Andrew Rolfe and Ubuntu: Charity Without Strings

If there is one thing that Andrew Rolfe has realized since a young age it would be the old adage, “You get out what you put in.” In every business endeavor he has been engaged in, he has carried that mantle. He continues to carry that mantle with his work with the Ubuntu Fund as well.

Andrew Rolfe and his associate Jacob Lief have always been impressed with the work that the Ubuntu Fund has accomplished. However, they recently noticed a rather disturbing trend: Even though they were receiving a large amount of donations, they weren’t changing people’s lives. Rolf and Lief quickly discovered what was causing the problem.

Lief and Rolfe soon realized that receiving funds from high net-worth individuals was valueless because it usually involved strings regarding how the money could be spent. They now focus on finding wealthy donors who are simply committed to them helping poor African families in whatever means necessary.

The ways that some individuals specify how they want their donations used can literally run the gauntlet. Some insist that their money is spent on a particular program, while others want some input on how the overall program is run.

Many individuals really throw their weight around!

According to Andrew Rolfe and his associates, one individual who was particularly hard to appease was the late Peter Lewis. Lewis made millions selling car insurance in Cleveland and once caused a 12-month boycott to happen simply because he did not like how the funds he donated were being managed. He had a long feud with Case Western Reserve University in particular, claiming they corrupted funds he sent in order to build a Frank Gehry-designed building.

Rolfe and Lief both agree that chasing dollars is not a wise move for charities. Many organizations are continuing to shy away from individuals who are simply attempting to buy influence with a given charity.

Luckily, many individuals are now saying “thanks but no thanks” and they are seeking other sources for funding. Andrew Rolfe will continue to work to be a pioneer in charity management as long as he is able.