The Ubuntu Education Fund was created to do exactly what its name implied: provide financial support to at-risk children in South Africa so that they could pursue an education. The Ubuntu Fund, established by Jacob Lief, is primarily focused on the vulnerable children located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, namely the townships of Port Elizabeth. Lief had been raising a ton of money for his non profit, for years, before he came to the sudden and stinging realization: he wasn’t doing enough. If Lief wanted to continue to try and help the children then he would have to make a change.
As part of his job working at the Ubuntu Fund Lief would travel the world in order to speak at high profile events in order to try and pull in benefactors. Lief was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, their annual gathering, when the moment struck him. Lief says, “It was nonsense. The money was flowing in but we weren’t changing people’s lives.” This can be a hard realization to come to when your work is so important, as Lief’s actions have always given credit to. Lief knew that there were issues with plucky and stingy benefactors, but he never realized just how bad the problems were getting.
This is where Jacob Lief decided to evolve the company by changing how the non profit sought out benefactors. Lief says, “We now go for high net-worth individuals or family foundations who understand that highly restricted funding isn’t worth our time.” The reason for this change was simple: picky benefactors were a huge problem when it came to getting funds out to the places that it needed to go. One benefactor, who definitely was NOT a problem, is Andrew Rolfe.
Andrew Rolfe serves on the board for the Ubuntu Fund where he has been a steady guiding hand for years. Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board were more than happy to try out the new Ubuntu Model.