The Graduate School—Newark is honored to present Lorenzo Davids, CEO of Community Chest South Africa. He is a global leader in social development who has worked for decades to tackle the root causes of poverty and to improve the lives of the underserved. His work helps address the stark inequities left behind by apartheid in South Africa.
“I believe that our connected innovation, connected intelligence, connected influence and our connected integrity will build a safer, united and better world for all,” he says.
Since 2012, Davids has led Community Chest, a development organization that distributes millions of dollars a year to more than 600 non-profit organizations across South Africa. Its focus is on supporting education, health, and income generation. Davids is also part of a group of 12 people chosen from around the world by United Way Worldwide to form the Global CEO Development Program for Non-Profit Organizations.
Over the course of his career, Davids has helped develop dozens of projects. Among them are: residential facilities for street children, a center for victims of child abuse, a school for at-risk youth, a computer literacy center, a women’s crisis center, and a hospice.
Prior to his appointment at Community Chest, Davids served as CEO of the City Mission in Cape Town for 14 years. He also founded Urban Issues Consulting, which focused on social development research and corporate social investment. As well, he has held positions with the South African government and its department of education.
Davids is a founding board member of the homelessness magazine, The Big Issue, in Cape Town, and of the Christel House South Africa, a school offering world-class education to children from impoverished communities. A graduate of the University of the Western Cape, Davids believes that development efforts are most effective and sustainable when they focus on education.