Case Studies

Bridgeway Foundation

The Bridgeway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, uses creative solutions to prevent or end genocide while also helping to restore communities in its aftermath. Most notably, the foundation was part of a multinational coalition that successfully dismantled the vast majority of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group led by Joseph Kony, the first war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Ten years ago, Bridgeway decided to shift its attention from focusing solely on the victims of mass atrocities to stop the perpetrators. “We had been putting Band-Aids on bullet holes,” and instead saw the need to tackle the root of the issue, says Shannon Sedgwick Davis, its chief executive officer. To end the violence, the foundation works in areas where crimes against humanity committed by nonstate actors are occurring, and it partners and shares risk with reliable local individuals and organizations that offer resourceful, culture-centric solutions. “Those who’ve been living the day in and day out of these atrocities are absolutely going to be the smartest people on the ground and the ones with the solutions that are going to make a difference,” says Davis. The foundation’s partners are often unconventional: governments and non-governmental organizations, military contractors, religious leaders, survivors of war crimes, and others. No matter the partner, the team puts a premium on listening to their needs and perspectives to fill gaps—and to nimbly shift tactics. For example, to stop the violence that the LRA committed in central Africa, the foundation addressed crucial needs, such as supporting innovative ways for communities to warn each other of impending attacks and building a well-trained force to pursue the attackers that was supported by helicopter airlift. It also switched gears when its original goal of “cutting the head off the snake”—capturing Kony himself—proved harder and less effective than “cutting the body from the head,” which Davis says they accomplished by encouraging and facilitating defections from his army and then employing restorative justice methods to peacefully reintegrate former followers back into their communities. For example, it would drop fliers from its aircraft and play messages from loudspeakers that would convince rebels to return home.


The foundation helped capture or remove from the battlefield two ICC-indicted LRA leaders and contributed to a 90 percent decrease in LRA violence. During Bridgeway’s deployment, 730 LRA members surrendered peacefully. The organization also helped reintegrate former enemy soldiers by embracing the local communities’ sense of restorative justice. The defections and reconciliations, Davis says, have “an extraordinary impact in terms of bringing the healing and community full circle. It was monumental in how we think about justice and accountability, and what it looks like to truly try and stem the tide of impunity that often exists.” 

How The Satter Foundation Has Helped

In addition to the Satter Foundation’s financial support, the Bridgeway team found Muneer’s thought partnership to be invaluable. “Every time we got stuck,” Davis says, “he was my first call. Muneer’s unyielding belief in the mission and his persistence encouraged us to keep pushing forward.

What's Next

With genocide and humanitarian crises proliferating, the Bridgeway Foundation has no plans of slowing down. From 2008 to 2018, the number of non-state actors engaged in conflict increased by 110 percent, and those wars have displaced 71 million people, leading to an influx of refugees in need of care. To help mitigate this growth, the Bridgeway Foundation is applying lessons from central Africa to different conflicts across the globe. “We are looking at the big picture to determine how we come up with a paradigm for dealing with these non-state actors and forever wars,” says Laren Poole, the foundation’s director of operations. From building coalitions as it did in Africa to finding new, innovative solutions to prevent or stop crimes against humanity, the Bridgeway Foundation will continue to help bring peace to troubled nations and rebuild communities.

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