For thirty years, Betsy DeVos has worked tirelessly on reforming school systems around the country. The main focus of her philanthropy and reform work has centered around Milton Friedman and the school choice model, which states that parents, not the government, not the zip code, but parents and their children are best able to determine how and where a child should be educated.
She is chairman of many groups and councils focused on expanding school choice at both the state and national level. Her own family foundation, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation organizes charitable donations to politicians and non-profit organizations who show commitment to her educational reform ideals. She is now the United States Secretary of Education, and plans to continue her work of expanding school choice to even more families across the country. Read more about her philanthropy at MLive.com.
Her involvement began when she and her husband, Dick, had school aged children and visited the Potter House Christian School in their home state of Michigan. There, they saw many fellow parents who wished nothing more than that their children would have a better education, but struggled to afford tuition. They decided to support the school and provide scholarships for the low-income students there.
The experienced changed Betsy DeVos’ perspective on education. She and her husband knew they had the time and resources to devote to changing the lives of more than just the students at a single school. In 1990 her husband was elected to the State Board of Education in Michigan, and she started a foundation to give scholarships to low-income parents so they could afford to send their students to whichever school they chose. Still, they recognized that structural changes were needed.
During the 1990s, Betsy DeVos served on the boards of two national charities working to change laws so they would provide vouchers and tax credits for private schooling children. They helped pass the Michigan Charter School bill in 1993. The Michigan program was so successful that the reformers created the American Federation for Children, which sought to duplicate the success through legal changes nationwide.
Since 2000, Betsy DeVos’ giving and philanthropy work has helped create school choice reforms in many other states, including Florida and Louisiana. In Louisiana she helped create a grass roots campaign for the new voucher program that was meant to bring kids out of failing schools in New Orleans and other cities. The Board of Education only gave families a one-week window, so they quickly arranged for a grassroots campaign to sign up as many parents as possible.
Over the last thirty years, Betsy DeVos has helped rearrange the school landscape for many parents by funding and volunteering for school choice measures around the country.
Jacob Lief has suddenly realized that it is pure nonsense that money flows into the pockets of rich people without impacting the lives of the poor children. It is a social evil to create money that does not improve the lives of the general masses. He realized this when he was speaking to a group of investors and philanthropist at the annual World Economic Forum. He is the CEO and Founder of the Ubuntu Education Fund in the United States. This is a non-profit organization that helps children in Cape Town, South Arica to afford childhood education. When he was speaking at the forum, he became emotional and aided no to those donors who put a restriction on the use of their money. He wanted all children to have a share of the money without fear or favor. For this reason, he shifted his strategy to be focused and spent to support all children who need this support.
According to him, he has set forth towards the high-net-worth individuals and families who understand the need for educating the less fortunate children in the world. These families must also know that restricting funds sent for children is a bad idea. Restricted funding is smaller than the amount of success intended to be achieved. For this reason, people need to style up and determine the fate of heir generous funding.
The Ubuntu model organization works in close collaboration with organizations and families to create a better planning for each child who seeks to fund from the wealthy families. For this reason, these less fortunate children will get a provision in health, stability, and education needed to escape poverty. For those who own non-profits, it is never easy to get money from donors without restrictions on the use of funds. Donors also flex their muscles in numerous ways concerning the use of their resources.
Peter Lewis is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the unrestricted educational funding from Ubuntu Education Fund. As a matter of fact, he is one of the largest insurance brokers in Cleveland, Ohio. For over one year, he has boycotted the obligatory charitable giving.
Jacob Lien and Malizole Gwaxula started the Ubuntu Education Fund to provide academic supplies to vulnerable children in Eastern Cape. Although money quickly started flowing in, the founders realized that they weren’t changing the lives of the beneficiaries. It dawned on them that providing books and notebooks to children who were distracted by hunger, disease, and other problems at home wasn’t practical. That’s how Ubuntu was born.
How the Ubuntu model works
The model focuses on depth rather than breath of the impact of the organization’s work. This means that the organization tailors plans to address problems that individual children face instead of using a similar model for everyone. The success of the model is not only linked to education, but also to household stability and health of beneficiaries. Just after a few years, children can access higher education and grow into adults with steady income.
About Andrew Rolfe
Andrew Rolfe is the chairman of the Ubuntu Fund Board of Directors, which is currently working with over 2,000 children and their families. Although Andrew Rolfe lends his expertise to the foundation, he doesn’t dictate how the money that comes in will be used. This leaves room for the staff to be flexible and innovative.
In addition, Andrew Rolfe helps communicate with potential donors to set expectations and avoid conflicts. He helps find organizations that are willing to give money without dictating how it will be used. Andrew Rolfe lets the donors know earlier on that even if they donate to the organization, they will not be allowed to dictate how the money will be used. They, however, can be confident that the funds will improve the lives of needy children and their families.
The Ubuntu Education Fund has improved the lives of many. Studies show that its beneficiaries are twice as likely to finish high school compared with children in community schools. The non-profit organization also helps beneficiaries successfully managed HIV by following treatment programmes—the very spirit on Ubuntu.