Jacob Lief


Jacob Lief is the Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund, a non-profit organization that takes vulnerable children in the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa from cradle to career. 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. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

Latest Articles

MDGs: Small thinking won't achieve big results
26 Sep 2014

As the 2015 deadline approaches, we may not achieve the Millennium Development Goals — but not because the objectives were too idealistic. We failed to eradicate extreme poverty and reduce child mortality because we just didn't think big enough. An exclusive opinion by Jacob Lief, founder of the Ubuntu Education Fund.

'I am, because you are'
2 Jan 2014

Nelson Mandela’s vision for development in post-apartheid South Africa was focused on listening to the communities rather than imposing solutions. Jacob Lief, co-founder and president of the Ubuntu Education Fund, explains how Mandela inspired him to help others and do good.

What’s the impact of one pink dress?
15 Nov 2012

The aid community’s obsession with cost-effectiveness metrics is misleading and harmful, argues Jacob Lief in this exclusive guest opinion. “It is narrow and self-serving, existing just to make people feel good and in charge,” writes the Ubuntu Education Fund founder.

Why small-scale assistance works
9 Dec 2011

Sustainability and scale are two of the development world’s favorite buzz words. But it takes time to create long-term change, and depth to change a child’s life – a lesson large global aid groups should heed, writes Jacob Lief, co-founder of the Ubuntu Education Fund, in this exclusive guest opinion.