Educational Institutions

Ubuntu Education Fund

  • New York, NY
  • www.ubuntufund.org/

Mission Statement

When Jacob Lief and Malizole “Banks” Gwaxula founded Ubuntu Education Fund in 1999, they started small, trying to address a single aspect of this educational crisis in South Africa. Working within Banks’ school, they distributed academic supplies to orphaned and vulnerable children living in the townships of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. They quickly realized that education does not exist in a vacuum—the gap in opportunity was complex. Even when students had books, pencils, and notebooks, many continued to struggle in the classroom, distracted by hunger, issues at home, and HIV/AIDS. As Ubuntu grew, our mission evolved into something quite simple yet radical: to give our children what all children deserve—everything.

A traditional development model, however, did not have the capacity to address the all-encompassing challenges that our children faced. Deviating from the status quo approach, Ubuntu has spent over a decade professionalizing the grassroots service delivery model, which provides holistic care to orphaned and vulnerable township children. Redefining the theory of “going to scale,” Ubuntu drew a perimeter around a community of 400,000 people, focusing on the depth rather than breadth of our impact.

The Ubuntu Model operates at society’s most basic unit—the family. Parents are not born perfect mothers and fathers; childrearing is a process, a commitment. If your child develops asthma, you become an expert in respiratory health. If your child grows into a gifted musician, you learn about Mozart or Makeba. In short, you adapt to meet your child’s needs. Like all caregivers, we commit to our children by creating individualized, flexible plans to address the challenges they face. Our model’s guiding philosophy is inherently simple; it is innovative only because very few organizations operate on this principle.

The success of the Ubuntu Model is inextricably linked to our comprehensive household stability, health, and education services. Providing school supplies to a student who misses class to financially support her family is ineffective. Sending food packages home to a child who suffers from HIV-related complications is not enough. And counseling a rape survivor who must go home to the same, unstable environment is insufficient. To really, fundamentally change a township child’s life, we must address all the obstacles that she faces. We must act preventively, placing children on the pathway out of poverty rather than simply addressing symptoms that stem from disenfranchisement. This is the cornerstone of our work. We ensure that, after just a few years with Ubuntu, our children can access the worlds of higher education and employment, growing into healthy adults with stable incomes.

Main Programs

  1. Household Stability
  2. Health
  3. Education
  4. BUILD
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

The shadow of apartheid lingers over Port Elizabeth's townships, where many of South Africa's 4.1 million orphaned and vulnerable children live. Abject poverty is pervasive, and inequality cripples the community. Unemployment hovers at 30%, with youth unemployment at 65%. Without jobs, people cannot afford even the most basic necessities let alone treatment for HIV and TB, diseases that continue to plague the population. South Africa, with the highest number of people living with HIV in the world. The education system is equally problematic, plagued by overcrowding, teacher shortages and inadequate infrastructure.

ruling year

2000

Founder and CEO

Self-reported

Mr. Jacob Lief

Founder and Senior Advisor

Self-reported

Mr. Malizole "Banks" Gwaxula

Keywords

Self-reported

South Africa, Africa, AIDS, education, health, youth, development, literacy, HIV, counseling

Notes from the Nonprofit

Think, for a moment, about everything it took to get you where you are today. Think about all the textbooks, classes, tutors, soccer games, music lessons, and doctors' visits. Think about all the love and support you received from your family, friends, and teachers. Now think about how your experience was unique and inherently different from that of the person siting next to you. Parenting is individualized and responsive—what works for you may not have worked for your sibling or cousin.

The challenges that people living in abject poverty are equally unique and arguably more complicated than our own. Some parents must choose between buying their children's textbooks or feeding their families while others may have children who are too sick to focus on their studies. Some students may struggle with reading, while their peers who can easily memorize vocabulary experience reoccurring psychological abuse at home. There is no single, proven developmental theory that can be replicated across all contexts—only an understanding of the inherently simple reality that all children have different, equally important needs.

Operating at society's most basic unit, the family, Ubuntu commits to children long-term. Our model's guiding tenants—impact through focused and sustained investment, cradle to career individualized care, community based partnerships, and a commitment to staff development—help us provide orphaned and vulnerable children with everything our parents tried to give us growing up.

Working from within the Ubuntu Centre, our statement to the world that access to quality healthcare and education is a right not a privilege, we provide comprehensive household stability, health, and educational support to 2,000 children. As we began to implement this cradle to career programing, we began to see a marked improvement in their both their overall well-being and academic performance.

Our model is working, truly changing lives. Ubuntu students are now more than twice as likely to grade from high school as their peers and, for every $1 that we invest in them, they will earn $8.70 in real earnings over the course of their lives.

This past year, I sat with Lwando Nteya, one of our first ten students from poetry club. He was just 11 years old when he lost both of his parents to HIV/AIDS. Living in a shack by himself, Lwando embodied every statistic that comes to mind when we think of an African child living in abject poverty. Yet, more than a decade later, he is a graduate of the University of Cape Town. There is nothing more sustainable than investing a child every day for the rest of his life. That is what success means to me and to Ubuntu. It's not about how to reach more children for less money; it's about raising children.

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EIN

31-1705917

Physical Address

32 Broadway Suite 414

New York, NY 10004

Also Known As

UBUNTU

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Single Organization Support (B11)

Community Health Systems (E21)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

We have over 2,000 children on the pathway out of poverty, providing individualized plans encompassing health, education, and household stability services. Within four years of joining Ubuntu, 82% of our clients are “on track" towards stable health and employment.

Approximately 96% of Ubuntu clients adhere to their HIV drug regimens compared to 57% of infected individuals living in Port Elizabeth, and 94% of our patients complete their TB treatments compared to 41% of people in the Eastern Cape. Moreover, our scholars are 50% more likely to graduate from high school than their peers, and Ubuntu clients progress academically at more than twice the rate of their fellow students.

Long-term, we have proven that an investment in Ubuntu yields remarkably high returns. An independent study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that every $1 that Ubuntu invests in our children will result in real lifetime earnings of $8.70. Upon graduating from Ubuntu, scholars will each contribute approximately $195,000 to society over the course of their lifetimes, while non-Ubuntu clients will cost society an average of $9,000.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Household Stability

At Ubuntu, we understand that our children will struggle in school if they feel unsafe or insecure at home, and students who must look after their younger siblings often miss class to feed their families. Our interventions, then, always begin with stabilizing our clients’ households.

We provide home stability assessments conducted by trained social workers and counselors; household security improvements; ventilation, sanitation, and hygiene interventions; food security support including food packages, nutritional supplements, and growth monitoring; psychosocial support for entire families, especially those affected by alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or extreme physical hardship; Childcare Committees, which monitor the well-being of our child-headed households; and education-related supplies like desks, lamps, books, and school uniforms.

Ubuntu’s household stability initiative involves entire families. We offer comprehensive healthcare to caregivers and encourage them to attend our drop-in computer, beadwork, baking, and gardening classes. These courses develop parents’ and grandparents’ marketable skills, helping them generate additional household income. By keeping families engaged at Ubuntu, we not only increase our client retention, but we also deepen the level of our impact.

Category

Family-Based Services

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 2

Health

We know all too well that our children’s ability to succeed in school is deeply connected to their health and well-being. In 2011, Ubuntu opened the region’s first pediatric clinic. The Eastern Cape Department of Health, with which Ubuntu has a synergistic public-private relationship, accredited our clinic as an HIV/AIDS readiness site and now stocks our pharmacy with free medication. In June 2012, we began to move our clients to Ubuntu’s facility, working with local hospitals and doctors to facilitate a smooth transition. The clinic has since become an integral component of the landscape in the townships of Port Elizabeth. Our clients now receive all of their medical care from nutritional counseling to HIV testing and treatment in one central location from world-class health professionals.

Our HIV and TB program offers testing, treatment, and adherence support. We not only offer counseling and support throughout our clients’ drug regimen process, but we also distribute alarm clocks to remind patients when to take their prescriptions, pill boxes to organize their medication, coolers to store their pills, and stationery to track their treatments. Our doctor and Family Support Specialists monitor our clients’ progress with routine check-ups, lab work, nutritional counseling, and support groups.

Ubuntu also provides women-focused health services, including post-exposure prophylaxis for rape survivors, Pap smears, breast exams, and family planning workshops. Our greatest accomplishment thus far, however, has been the success of our Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission initiative, which encompasses prenatal and postnatal care to HIV-positive pregnant women.

More broadly, Ubuntu offers comprehensive care to our children and their families. They receive regular check-ups, immunizations, growth monitoring, flu vaccines, acute and chronic care, care for all minor ailments, referrals for chronic conditions, as well as dental, vision, and hearing care.

Fostering healthy habits and promoting nutrition are essential components of Ubuntu’s preventive health plan. Patients who maintain balanced diets are less likely to get sick, and they respond better to treatment when they do fall ill. Our dietician administers nutritional screenings, which includes dietary assessments and growth monitoring, to all of our children. We then categorize clients as normal, malnourished, or severely malnourished, and we tailor our interventions accordingly. For children classified as normal, we follow up in six months, while severely malnourished patients receive immediate and sustained attention. We also distribute nutritional supplements, multivitamins, and food packages that include protein butter paste, nutritional drinks, and porridge.

Working within our pediatric clinic and state-of-the-art pharmacy, we treat diseases before they define our children’s lives.

Category

Family-Based Services

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 3

Education

The impact of giving 2,000 children a fair chance in the classroom is transformative. The Eastern Cape’s education system is failing to equip children with the literacy, numeracy, and communication skills that they need to break the cycle of poverty. We design our academic initiatives to supplement our clients’ lessons at school, providing programming to everyone from toddlers to university students to out-of-school youth.

In February 2012, after years of research and training, we launched our Early Childhood Development (ECD) program.
The initiative provides alphabet lessons, story time, and rhyming activities to promote literacy; number identification iPad games, cooking, daily calendar reviews, and science investigation questions to build numeracy; art projects, writing lessons, outdoor play, and block building games to enhance fine and gross motor skills; damatic play, group projects, daily social lessons, and activities designed to encourage sharing and foster socio-emotional capacity; conversational games and phrase recitation to facilitate the development of language acquisition devices; and problem-solving games, questions of the day, field trips, and exploration activities to improve cognitive capabilities.

Because Port Elizabeth’s education system is fundamentally broken, many of our children need significant supplementary academic support. Our After-School Program offers supplementary academic support in math, English, physical science, computer literacy, biology, geography, and accounting. We also provide enrichment activities like baking, yoga, ceramics, art, and ballroom dancing. During students’ holidays, we host themed camps so that our children do not fall behind during their breaks. These retreats, which have focused on human rights, gender norms, and entrepreneurship, give children a safe space to learn when their schools are closed.

Our Future Leaders Program provides intensive academic support to high-performing Grade 12 students to ensure that they are prepared for higher education. In addition to helping our students study for their matric exams, our teachers guide participants through the university application process. We simultaneously prepare them for the socio-emotional challenges of attending university as many are the first in their families to move away from home to pursue advanced degrees. Once our scholars receive their acceptance letters, we help them access financial aid in addition to our own scholarship packages, which include accommodation, textbooks, a laptop, medical care, and a living allowance.

For less academically-inclined students, we created Ubuntu Pathways. This program encompasses intensive career guidance, classes on CV writing strategies, interviewing skills, computer literacy, entrepreneurship workshops, and job readiness training. We help these clients gain and sustain employment by placing them into entry-level jobs with our community partners.

Category

Family-Based Services

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Adults

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 4

BUILD

Developing a successful, effective model is an immensely difficult process; sustaining it is quite another. We want to create an organization that is bigger than those who founded it—an institution that can continue to operate within the community long after its founders’ retirement. Ultimately, Ubuntu wants to empower a generation of South Africans who have the ability to address their country’s problems without relying on foreign aid. Investing in local leadership plays a profoundly important role in fostering organizational sustainability. Three years ago, Ubuntu created a world-class staff development initiative, Bertha-Ubuntu Internal Leadership Development (BUILD). Investing in local leadership, we developed intensive staff training programs to meet the needs of each employee, track staff members’ performance, and offer them the same comprehensive medical services that we give to our clients. The end results are clear—a highly effective, efficient, and dedicated staff.

BUILD’s impact is transformative. By hiring 95% of our employees from the community in which we work, Ubuntu helps create successful professionals who can mentor our children. Our students can observe firsthand that their environment does not have to limit their opportunities. When they visit nurses at our pediatric clinic, for instance, they are spending time with role models who grew up in the same neighborhoods and overcame the same obstacles. They are speaking with people who personally understand the challenges that they face. They are learning from our employees that their birthplaces do not have to determine their futures.

Category

Leadership Development Programs

Population(s) Served

Adults

None

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Results

Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

1. Number of children receiving comprehensive support across the areas of household stability, health, and education

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
n/a
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Ubuntu provided 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children with individualized support from cradle to career, ensuring that they were placed on a pathway out of poverty.

2. Total number of homes stabilized with household stability interventions

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Household Stability
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Interventions included home assessments, security upgrades, ventilation and sanitation interventions, food security support, child protection services, and psychosocial counseling.

3. Total percent of HIV-positive mothers that gave birth to healthy, HIV-negative babies

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Health
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Our Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program provided comprehensive support from ultrasounds to HIV care specific to their pregnancies to HIV inhibitors and testing for newborns.

4. Total percent of toddlers in our Early Childhood Development program that attained age-appropriate developmental milestones and were primary-school ready

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Education
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Toddlers achieved age-appropriate developmental milestones along the categories of literacy, numeracy, fine and gross motor skills, socio-emotional capacity, language acquisition, and cognition.

5. Total percent of Grade 12 students that passed their matric exam, a qualifying test for university

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Education
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
94% of Grade 12 students in Ubuntu’s Future Leaders Program pass high school and gain access to university, compared to a national pass rate of 71%.

6. Total percent of out-of-school youth that were placed in rewarding employment opportunities

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Education
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Youth unemployment rates in the townships are estimated at 80%, and Ubuntu combats this through placing youth into employment and providing retention support through our job-readiness program.

7. Total percent of clients who adhere to their HIV/AIDS treatment and medication program

Target Population
No target populations selected

Connected to a Program?
Health
TOTALS BY YEAR
Context notes for this metric
Ubuntu clients adhered to their HIV/AIDS treatment at a rate of 96%, compared to a rate of 75% in South Africa and 57% in the townships of Port Elizabeth

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Education has the potential to act as a great equalizer, lifting millions out of poverty while sustaining economic development. Yet the gulf in educational opportunities between Africa and the rest of the world is widening. South of the Sahara, four million students attend school only to drop out, 17 million children never enroll, and 31 million more are out of school. This gap, however, is not created solely by enrollment and years spent in the classroom—it stems from the disparity in the quality of learning and the multifaceted obstacles that prevent students from focusing on their studies. Of the 97 million pupils enrolled in school, 37 million are not learning, and one out of every two graduates will reach adolescence unable to read, write, or understand basic numeracy. In South Africa alone, 52% of poor students are not learning, and the country's mathematics and science educational systems place in the bottom five of the World Economic Forum's Global IT rankings.

    When Jacob Lief and Malizole “Banks" Gwaxula founded Ubuntu Education Fund in 1999, they started small, trying to address a single aspect of this educational crisis in South Africa. Working within Banks' school, they distributed academic supplies to orphaned and vulnerable children living in the townships of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. They quickly realized that education does not exist in a vacuum—the gap in opportunity was complex. Even when students had books, pencils, and notebooks, many continued to struggle in the classroom, distracted by hunger, issues at home, and HIV/AIDS. As Ubuntu grew, our mission evolved into something quite simple yet radical: to give our 2,000 children what all children deserve—everything. We want to help them grow into healthy, stable, and financially independent adults.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    To move 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children on Ubuntu's pathway out of poverty, we focus on the depth rather than the breadth of our impact. We provide cradle to career, holistic interventions, trying to give our clients everything that they need to break cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement. We begin by stabilizing homes and families with our integrated household stability program. We simultaneously provide comprehensive medical services to help clients get and stay healthy. Then, our educators offer academic programming from early childhood development initiatives to university scholarships and job readiness training. Ubuntu works with our clients and their families from as young as birth to when they attain careers. Our long-term commitment is our solution to pervasive poverty and inequality in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Ubuntu's ability to drive meaningful change is tied to our partnerships with local community institutions, regional corporations, and national governmental departments. We have formalized relationships with the Eastern Cape Department of Health and Department of Social Development to strengthen our household stability and medical capacities. We also work with the South African Police Service, Uviwe Child and Youth Services, as well as local clinics and regional health facilities.

    To enhance our educational programming, Ubuntu has built relationships with local schools for our ECD graduates as well as a number of training programs and corporations in an effort to help our Ubuntu Pathways graduates secure employment. We partner with Samara Tracker Academy and Umzi Wethu Training Academy for Vulnerable Youth, both of which offer job training to students pursuing careers in the country's rapidly expanding wildlife and tourism industries. We also work with some of the region's prominent corporations, which offer internships and entry-level positions to our clients.

    As a community-based organization, Ubuntu not only prioritizes partnerships with local stakeholders, but we also are based within the heart of our beneficiary community--Zwide Township. The Ubuntu Centre, our 25,000 square foot eco-friendly health and educational complex, houses a pediatric clinic and pharmacy, educational classrooms, theater, gardens, counseling rooms, and offices. The space centralizes Ubuntu's programs in one building, allowing us to provide a continuum of services to our clients.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    In 2011, Ubuntu worked with McKinsey & Company to develop an on-track and off-track monitoring system that allows Ubuntu to track the progress of our clients across programmatic departments. This formula encompasses all of Ubuntu's interventions--home assessments, counseling sessions, immunizations, HIV treatment, workshop and seminar participation, and attendance in our academic initiatives--to determine whether or not our children are on-track towards growing into healthy, financially independent, and stable adults. We use this process to determine which additional services clients require. Please see the attached McKinsey & Company Report for more information.

    More specifically, when a child enrolls at Ubuntu, we administer a number of baseline screenings, including home assessments conducted by our counselors and social workers, comprehensive medical screenings, as well as literacy, numeracy, and aptitude tests. We then use this data to design individualized action plans designed to get clients on-track. Family Support Specialists (social workers and counselors) are assigned clients to monitor. They check-in with all relevant progress staff, meet to discuss high-risk clients monthly, and ensure that clients are following their action plans. Every year, we conduct these screenings as well as utilize the McKinsey & Company formula to see how students have progressed.

    Because our programs are comprehensive, our indicators are equally holistic; we measure household stability, overall health, and academic progress. But most importantly, we ensure that clients are moving forward on our pathway out of poverty.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    This past year, South Africa's Minister of Education announced the nation's matric pass rate (the percentage of students who pass their Grade 12 exams) as the highest in post-apartheid history at 78.2%. The Eastern Cape, where Ubuntu is based, averaged a 64% pass rate. Although this result may seem promising, it is important to note that there are three levels of passing, and students can earn their secondary school certificate by knowing under 40% of the tested material. Many children that graduate, then, remain ill equipped for higher education and even mid-level skilled employment. Students who joined Ubuntu late in their academic careers, mirror this trend, and we have struggled to improve their academic progress in a small time frame.

    South Africa's public educational system, fraught with overcrowding, teacher shortages, and poor infrastructure, is failing the vast majority of poor students. Ubuntu pragmatically adopted a two-fold solution to this crisis, implementing preventative interventions with our early childhood development program and Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) initiative, while providing job readiness training for students that have finished their schooling.

    Thus far, we have achieved a 100% success rate with our HIV+ PMTCT mothers, who have all given birth to HIV- babies. Not only do we ensure that no Ubuntu child is ever again born with HIV, but we also provide all the standard medical care that infants and toddlers need. As they grow, our doctor follows the World Health Organization guidelines for check-ups to monitor children's health and, when they turn two, we enroll these children in our early childhood development program. By the time they enter primary school, our clients are happy and have the academic foundations that they need to succeed in the classroom. The programs actively place children on Ubuntu's pathway out of poverty rather than address symptoms that stem from disenfranchisement later on in life.

    We are also strengthening our job readiness and vocational programming for our older clients, ensuring that they have the literacy, numeracy, communication skills, decision-making processes, and time management skills. We partner with local corporations and organizations to place initiative graduates into rewarding careers and, while we will continue to invest in this program, we hope to focus more and more resources into our preventive programming as we believe interventions during this period generate a more significant impact.
Service Areas

Self-reported

International

The shadow of apartheid lingers over Port Elizabeth's townships, where many of South Africa's 4.1 million orphaned and vulnerable children live. Abject poverty is pervasive, and inequality cripples the community. Unemployment hovers at 30%, with youth unemployment at 65%. Without jobs, people cannot afford even the most basic necessities let alone treatment for HIV and TB, diseases that continue to plague the population. South Africa, with the highest number of people living with HIV in the world. The education system is equally problematic, plagued by overcrowding, teacher shortages and inadequate infrastructure.

Additional Documents

Social Media

Blog

Funding Needs

In 2011, Ubuntu Education Fund launched a number of new programmatic initiatives, improving upon the services that we offer at the Ubuntu Centre in Zwide Township: Early Childhood Development Program: We all know that children need a strong foundation for their academic future. This program will allow us to prepare children (ages 0-4) for happy and healthy futures. Pediatric Health Clinic: Our full-service clinic and pharmacy provide world-class, comprehensive care including HIV and TB interventions, dental and vision screenings, inoculations, primary care, family planning, post-rape pregnancy and HIV prophylaxis, nutrition counseling, and first aid.    Ubuntu Scholarships: Over the next two years, Ubuntu will create 100 scholarships, ensuring that our children can attend university without worrying about tuition fees.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

UBUNTU EDUCATION FUND INC
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Ubuntu Education Fund

Leadership

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Founder and CEO

Mr. Jacob Lief

Founder and Senior Advisor

Mr. Malizole "Banks" Gwaxula

BIO

Jacob Lief is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund, a non-profit organization that takes vulnerable children in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa from cradle to career. Nuancing traditional development models, Ubuntu redefined the theory of “going to scale”; rather than expanding geographically, we focus on the depth rather than breadth of their programs within a community of 400,000 people. Ubuntu's programs form an integrated system of medical, health, educational and social services, ensuring that a child who is either orphaned or vulnerable could, after several years, succeed in the world of higher education and employment. Ubuntu's child-centered approach highlights the difference between merely touching a child's life versus fundamentally changing it. In 2009, Jacob was selected as an Aspen Institute Global Fellow and, in 2010, he was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. In 2012, he was asked to join the Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Committee. Later that year, Jacob was named one of the world’s 101 most innovative visionaries at the Decide Now Act Summit. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

STATEMENT FROM THE Founder and CEO

"We met in a Port Elizabeth shebeen just four years after Nelson Mandela assumed the presidency. We sat for hours as we discovered that we shared so much more than a passion for soccer. For the next six months, we lived and worked together in Banks’ school. We watched as nonprofits flooded in. We saw excited children receive new computers that teachers would lock away to collect dust weeks later, organizations distribute soup to students who would still be hungry when nonprofits moved, and countless projects leave when grant cycles ended.

When we founded Ubuntu Education Fund in 1999 with a few hundred dollars, we were determined to be different. We wanted to provide orphaned and vulnerable children with what all children deserve—everything, to commit to Port Elizabeth’s townships long-term. But in the beginning, we were like every other nonprofit, fixated on narrow definitions of success and scale. Yet over time, we realized that our libraries, community-outreach campaigns, and textbook distributions were generating impressive outputs rather than positive outcomes.

The Ubuntu Model evolved from the lessons we learned—that one-time interventions rarely promote lasting change. Rather, to transform township children’s lives, we focus on the depth rather than the breadth of our impact. We provide cradle to career services, ensuring that our children have everything that our parents tried to give us. We have built a proven model rooted in South African innovation that can empower any community to determine its own future. It’s what we’ve done for 15 years, and it’s what we’ll do for another 15."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Andrew Rolfe

Towerbrook Capital Partners

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?