Jacob Lief and Andrew Rolfe Say no To Donations with Strings Attached For Ubuntu Education Fund

Donor funds go a long way in helping non-profit charity organizations to sustain their operations. That notwithstanding, some donors are fond of following up to see to it that their donations are used only for the purposes approved by them. Other donors are interested in individual glory and insist on having their donations channeled to specific projects, and then demand that the projects be named after them. This micromanagement eventually grows to become a bottleneck to the management of organizations, compromising the main values on which they were founded. Jacob Lief, founder and president of the Ubuntu Education Fund, understands this just too well, having gone through the predicament of having to cope with micromanaging donors.


Sufficient Funds, Limited Achievements


Jacob founded the Ubuntu Education Fund with the aim of supporting education programs for kids born in less privileged families in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The fund was doing well sometimes back, or so it appeared. Jacob was getting invitations to address delegates in global conferences, such as the World Economic Forum. Funds from donors were in abundance. Ironically, Jacob was not impressed by all those. In his assessment, the donations were sufficient but were not helping vulnerable people to alleviate poverty as per the organization aims. With this realization, he started turning down donations from donors who came with lists of restrictions on how their funds ought to be spent.


The Ubuntu Model


Today, Jacob only accepts donations from donors, who don’t interfere with the running of Ubuntu Education Fund. He, however, admits that such donors are hard to come by. He acknowledges that the organization now operates with a much lower budget, but notes that much more is accomplished now than during the times of huge donations. He now has the freedom to implement projects that benefit the community rather than individuals.


Andrew Rolfe


Andrew Rolfe has been serving as chairman of the Ubuntu Education Fund’s board of directors for the last ten years. Just like Jacob, Rolfe was not amused by donors who gave donations with strings attached. He was on the frontline during the formation of the Ubuntu Model.


Andrew Rolfe is a highly connected executive. This extensive network helps him to source for donors. Judging from the success realized by Ubuntu under the leadership of Rolfe and Jacob, the organization will remain active for many years.



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