About Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation

Photo: Private

How it all started

The Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation is a fundraising foundation founded in 2013 by the musician Måns Zelmerlöw when he was given the opportunity to finance a school in South Africa. In order to provide longer-term financing, Måns turned to his friend Jonas Björkman – who had long been involved in charitable initiatives – for his help. Måns and Jonas had previously engaged donors for various types of charities, but they felt unsure about both how funds were utilized and the impact of their commitments. By creating a fundraising foundation together, the duo were able to follow the money all the way to its purpose and thereby see firsthand the results and effects of their engagement. 

By combining their two biggest interests, singing and tennis, they created the foundation’s principal fundraising event, the Zelmerlöw and Björkman Invitational, ZBI, which was how the collaboration initially started, which has since taken place every Autumn. ZBI consists of a ProAm tennis tournament and a gala dinner.

Vulnerable children and youth should be provided an education, have the opportunity to develop their talents and be shown a pathway out of poverty. We believe that this will lead to a world that is a better place for everyone to live, which is also why we started our foundation.”

Jonas Björkman & Måns Zelmerlöw,  founders of Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation. 

Photo: Frida Ström

Our mission

Zelmerlöw & Björkman Foundation empowers vulnerable youth in parts of Africa from one of isolation and poverty to employment and independence. This happens through education and entrepreneurship. 

Our purpose

Despite education being a fundamental human right, an estimated 774 million people worldwide are unable to read or write – of which two thirds are women, and 140 million youth do not have access to schooling equivalent to a secondary education. Scientific research shows that good quality education is fundamental for prosperity, good health and equality in society. Education systems worldwide must meet people’s needs throughout their lives – from pre-school, primary school, high school and higher education. Learning is key to prosperity and opens up a world of opportunities, thereby allowing every person to feel hope for their future and contribute to a sustainable society.

Our work in Sweden

We are an operative team of 1.3 employees located in Sweden – the General Secretary and the program manager – who lead the work together with the Board and a group of fantastic volunteers. We are a small evolving organization, active in fund-raising, increasing awareness about the organization and advocating our belief that together we can make the world a little better by empowering youth all the way to a brighter future. 

Our fantastic donors and partners

Since 2013, we have financed education projects in various regions of Africa thanks to our generous donors and partners. These projects include:

– Educational projects in South Africa, together with Star for Life.

– A day center for street boys in Uganda, together with Children of Ssuubi.

– Project for a school in Ethiopia.

However, and above all, after several years of close collaboration with Global Relations and Isaach Macharia, we can proudly present the Kenswed model in Ngong Hills, Kenya.
The Kenswed-model is based on the fact that to ensure vulnerable youth transition out of poverty, it is not enough to only provide an academic education to support them discovering their personal drive – it also requires other elements such as a creative environment, good health and access to basic personal needs. The Kenswed-model consists of a high school, a boarding school, a dining hall, a well to provide students and their nearby families with fresh water, sports, creative activities and the health- and maternity clinic Kenswed Hospital. We are convinced that education, together with good health and creative activities, is key to prosperity that opens up a world of opportunities. In this way, every person can feel hope for their future and contribute to a sustainable society.

Want to know more?

Fill in the form below, send an email to hello@zbfoundation.se or call +46 8 660 40 20.