The Ubuntu Fund, a philanthropic organization focusing on helping the impoverished region of South Africa’s Port Elizabeth Township, has been widely praised for its unique approach to charitable giving, especially its titular “Ubuntu Model.” But the company did not always operate in the unique fashion it does today – indeed when it was first founded by Jacob Lief he structured it much the same as most any old philanthropy outfit, especially in the way the group received donations.
For those that are not aware, most philanthropic groups are not primarily funded by those individuals who create and run them, but rather by a host of different individual donors who are looking to make an impact. This is a easy way to quickly garner a great deal of money but there is one major catch – the donors will often ask for something in return, whether it is a placard with their name on it or a specific utilization of the money (which may or may not be consistent with any given group’s fiscal strategy), ect. This was something Mr. Lief discovered firsthand during the formative days of Ubuntu.
He became exceedingly frustrated with the impositions made upon him and his group by the then donors as they caused the now affluent group to become almost completely inherent – after all, tons of money is useless if one can’t access it. It was after this unpleasant experience that Lief employed the aid of the well known businessman Andrew Rolfe to head up fiscal strategy for the company whereupon the Ubuntu Model was created. In this new model donors would not be sought out nor accepted if they did not wish to simply donate their money to Ubuntu’s goal of revitalizing a poverty stricken South Africa. This meant that, despite having far less total funding, Ubuntu was able to do far, far more than ever before due to the control of their assets. In summation, the old cliche was proved, once again, to be quite true – less sometimes is more.
Ubuntu Fund is the brainchild of one social entrepreneur called Jacob Lief. After raising charity money through public forums and other special events, Lief noticed one weakness with the traditional approach of running a charity, money raised does not get to impact on the lives of the beneficiaries more comprehensively. These inefficiencies are partly because aid funds come with a lot of restrictions from their donors. Donors get to determine how each cent is spent.
Ubuntu Fund is a charity of its kind. The fund employs a different strategy in raising funds and eventually how the funds are spent. The fund adopts a more comprehensive approach in helping its beneficiaries.
The board of Ubuntu Fund, headed by Andrew Rolfe who is its chairman seeks to raise funds that are less restricted so as to provide the right solutions to support beneficiaries. They go to high-net-worth individuals or family charities who have come to know how less impacting limited funding is. Through a unique organizational model referred to as the Ubuntu Model, the fund establishes a working relationship with donors to create custom plans for the children the fund has identified to assist. They fund an all-round solution to its recipients ranging from health, education to accommodation.
Ordinary funds face a lot of challenges running their operations. Most the money does not even trickle down to the intended recipients. In some cases, donors determine what their donations should do only to realize that the money should have been put in a different cause. Other contributors maintain that they have to be involved in major decision making within the organization. This chain of decision making adds more bureaucracies in the fund slowing down the process of administering the money to those in need. Peter Lewis is an example a donor who imposes how his donations should be spent. He has a history of suspending the operations of his charities once he discovered that one of the programs of the funds was not being handled properly.
Ubuntu Fund focuses on helping marginalized children in South Africa. Most of this children are drawn from the Eastern Cape Province in Port Elizabeth townships. Andrew Rolfe is in charge of the fund that oversees the administration of Ubuntu aid. The management comes up with checks and balances to ensure that the assistance is given to the most deserving candidates.
Andres Rolfe dedicates a great deal of his time in giving the marginalized an equal opportunity at life. Under his leadership, the fund has seen growth in the number of partners who believe in the new fund administration model.
Jacob Lief is the chief executive and founder of the Ubuntu Education Fund. The fund is designed to aid vulnerable children in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. He has changed his strategy and donors will no longer be able to stipulate how the money is spent in regards to the children. He simply wants it to be spent on the best possible current support for the children. Andrew Rolfe also offers assistance in his role as chairman of the board for the fund.
The organization is known as the Ubuntu Model and by working with the communities and families are able to promote the education, health and stability each child requires to escape from poverty. Part of what the board as well as Andrew Rolfe accomplishes is finding donors to help without strings. Most of the donors want their money spent in a specific way and this has caused problems for the fund.
One of the most demanding benefactors was Peter Lewis who once boycotted charities for an entire year. Andrew Rolfe and the board also had to deal with a long legal battle regarding Albert Barnes’s art collection. When he died there was a stipulation the collection could not be changed at all and it took a great deal of time just to have the collection moved.
Establishing a working balance between the recipient and the donor takes hard work. There are discussions, clashes and conflicts to be resolved. This is more difficult with some firms than with others. Overall Andrew Rolfe feels the relationships between the donors and the charities have improved. When a donor tries to throw their weight around the situation is quickly addressed and resolved. What needs to be reinforced is that the Ubuntu Education Fund is trying to help the children. This is the focal point.