how else can I connect?

For the Ubuntu Global Connections team and wider community, being involved with and supporting grassroots non-profits such as these has been one of life’s most rewarding experiences; for all, eye-opening and humbling, and for many transformative. We hope you’ll consider connecting with us in any one of the following ways:

  • Make in-kind donations
  • Volunteer in South Africa
  • Attend fundraising events
  • Host fundraising events
  • Participate in informational Zoom calls with these organizations to hear about updates and developments
  • Stay in the loop by signing up to receive a short bi-annual update from Ubuntu Global Connections

meet the team

founder

Amy Gleason

Amy Gleason established Ubuntu Global Connections in 2011 in an effort to support South Africans dedicated to eliminating the pervasive inequities remaining in post-Apartheid South Africa. She decided to start the organization after visiting South Africa with several groups and finding that Americans on these cultural immersion and service trips were inspired to do more after they returned home.

Ubuntu Global Connections, a Massachusetts based 501(c)3 non-profit organization, provides a tax-deductible conduit for U.S. donors to fund select South African non-profit organizations that Amy has come to know, trust and value during her many visits there.  She has been to South Africa more than 25 times since 2008 and her connections with individuals and organizations there are the basis for her motivation to return again and again. Amy and the people with whom she has traveled have maintained relationships with the leaders of these organizations and have observed the amazing impact that they have had over the past 10 years.  Since its formation, Ubuntu Global Connections has funneled donations from Americans of more than $350,000 in support of its partner non-profit organizations.

Contact Amy at amy@ubuntuconnects.org.

the board

The Ubuntu Global Connections board members have all visited South Africa with Amy on one or more occasions, and have come to appreciate the work of the organization’s South African non-profit partners, and  the significance of fundraising for them in the United States.

Becca Brewster

Becca has 25 years of fundraising experience for educational institutions. She currently oversees parent fundraising and engagement programs at Phillips Academy Andover in Andover, MA. Becca traveled to South Africa in August 2019, with her husband Toby, Amy, and David to visit the Eastern Cape region and learn about the work of the Axium Education team and other Ubuntu partners in the Zithulele community. Becca’s international interests and experiences started 35 years ago when she lived and worked in North Africa with the Peace Corps.

Chris Coffin

During her teaching years at Middlesex School, Chris Coffin chaperoned three student trips to South Africa with Amy  while teaching at Middlesex School.  Several Middlesex students described their trip to South Africa as “life changing” for them and Chris hopes that supporting the efforts of Ubuntu Global Connections would serve as a “life changing” impact for South African students as well.  Chris currently teaches at Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA and aspires to offer student cultural immersion/service trips to South Africa.

Blaise Foley

Blaise graduated from Colby College in 2019 where he studied environmental policy and economics. He now works as an Environmental Specialist for Triumvirate Environmental in Cambridge, MA.  Blaise’s high school trips to South Africa were truly eye-opening for him, and he joined the Ubuntu Global Connections Board to be able to make an ongoing positive impact there.

Mike Gathercole

A South African, Mike started his tourism company, 2 Way Travel, to share his passion for his country with visitors.  He has been involved with Ubuntu Global Connections since its inception in 2011 and has guided virtually all of Amy’s 25+ trips to South Africa.  He has visited the US many times, three of which were to fundraise for Axium Education.

Julie Kleyn

Julie has a long-standing connection with South Africa through her parents who live there for most of the year. She has an advertising/writing background and hopes to be able to put this to good use for Ubuntu Global Connections.. Julie’s most recent trip to South Africa (March 2020) involved organizing fund-raising events for Axium Education and meeting some of Ubuntu Global Connections’ partner non-profits in the Eastern Cape.

Ben Painter

Ben graduated from Bowdoin College in 2019 and works at a  small nonprofit organization called the Mindfulness Director Initiative, which is working to get full time mindfulness teachers into schools. Ben fell in love with South Africa over the course of a few trips there. He worked for Axium Education for one summer. He is eager to help Ubuntu Global Connections have an impact through its partnerships.

Mimi Deck Rutledge

Mimi is a retired lawyer and is currently on the board (and past president) of a local non-profit (Household Goods in Acton, MA). Her work at Household Goods centers around communications, fundraising, and non-profit management. Mimi traveled to South Africa twice with Amy, and, with Julie, organized another trip in March 2020 for a group of women, which included two fundraising events for Axium Education. Mimi also helped organize a paddle tennis fundraiser for Axium Education in Boston in 2019 and hopes that will become an annual event.

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