What Andrew Rolfe and Jacob Lief have accomplished with the Ubuntu Education Fund is nothing short of miraculous. Non profits have one of the hardest gigs in the world: they have to operate as a traditional business while relying on the goodwill of benefactors to accomplish their tasks. The traditional non profit approach to raising money is to get as many donations as possible and hope that it is enough to accomplish their tasks. Jacob Lief, when speaking at the World Economic Forum, realized quickly that some things needed to change in order for the Ubuntu Fund to become a success.
When Jacob Lief was speaking at the World Economic Forum, a part of his job, he realized something pretty wild. The Ubuntu Fund was bringing in money but it wasn’t getting to where it needed to go. Despite numerous donations, benefactors were holding the strings tight enough that the Ubuntu Fund was forced to be inflexible with their spending. The result? The Ubuntu Fund began to suffer despite bringing in so much money. So Jacob Lief approached Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board with the decision: they had to change things up with how they approached benefactors.
The result of this change, as Andrew Rolfe could explain, was simple. No longer were they focused on getting as many donations as possible. Instead, Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the Ubuntu Fund put their faith in higher end investors only. Limiting their investors to just high net worth individuals and those rock solid family foundations was a calculated risk. The decision was made to pursue this route because Andrew Rolfe and Jacob Lief found these donors to be the most flexible with their money. High end benefactors were more willing to let non profits take their donations and work it to their advantage.
Andrew Rolfe has been working with the Ubuntu Fund since 2011. Over the years he has donated $100,000 to the fund in order to help educated at-risk children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Hopefully with this new model in place the Ubuntu Fund can continue to grow.