After investing massive sums of money and soaking in the information from numerous world economic summit talks, such as those held in Davos, Switzerland, philanthropist, Jacob Lief thought he would have made huge impact upon the lives of impoverished South Africans whom he desperately wanted to help, but nothing of the sort was happening. He realized that he had the money and connections but the actual groundwork, the actual change, just was not happening. It was at this point that Mr. Lief knew he had to make a change.
Jacob Lief is the principal founder, alongside Malizole Banks Gwaxula, of the Ubuntu Fund, which he developed after coming to the realization that the traditional models of charitable giving were too restrictive and as a result, too ineffective. One of the primary reasons for this was the fact that private donors who contribute to large scale, philanthropic ventures, such as Lief’s venture in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, often demand that they have a large degree of control over the way that money is spent. How, where, why and when are all dimensions in which such donors want to have a say, sometimes in totality. Naturally, this hampers the effectiveness of the financial application, especially if a given private donors’ vision for the project differs markedly or completely from Ubuntu Funds.
This was something Mr. Lief simply could not abide as he knew exactly what had to be done to help the poor region. So instead of focusing on a donor tailored strategy he focused on the autonomy of his organization for bringing the region increased support for badly needed infrastructure such as education, healthcare and social programs to help foster community progression. With the help of other well known philanthropists and business managers, such as the lauded Andrew Rolfe, the current Chairman of the Ubuntu Fund group, Mr. Lief appears to be taking all the necessary steps needed to make his dream of a revitalized South Africa a reality.