown increasingly more focused on human rights, especially violence against children. She currently chairs a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for Human Rights Watch and is funding household surveys in developing countries to gather data that is critical to holding communities and governments accountable in the quest to stop violence against children.