Founders Board Member Plays a Role in Rwanda’s Future

Dale Dawson - Bridge2RwandaDale Dawson has served as National Director at KPMG, Head of Investment Banking at Stephens, Inc., and CEO of Truckpro, an independent distributor of commercial truck parts he sold to AutoZone. However, Dale will tell you that while those were great experiences, nothing compares to what he’s done the last 14 years.

In 2001 Dale was looking for the “next thing” when he learned about Rwanda, a small country in East Africa recovering from a genocide that killed more than 800,000 people just a few years prior. Since that time, Dale has been a passionate advocate and activist for Rwanda and its people.  Dale first helped open a private boarding school for genocide orphans and assisted in the formation of Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda (UOB), which provides micro loans to small Rwandan entrepreneurs who are economically active, but underserved. These ventures were just the beginning.

In 2007 Dale was asked to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC), whose mission is to advise Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, on Rwanda’s strategic development, choices, and initiatives. This led to a personal relationship with President Kagame, who asked Dale to help him do two things; bring foreign investment to Rwanda, and give the best and brightest young people in Rwanda the opportunity to study abroad so that they can return and play a part in building their country.  Shortly thereafter, Dale founded Bridge2Rwanda, a multifaceted organization traversing education, finance, and entrepreneurship while fostering relationships in Rwanda and abroad. It includes a dense interconnected network of relationships comprising individuals, churches, schools, businesses, nonprofits, and colleges all working together for the betterment of Rwanda. “If anything,” says Dale, “I’ve become increasingly convinced that the most transformational thing we can do for Rwandans is to get foreign investors coming into these countries, building businesses, and training the young people.”

The program’s most successful initiative has been taking the best and brightest Rwandan high school students and providing them the opportunity to get full scholarships from United States and European universities.  The program works with the students in an intense one-year program to improve their English and prepare them for college admittance exams.  Although students enter the program with no guarantees, to date, every Bridge2Rwanda scholar has been rewarded a full scholarship to high quality universities.  Students have been placed in universities everywhere from Harvard and Yale, to Michigan State and Texas Christian University, just to name a few.  Best of all, these students enter this program vowing to return to Rwanda after their studies to launch their careers and play a meaningful role in the growth and positive transformation of their country.

Since Dale began serving on Founders Board of Advisors, Founders has also began investing in Rwanda’s future. Founders Managing Partner, Duane Donner, and COO, Wesley Legg, have visited Rwanda to witness the fruits of Dale’s labor first hand.  “It’s wonderful to see the work Dale is doing in Rwanda and the impact he has made on their society,” says Duane. “We are honored to not only have him on our board, but to also support him and his work in Rwanda. Through Dale, Bridge2Rwanda has become dear to our hearts, and we continue to find new ways to support Dale and the entire organization.”


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