HOW IT ALL STARTED
We want to create a better world for marginalized youth. Our foundation was founded in 2013 by Måns Zelmerlöw after his visit to South Africa. While he was there he met lots of students who, despite poor living conditions, were full of joy and hope for a better future. 1/3 of the students had HIV/Aids, many were orphans and had neither a roof over their head nor food for the day.
When Måns got back to Sweden he was asked if he would like to finance one of the schools he had visited, and he accepted the offer without hesitation. However, there was a need for funds and support, which is why a long-time friend Jonas Björkman became the perfect partner in the newly founded foundation. Both Måns and Jonas had had a background in charity work, but they had often felt uneasy about how the money was really spent. By combining their professions, singing and playing tennis, they created Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation’s annual event, the Zelmerlöw & Björkman Invitational; a ProAm tennis tournament with a following gala dinner and charity auction.
Today, thanks to all who continue to support us, the foundation has grown to finance one school in Kenya, three schools in South Africa, and a day center in Uganda. Additionally, we are currently building a brand-new school in Ethiopia. We make sure that the teachers at our schools are paid, that the students get food during school hours and that they have school uniforms. We have also provided the school in Kenya with a well for fresh water and built a boarding school for female students, many of whom are homeless.
With your help, we can create opportunities for the youth to discover and develop their passions. Our mission is to educate responsible individuals who choose to give back to their community.
We promise that all funds donated will be used both carefully and responsibly, and that they make an actual difference for the children at our schools. Our contributors can and should expect clear information on where the funds will go and what kind of difference they will create. Following up and seeking results is part of our daily work, as well as our commitment to keep the administrative costs low.
We are so confident in the above that we are proud to put our name as a guarantee.
Måns & Jonas
For many years I volunteered with a variety of charities, often with a sense of dissatisfaction. I did not know where the money went or what my effort meant for the children I wanted to help. I myself had a safe upbringing in Lund, Sweden, and I am currently able to do what I always dreamed of: being on stage. This opportunity is what I also want to give children and young people; to live their dreams. Whether it is children who are exceptionally good at math, sports, music or anything else, I believe in giving people the opportunity to help themselves. I wanted to start something that can ultimately be operated and funded entirely on location, without our involvement or money. Marginalized children and young people should have the opportunity to get an education, they should be given the chance to develop their talents and they should be shown a way out of their marginalization. If we give them this, I believe the world will become a better place for us all to live in. This is why I started my foundation.
In my life I have met people, both in Sweden and around the world, with completely different backgrounds and histories. When I saw the potential of these people in their respective fields it always led to a strong desire within me to see them develop and flourish. When Måns Zelmerlöw described his thoughts about the foundation and its purpose, I felt that here it is, this is exactly what I have been waiting for. Now I am part of helping other people to develop. To be involved and make a difference, and to be able to do it with Måns, means a lot to me.