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Money Tales

Inspired and Terrified, with Afam Onyema


In this episode of Money Tales, our guest is Afam Onyema. When Afam was graduating from Stanford Law School he decided to pass on the lucrative job offers he received to help co-found the GEANCO Foundation. Up until that point, Afam thought a person had to first be wealthy to create a foundation. But he decided to make the leap and had to figure out how to raise money for GEANCO, and also figure what his personal plan was for money. He had expenses to cover, including law school debt. As Afam describes it, he was operating without a net.

Afam was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1979. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University. After graduation, Afam worked for Hill & Knowlton, Inc., a global public relations firm. Afam entered Stanford Law School in September 2004. During his time at Stanford, he served as Vice President of the Black Law Students’ Association and a two-time Public Interest Fellow. In January 2006, Afam traveled to Ghana as part of the law school’s International Community Law Clinic.

While in law school, Afam co-founded the GEANCO Foundation ( After graduating, Afam declined multiple corporate law firm offers in order to lead GEANCO full-time as CEO.

GEANCO’s mission is to save and transform lives in Nigeria. GEANCO leads complex surgical missions to Nigeria. It runs an innovative program to fight anemia and builds modern maternity clinics to help poor, vulnerable pregnant women deliver healthy babies. Through its David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship for Girls, GEANCO provides tuition, medical care, and social & psychological support to young female victims of terrorism and gender inequality in Nigeria

Afam has been profiled and/or interviewed by BBC News, National Public Radio (NPR), US News & World Report,, Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, American Lawyer, NBC News, KTLA, Harvard Magazine, Stanford Magazine, Stanford Lawyer, Ebony Magazine and Newsweek.

GEANCO’s supporters include, among many others, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Craig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daisy Ridley, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Rock, Forest Whitaker, Djimon Hounsou, Jimmy Kimmel, Chris Rock, David Oyelowo, Bryan Cranston, Steven Soderberg, Whoopi Goldberg, civil rights legend Rev. Jesse Jackson, United Airlines, Google, Disney, The Oscars, Showtime Networks and Netflix.

In 2020, Afam was named one of the Top Ten Most Influential Africans in the Diaspora.

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