Our non-profit work has focused on education. Here are two examples.


Two children out of three have no formal early childhood development. They are handicapped from the start.  DGMT, the Hollard Foundation and Elna Foundation came together to level the playing fields. The challenge was to offer consistent, top-quality ECD, at scale and at a fraction of the normal cost.

In a process facilitated by Freedthinkers, a compelling purpose was developed –

to give every child the power to succeed

This purpose led to a unique social franchise and distinct brand. SmartStart has reached well over 100 000 children in low-income areas through 6 000 female entrepreneurs across the country. The success and cost-effectiveness have attracted significant new funding for growth.

“The beauty of Freedthinkers is its ability to break out of conventional thinking, while concentrating the mind at the same time; to explore a plethora of ideas even as they are distilled into a powerful concept at the heart of a brand.”

David Harrison, CEO DGMT


Columba Leadership

Secondary schools in places of high unemployment can be breeding grounds of helplessness, drugs, gangs, young teen pregnancies and drop-outs. Few who start in secondary school finish with a matric pass. Columba Leadership was founded in 2009 to ensure that hundreds of thousands of young people become alive to their potential and recognize their ability to lead change in their own lives, their schools and communities. This was being achieved by an intense focus on potential learner leaders to embed, with select educators, a values-based leadership model which could cascade through the schools. A common question was whether this offered less cost-effectiveness than broad-based programmes.

Freedthinkers were asked to develop a model of change. And facilitate a shared purpose to inspire and guide learners, educators, staff and funders. The outcome:

The model of change is expressed in a simple infographic.

MoC Fable Studios 27 Feb 2018

And a purpose that expresses the meaningful difference Columba Leadership is here to make:
Transforming the culture of schools to change the trajectory of youth

Mike Freedman, Pippa Kapelus and research team.

“freedthinkers excel at synthesizing complexity into compelling but simple statements and visual representations.
This assists not only communication with external parties but aligning internal stakeholders as well.”

Tracy Hackland, CEO Columba Leadership