Who We Are
The Lester Fund is a small US family foundation that has funded education and employment programs for low-income youth and women in East and West Africa since 2010.
Propelled by a decade of experience working with US employment programs for low-income individuals, the foundation began funding programs for women and girls in Liberia after the Liberian Civil War. Since 2013 we have prioritized funding for youth employment and education programs in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Our work is grounded in the beliefs that:
- Employment is the principal pathway out of poverty.
- Key drivers of unemployment and underemployment are the lack of decently-paying jobs, and the mismatch between jobseeker skills and employer needs.
- These problems will be magnified exponentially in coming decades as more youth enter the workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa than on all other continents combined.
- There are nonprofit and community-based organizations, schools and employers all over Africa working on solutions to these problems. Their efforts should be supported. The best of their models, best practices and learnings should be shared to quickly advance the knowledge of what works.