A Global Standard for Community Transformation

Over the past 18 years, what began as a fortuitous meeting between two strangers has grown into an internationally-recognized model for development. Our impact is made possible by trusting those closest to the problem to create the solution. In partnership with the Bertha Foundation, we have created a world-class staff development initiative. Today, 95% of the team at the Ubuntu Campus in Port Elizabeth, South Africa comes from the community we serve. These staff members are leaders in their community, driving the vision of one of the most innovative organizations on the continent. 

Our Founders

Separated by race, nationality, and age, Jacob Lief and Malizole “Banks” Gwaxula were brought together by something far more powerful––the spirit of ubuntu, roughly translated as I am because you are'. Their unexpectedly profound journey has inspired a new, bold thinking about breaking the cycle of poverty. 


Meet Our Team

Want to Work With Us?

In addition to our headquarters in South Africa, we have fundraising offices in New York and London.

“You are not helpless, you are not ciphers that can be manipulated. You are people who can prepare your own thoughts.”

— Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Ubuntu Pathways Patron

& Evaluation

Monitoring and Evaluation

Ubuntu measures success not by textbooks distributed, but by university graduates. Annually, we conduct an on-track/off-track assessment, an evaluation framework developed in partnership with McKinsey & Company, to determine our impact and maintain organizational accountability. A client who is on-track is defined as one who is moving toward a successful outcome—a healthy, financially stable life.

Annual Reports

  • 2016


    Everything. Everyday.

  • 2015


    Growing Up.

  • 2014


    A Million To One: Changing The Odds

  • 2013


    Made In South Africa

  • 2012


    Should Your Birthplace Determine Your Future?

  • 2011


    From Cradle To Career

  • 2010


    Life’s Journey, One Step At A Time

  • 2009


    10 Years: It’s Working

  • 2008


    I Am Because You Are

  • 2007


    For the Children of South Africa

  • 2006


    For the Children of South Africa

  • 2005


    Investing In Results

  • 2004


    It’s All About Community

  • 2003


    Annual Report