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Jacob Lief
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Jacob Lief is Co-Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund, a non-profit organization that takes vulnerable children in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from cradle to career. Nuancing traditional development models, Ubuntu redefined the theory of “going to scale”; rather than expanding geographically, they 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 succeed in the world of higher education and employment. Ubuntu's child-centred 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 joined the Clinton Global Initiative Advisory Committee. In 2014, he was a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and is the host of Philanthropy Unfiltered--a podcast series produced in partnership with the University's Center for High Impact Philanthropy. Jacob has authored a book, I Am Because You Are, which was published by Rodale Inc. in May 2015.

Entries by Jacob Lief

7 Lessons for Smart Philanthropy

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 10:57 AM

In the seventeen years I've spent running a non-profit, I've witnessed the best and the worst of philanthropy. I've watched organizations exhaust their energy on securing the next round of funding rather than investing what they have more effectively. I've witnessed nonprofits accept money that comes with very specific strings...

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Ending Poverty: The Next Big Idea Is To Stay Small

(2) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 9:47 AM

In April of 2007, I stood on the main stage at the Clinton Global Initiative. The organization I'd co-founded, Ubuntu Education Fund, had spent eight years working in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I boasted about our successes, and emphasized one number: that we reached 40,000 children. That...

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Could You Graduate From Harvard With Just a Windup Computer?

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 4:37 PM

This article originally appeared at Fast Co Exist.

Jacob Lief is the Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund. His new book "I Am Because You Are" is a powerful story that captures his personal journey of building Ubuntu while also...

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Tata Mandela

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 12:23 AM

He was the reason why I first went to South Africa and he was the reason why I never left. He reminded us everyday what it meant to be human. He embodied a spirit that fueled the good in people. He was not a perfect man by any means and...

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Are We Measuring The Real Impact Of Charity?

(4) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 9:36 AM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

In his TEDTalk, "The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong," Dan Pallotta discusses the different rulebooks by which for-profit companies and non-profit organizations operate....

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Talking About Rape

(48) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 4:48 PM

What will you discuss with your children this evening? Sports, the weather, celebrity gossip, rape?

We are from three generations (81, 50, and 36 years old), three faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish), and three continents (Africa, Asia, North America). One of us is a religious leader, one a writer and rape...

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"Why Can't We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume?" Because the Product Affects the Process

(2) Comments | Posted September 28, 2012 | 1:27 PM

In his article, "Why Can't We Sell Charity Like We Sell Perfume?" Dan Pallotta argues that Americans and the funding community should stop holding charities to different standards from the rest of the economic world. Non-profits are not supposed to remunerate their executives or invest in marketing and...

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Township Cinderellas: Shafieqah and Zahiedah at the Matric Ball

(0) Comments | Posted February 8, 2012 | 2:42 PM

Shafieqah is determined to go to the Matric Ball in her new dress, with or without the father of her child. Zahiedah is determined to go to the Matric Ball in the dress she chose, not the one her mother wants her to wear. Two teenage girls, the shimmering prospect...

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The Numbers Game -- Have We Really Forgotten How to Raise a Child?

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2011 | 6:33 PM

Sustainability and scale. The development world in the past decade has emphasized these buzzwords above all others. How many computers, condoms, pills, or libraries can you distribute or build, across how many regions? How low can your costs be? All too often, the question that isn't asked is, "How well...

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