PLATINUM2022

Ubuntu Pathways

Cradle to Career

aka Ubuntu   |   New York, NY   |  www.ubuntupathways.org

Mission

When Jacob Lief and Malizole "Banks” Gwaxula founded Ubuntu Pathways in 1999, they started small, trying to address a single aspect of this educational crisis in South Africa. Working within Banks’ school, they distributed academic supplies to orphaned and vulnerable children living in the townships of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape). They quickly realized that education does not exist in a vacuum—the gap in opportunity was complex. Even when students had books, pencils, and notebooks, many continued to struggle in the classroom, distracted by hunger, issues at home, and HIV/AIDS. As Ubuntu grew, our mission evolved into something quite simple yet radical: to give our children what all children deserve—everything.

Ruling year info

2000

Founder and CEO

Mr. Jacob Lief

Founder and Senior Advisor

Mr. Malizole "Banks" Gwaxula

Main address

32 Broadway Suite 414

New York, NY 10004 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Ubuntu Education Fund

EIN

31-1705917

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (B11)

Community Health Systems (E21)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Gqeberha's (formerly Port Elizabeth's) townships, deep-rooted inequality and underdevelopment has weighed families down in a vicious cycle of poverty. They face insurmountable obstacles: 1 in 3 women is a victim of gender-based violence, the Eastern Cape region has the highest infant mortality rate in the country, and there is a 34.5% HIV prevalence rate in the townships. The broken education system fails to prepare students, as 40% do not pass high school, leading to a 80% youth unemployment rate. Our goal is to help vulnerable children and families overcome these challenges and place them on a pathway out of poverty, from cradle to career.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Household Stability

At Ubuntu, we understand that our children will struggle in school if they feel unsafe or insecure at home, and students who must look after their younger siblings often miss class to feed their families. Our interventions always begin with stabilizing our clients’ households. We provide home stability assessments conducted by trained social workers and counselors, food security support including food packages, nutritional supplements, and growth monitoring; psychosocial support for entire families, especially those affected by alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or extreme physical hardshipWe offer comprehensive healthcare to caregivers and encourage them to attend our drop-in computer, beadwork, baking, and gardening classes. These courses develop parents’ and grandparents’ marketable skills, helping them generate additional household income. By keeping families engaged at Ubuntu, we not only increase our client retention, but we also deepen the level of our impact.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

The townships of Gqeberha are confronted with an unequal healthcare system composed of private, well-funded facilities for the wealthy and under-resourced, overcrowded public clinics for the poor. Operating from within the region’s first state-of-the-art pediatric HIV clinic, Ubuntu provides our clients with world-class medical care. Ubuntu’s medical team treats and manages disease before it defines our clients’ lives. We conduct comprehensive patient screening and deliver personalized health interventions such as:

TB Prevention and Treatment: Ubuntu’s staff conducts TB tests through our open-door policy, which grants unrestricted access to free, safe testing for anyone in the community. We provide on-site treatment, medication, infection control, and referrals for specialized cases.

Primary and Preventative Care: Children and families receive a wider range of primary health services, such as routine physical exams, immunizations, and medication from our on-site pharmacy.

Population(s) Served

Like those in many low-income communities, families in the townships place their hopes for social mobility in education. Yet a child’s path to a bright future is often derailed by the township’s broken and inequitable education system. Ubuntu proactively addresses this opportunity gap through early interventions. Babies and toddlers aged 0-2 attend classes in our Early Years Programme with their caregivers and receive all-encompassing medical and psychosocial care. We also hold workshops and events targeted at positioning caregivers to provide healthy, stable homes. Ubuntu’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme provides a foundation for transforming the lives of children before they even enter school. We administer an emergent, play-based curriculum on par with the best early education programs in the world. ECD educators facilitate an emergent model that stimulates brain development, flexibility, fine and gross motor skills, and social interaction through constructive play.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Infants and toddlers
Children

Developing a successful, effective model is an immensely difficult process; sustaining it is quite another. We want to create an organization that is bigger than those who founded it—an institution that can continue to operate within the community long after its founders’ retirement. Ultimately, Ubuntu wants to empower a generation of South Africans who have the ability to address their country’s problems without relying on foreign aid. Investing in local leadership plays a profoundly important role in fostering organizational sustainability. Three years ago, Ubuntu created a world-class staff development initiative, Bertha-Ubuntu Internal Leadership Development (BUILD). Investing in local leadership, we developed intensive staff training programs to meet the needs of each employee, track staff members’ performance, and offer them the same comprehensive medical services that we give to our clients. The end results are clear—a highly effective, efficient, and dedicated staff.

BUILD’s impact is transformative. By hiring 95% of our employees from the community in which we work, Ubuntu helps create successful professionals who can mentor our children. Our students can observe firsthand that their environment does not have to limit their opportunities. When they visit nurses at our pediatric clinic, for instance, they are spending time with role models who grew up in the same neighborhoods and overcame the same obstacles. They are speaking with people who personally understand the challenges that they face. They are learning from our employees that their birthplaces do not have to determine their futures.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The townships of South Africa, crippled by broken infrastructure, bear the greatest brunt of the HIV/AIDS crisis. We mitigate the devastating effects of the virus in Gqeberha’s townships by providing life-saving HIV treatment, preventative care and educational outreach to disadvantaged children and their families. These efforts encompass: Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (EMTCT) Programme: We address the HIV epidemic before birth with a host of EMTCT interventions– antenatal services like ultrasounds, antiretroviral treatment, safe childbirth practices and infant feeding; infant HIV testing and inhibitors; and post-natal healthcare services, including breastfeeding support and newborn packs.

HIV/AIDS Treatment and Adherence Support: HIV-positive patients of all ages receive anti-retroviral medication and routine testing to maintain healthy viral loads, as well as adherence support. We engage in outreach initiatives to eradicate the stigma surrounding HIV.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with diseases and illnesses
Pregnant people
Children and youth
Adults
People with diseases and illnesses
Pregnant people
Children and youth

As the first high-achieving primary school in Gqeberha’s townships, the Ubuntu School is providing our students with the same quality of education that the country’s elite receive. The Ubuntu School’s approach is unique and innovative. While we provide each student with a strong academic foundation, we also provide the extracurricular, health, and household stability support necessary for children to thrive both in and out of the classroom. Through this integrated support system, every child has the resources she needs to build a healthy and financially stable future.

In 2021, we completed construction of a new, world-class primary school complex. This new facility facilitates a collaborative working space that utilizes natural landscape and outdoor space to help students learn in a productive and stimulating environment.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Ubuntu’s Job Skills Training (JST) Programme is our job-readiness course that prepares youth to attain and sustain employment. Our world-class vocational training center features classrooms, a technology wing, small business simulation and training workspaces, and counseling rooms. Utilizing these facilities, we implement targeted, market-driven training from culinary arts to coding. The Ubuntu Cafe--an operational business on our Campus– serves as a hands-on training ground for program participants to learn the ins and outs of the service industry.

Ubuntu utilizes an interactive, simulated approach to teach our JST candidates which gives them the opportunity to engage in discussions, receive feedback, learn from their peers, and build confidence in a workplace environment. Upon graduation, Ubuntu places JST graduates with various recruiting partners in our employment pipeline. We also provide job retention support, enabling JST graduates to achieve long term financial stability.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of children receiving comprehensive support across the areas of household stability, health, and education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Victims of crime and abuse, Students, Unemployed people

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Ubuntu provided 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children with individualized support from cradle to career, ensuring that they were placed on a pathway out of poverty.

Total number of case management plans

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Household Stability

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Interventions included home assessments, security upgrades, ventilation and sanitation interventions, food security support, child protection services, and psychosocial counseling.

Total percent of HIV-positive mothers that gave birth to healthy, HIV-negative babies

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Primary and Preventative Healthcare

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission program provided comprehensive support from ultrasounds to HIV care specific to their pregnancies to HIV inhibitors and testing for newborns.

Total percent of toddlers in our Early Childhood Development program that attained age-appropriate developmental milestones and were primary-school ready

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Early Years Initiative

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Toddlers achieved age-appropriate developmental milestones along the categories of literacy, numeracy, fine and gross motor skills, socio-emotional capacity, language acquisition, and cognition.

Total percent of Grade 12 students that passed their matric exam, a qualifying test for university

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Early Years Initiative

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

94% of Grade 12 students in Ubuntu’s Future Leaders Program pass high school and gain access to university, compared to a national pass rate of 71%.

Total percent of out-of-school youth that were placed in rewarding employment opportunities

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Early Years Initiative

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Youth unemployment rates in the townships are estimated at 80%, and Ubuntu combats this through placing youth into employment and providing retention support through our job-readiness program.

Total percent of clients who adhere to their HIV/AIDS treatment and medication program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Primary and Preventative Healthcare

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Ubuntu clients adhered to their HIV/AIDS treatment at a rate of 96%, compared to a rate of 75% in South Africa and 57% in the townships of Port Elizabeth

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Education has the potential to act as a great equalizer, lifting millions out of poverty while sustaining economic development. Yet the gulf in educational opportunities between Africa and the rest of the world is widening. South of the Sahara, four million students attend school only to drop out, 17 million children never enroll, and 31 million more are out of school. This gap, however, is not created solely by enrollment and years spent in the classroom—it stems from the disparity in the quality of learning and the multifaceted obstacles that prevent students from focusing on their studies. Of the 97 million pupils enrolled in school, 37 million are not learning, and one out of every two graduates will reach adolescence unable to read, write, or understand basic numeracy. In South Africa alone, 52% of poor students are not learning, and the country's mathematics and science educational systems place in the bottom five of the World Economic Forum's Global IT rankings.

When Jacob Lief and Malizole “Banks" Gwaxula founded Ubuntu Education Fund in 1999, they started small, trying to address a single aspect of this educational crisis in South Africa. Working within Banks' school, they distributed academic supplies to orphaned and vulnerable children living in the townships of Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape. They quickly realized that education does not exist in a vacuum—the gap in opportunity was complex. Even when students had books, pencils, and notebooks, many continued to struggle in the classroom, distracted by hunger, issues at home, and HIV/AIDS. As Ubuntu grew, our mission evolved into something quite simple yet radical: to give our 2,000 children what all children deserve—everything. We want to help them grow into healthy, stable, and financially independent adults.

To move 2,000 orphaned and vulnerable children on Ubuntu's pathway out of poverty, we focus on the depth rather than the breadth of our impact. We provide cradle to career, holistic interventions, trying to give our clients everything that they need to break cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement. We begin by stabilizing homes and families with our integrated household stability program. We simultaneously provide comprehensive medical services to help clients get and stay healthy. Then, our educators offer academic programming from early childhood development initiatives to university scholarships and job readiness training. Ubuntu works with our clients and their families from as young as birth to when they attain careers. Our long-term commitment is our solution to pervasive poverty and inequality in Gqeberha, South Africa.

Ubuntu's ability to drive meaningful change is tied to our partnerships with local community institutions, regional corporations, and national governmental departments. We have formalized relationships with the Eastern Cape Department of Health and Department of Social Development to strengthen our household stability, COVID-19 response, and medical capacities. We also work with the South African Police Service, Uviwe Child and Youth Services, as well as local clinics and regional health facilities.

As a community-based organization, Ubuntu not only prioritizes partnerships with local stakeholders, but we also are based within the heart of our beneficiary community--Zwide Township. The Ubuntu Campus is the physical embodiment of our philosophy and houses an array of world-class resources. In 2021, we completed construction of a new, state-of-the-art primary school complex. This new space facilitates a collaborative working space that utilizes natural landscape and outdoor space to help students learn in a productive and stimulating environment. The completion of the Ubuntu School will be the culmination of our cradle-to-career model, allowing us to provide the orphaned and vulnerable children of Gqeberha, South Africa, what all children deserve – everything, every day.

Ubuntu Pathways has developed a holistic pathway that takes children and families from vulnerability to stability and success. Our transformative theory of change is rooted in four guiding mandates: developing cradle to career programs; prioritizing depth over breadth of impact; investing in the sustainability of our institution, and listening to and learning from our community. Through a comprehensive system of education, health, and household support, we are placing 2,000 vulnerable children and their families on pathways out of poverty––from cradle to career. Our model consists of:
- Early childhood and primary education that will grow into a grade R-12 education pathway by 2029
- Intensive psycho-social support particularly as community members have experienced profound loss due to COVID-19
- Job skills training that provides young people with access to the world of work
- Comprehensive health and household stability services for children and families
Like those in many low-income communities, families in the townships place their hopes for social mobility in education. Yet a child’s path to a bright future is often derailed by the township’s broken and inequitable education system. Ubuntu proactively addresses this opportunity gap through high-quality early interventions. In the last year, we maintained our 100% rate of Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDs. 100% of the oldest Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program class achieved the milestones required to graduate to primary school, despite setbacks from the pandemic.
In order to advance and reach their highest potential, our ECD graduates need continued high-quality education in a safe environment. To deliver on this need, we established the Ubuntu School. In the 2021 school year, students continued to achieve academic and social milestones despite the traumatic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19, Ubuntu's Job Skills Training candidates continued to thrive. 200 candidates returned to work in 2021 after having their jobs placed on hold in 2020. We continue multi-pronged community outreach to job seekers and employers alike and currently have over 400 candidates engaged in the program.
Ubuntu’s community has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We’ve faced some of the highest rates of death in the world, as well as drought, energy shortages, and political insecurity. Despite these significant challenges, we run a massive and impactful COVID response in our area, while maintaining our commitment to comprehensive care. We reopened our campus beginning in February 2021 and we continue to provide our comprehensive wraparound services. We conducted a massive food security initiative that reached over 30,000 individuals. In June 2021, Ubuntu launched the first COVID-19 vaccine hub in the city. Today, we are one of the top vaccine distributers in the Eastern Cape and have vaccinated over 33,000 people.


Financials

Ubuntu Pathways
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Ubuntu Pathways

Board of directors
as of 12/07/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andrew Rolfe

Towerbrook Capital Partners

Paulo Eapen

Blackstone

Malizole "Banks" Gwaxula

Ubuntu Pathways

Kim Howard

FirstRand Trust

Jacob Lief

Ubuntu Pathways

Frank Lipman

Eleven Eleven Wellness Center

Rush McCloy

Phalkon Ventures

Ziyanda Ntshona

Webber Wentzel

Daniel Osorio

Andean Capital Management

Stephanie Pottruck Goldman

Goldman Events

Andrew Rolfe

TowerBrook Capital Partners

Ciko Thomas

Nedbank Group

Bill Voge

Latham & Watkins, LLP

Scott Schleifer

Tiger Global Management

Deborah Shainfeld

Property Development and Entrepreneur

Colin Cowie

Colin Cowie Lifestyle

Steve Miller

Warby Parker

Nicola Drago

De Agostini Publishing

Anne Fass

Child Psychologist and Philanthropist

Louise Bennetts

JP Morgan UK

Kholisa Thomas

Aspire Art

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/21/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Unknown
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/07/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.