Category Archives: Education Fund

What Betsy DeVos Did Prior To Becoming President Trump’s Education Secretary

If you followed the 2016 election and saw the cabinet appointments in the months following, you may have noticed the fierce battle that ensued to get Betsy DeVos nominated for US Secretary of Education. But often overlooked is just how much work DeVos did in the years prior to this election and why many educators can thank her and the non-profit groups she’s a part of. She sat down once with Philanthropy Roundtable several years ago to explain why she supports school of choice.DeVos explained that she first got into her efforts to fund private K-12 schools and start scholarships because as a parent of several children, she saw how tough it was for other families to afford the same privileges on lower paychecks. That’s when she and her husband Dick got the idea to start the Education Freedom Fund followed by Kids Hope USA and Children First. She talked about a setback they had when they tried to introduce a tax credit and voucher program in the state’s constitution for the year 2000, but it was this setback that led to a new endeavor that included increasing charter school availability, and many of the DeVos’s friends started seeing a national movement.

So just how long has Betsy DeVos been involved in grassroots conservative activism that she also mentions in the interview? She grew up in a strong business-minded family, the daughter of Edgar Prince who founded Prince Corporation, one of Michigan’s most famous manufacturing companies. Her political activities started while she was attending Calvin College where she has also served as a trustee after graduating. Her interests in fighting for important social reforms and economic freedoms attracted another young man to her who was a businessman and activist. That man was Dick DeVos Jr., son of Amway Founder and major Republican donor Richard DeVos Sr.Together, Dick and Betsy DeVos founded The Windquest Group, a highly profitable investment firm from which they’ve been able to fund the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation, the key parent foundation to their scholarship and other charity works.

Betsy DeVos also took a lead role in the Michigan Republican Party in 1996 when she won election to the position as Chairwoman. In the year 2000 she stepped down because she felt she could only be a follower and not a leader in this position, but in the year 2003 she once again returned feeling that this time she could do more. While Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm held office, it was said that Betsy DeVos was “her worst nightmare” due to the strong measures DeVos used to combat her policies. The then President-elect Trump’s nomination of DeVos to Education Secretary in 2016 was highly surprising because DeVos had been outspoken against the man she said didn’t represent the Republican Party, but after receiving the nomination said that it would be her “honor” to accept the position.

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Andrew Rolfe’s Ubuntu Fund Seeks New Path to Success

Running a non profit is not a task that anyone should undertake lightly. The truth is that success in the non profit world is hard to come by and the stakes are already so high. Jacob Lief is the founder and chief executive of the Ubuntu Education Fund. It has been his goal to bring education to the impoverished and at risk children that live in Port Elizabeth — a township in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Lief’s work is obviously changing the lives of the people he helps and as a result it is of the utmost importance that his charity stay efficient and effective.


Jacob Lief was on a speaking gig at the World Economic Forum for it’s yearly gathering in Davos. Lief was looking around the room when a realization hit him: “It was nonsense. The money was flowing in but we weren’t changing people’s lives.” Lief had finally stumbled upon a concept that a great many non profit leaders would come to: even if the money was coming in, it didn’t mean that it was getting to where it needed to go. For Lief this meant that change needed to occur and it didn’t to start happening quickly.


So, this brought Jacob Lief to the board at the Ubuntu Fund. The board, which includes prolific philanthropist Andrew Rolfe, helped to green light a new approach to to raising funds. Lief would go on to call this approach the ‘Ubuntu Model’. The Ubuntu Model, as it would turn out, is a change in donation fueling that focuses exclusively on high end benefactors and grounded family funds. Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board wanted to focus on raising funds that made a difference, that could come in without any strings attached.


Benefactors, as Andrew Rolfe and Jacob Lief know, are the fuel for a non profit to succeed. However, those same benefactors can become overbearing when they make extensive demands and requirements. Andrew Rolfe, for example, is not one of those kinds of benefactors. Rolfe has donated over $100,000 of his own money to the Ubuntu Fund over the past several years, all the while allowing the fund to do its job.


How Jacob Lief and Andrew Rolfe Are Now Declining Donations With Attached Strings

The Founder and Chief Executive of Ubuntu Education Fund, Jacob Lief, has spent years raising money from rich individuals and foundations. He eventually realized a startling fact; money was coming in but it wasn’t helping the people who’s mission the nonprofit was designed to help. The problem is that most large donors want to many strings attached to their money and also have arbitrary time limits where grants need to be applied for over and over. He, along with the Chairman of the Board of this charity, Andrew Rolfe, decided to start saying no thanks to those donors who placed restrictions on their donations and the charity is in a far better place now.

Ubuntu Education Fund is designed to help disadvantaged children in South Africa’s Port Elizabeth area earn an education and other necessary resources. After Jacob Lief and Andrew Rolfe settled on saying no to restrictions, they now focus on the high-net-worth individuals and foundations that don’t have strings in place. While this change of approach has led to less money being raised it has enabled them to help more children.

Many well-off donors give grants mainly so that they can have buildings and grants named after them. However, as Andrew Rolfe has pointed out, many of the things that cost money can’t have money spent on them due to this such as IT support, training, and the cost of staff. While the money that can be used for general operations has gone up over the last number of years it’s still to little to realistically operate a nonprofit.

In order to make sure that Ubuntu Education Fund and a potential donor are a good match, Jacob Lief and Andrew Rolfe start the discussion early with them on how the money is going to be used. If they can align goals early in the process the outcomes for the children in Port Elizabeth are much higher. This also clears up many disagreements on how the money is going to be spent and makes the donation process and negotiations much simpler and cleaner.


Andrew Rolfe: A Right Choice For Ubuntu Education Fund

Jacob Lief, CEO, and founder of Ubuntu Education Fund, after arranging a huge amount in an annual gathering at Davos, still feels like they are getting funds but they are not able to change the lives of peopled. Jacob created a company Ubuntu Education Fund (UEF) with a vision that it will help kids from Cape Province for their education and their bright future.

He has recently hired Andrew Rolfe as a Chairman and Andrew is now working beside Jacob in Ubuntu Education Fund to help him for his noble cause. Andrew Rolfe is working hard to improve the social welfare, health care and the education problems in Cape Town. Andrew Rolfe has very inspiring credentials which made him ideal selection to work beside, Jacob Lief, a man with a noble cause

Jacob with the assistance of Andrew Rolfe is always looking for a helping hand, but he always prefers hand from a philanthropist who has faith in him and his company. He refused for the funds that come with a limitation and that rejections show that he is true to his cause and he wants kids for their education without any education.

Serving on a board of a non-profit firm also let donors have a watch on the operations of a non-profit. That can often be helpful, particularly if a donor has appropriate professional experience. Because in such case he can help that non-profit to work more efficiently and reach the area where it could not be due to the lack of professional knowledge.

Even if a donor become personally involved or don’t join the board in shaping the strategy of an organization, the terms of a grant can also make restrictions about how non-profits use the money. Donors who are rich usually like helping for a particular project, setting up scholarship funds or making gifts for buildings which can carry their names. But Andrew never thought of the name. He always worked for a noble cause no matter if he would be the name for that achievement. He is happy with a feeling that he is working for his cause and someone, somewhere is getting an education because of Ubuntu Education Fund.