Jacob Lief is the founder and chief executive over at the Ubuntu Education Fund. His goal with the Ubuntu Fund is simple: to bring education and opportunity to the impoverished children in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa — specifically those in Port Elizabeth. Lief knows that running a non profit can be hard but he knows even more that there are serious issues that need to be remedied in order to find success. Lief took a long look in the mirror in order to find out why the Ubuntu Fund wasn’t working up to his standards and his results were surprising to say the least.
Jacob Lief does a great many things in order to make sure the Ubuntu Fund runs as planned including speaking engagements around the world. While speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos we saw Lief come to a stunning realization: despite all of the donations coming in, the Ubuntu Education Fund wasn’t making the kind of difference that it should have been. Lief says simply, “It was nonsense, the money was flowing in but we weren’t changing people’s lives.” This was a hard pill to swallow for Lief but it was an important remedy for a larger problem.
Lief would turn to his board at the Ubuntu Fund in order to bring up a solution. Lief proposed to Andrew Rolfe and the rest of his board that they change the way donations were collected. Lief’s plan was equally simple, “We now go for high net worth individuals or family foundations who understand that highly restricted funding isn’t worth our time.” Lief’s plan was radical and revolutionary. After all, it had always been par for the course to try and get as many donations as possible.
With Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board all in on the plan the Ubuntu Fund was up and operating in no time under this new model. Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the crew quickly realized that this was the only way to go. Now donations were coming in and being fed directly to the problems that were needed to be addressed. The Ubuntu Education Fund was back to changing lives.