Tori Callahan

PODCAST: How the CEO of Ubuntu Is Redefining Philanthropy

Jacob Lief was only 21-years-old when he first visited the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was 1998 and the country was transitioning out of apartheid. With a college degree in his back pocket, Jacob cultivated a team of other inspired individuals and together they founded Ubuntu Education Fund with the hope of giving Port Elizabeth’s youth a more promising future.

Jacob’s founding story is one of grit, perseverance, and personal development. His journey of growing Ubuntu into a world-renowned leader in education is marked with many monumental challenges and milestones—including a pivot that completely changed the organization’s funding model, seven years into its operations.

Today, Jacob is a celebrated thought leader with a contagious vision for a better philanthropic sector—one that allows nonprofits to dream big and execute beyond the traditional walls of restricted funding and antiquated benchmarks of success.

In this episode, Jacob shares:

  • What it was like to turn down seven-figure funding from USAID
  • Key facets of the Ubuntu internal culture and how that culture has kept his core executive team together for 13 years
  • His personal growth as a CEO
  • Why he thinks culture is the most dangerous word in English dictionary
  • The mentor who pushed him to take care of himself first

Listen Now: Jacob Lief, Ubuntu

Resources Jacob mentioned in the episode:

  • Sasha Chait

    Is there a way to download this podcast?

  • Robin Lee

    My name is Robin Lee. Twenty years ago I filmed the demise of the iconic estate art studio of pop culture artist, Maxfield Parrish. I own the last documentary film footage and evidence of his self created art studio and living quarters. The film footage shows the rare world of Parrish and Sue.
    I was also allowed to salvage precious artifacts of Parrish that would have been taken to the dump. I am reaching out for help, I have a story here and I am in need of a philanthropist for help that is devoted to Maxfield Parrish.
    Do not forget the most beautiful woman in the whole world, Parrish’s devoted servant, model and friend, Sue Lewin who is in most of the masterpieces.
    I have worked on this project for over twenty years now and have uncovered epic findings.
    The Parrish estate art studio is now gone with the exception of my extensive film footage, photography, artifacts, research and findings. This is a lost chapter in art history and I own it.
    I am reaching out for a film producer to look into a movie I have written about Sue Lewin, a strong woman in art history – was wrongly titled and went to her grave with slander she did not deserve.
    maxfieldparrishmotif.com – maxfieldparrishmovie.com

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