About us

About Karl Flowers

Karl Flowers was ‘just another kid’ from the Cape Flats. He was born to a single mom and, raised with the help of her extended family.  During his early childhood, Karl’s home was Heideveld and then, for a brief period, it was Mitchells Plain. He lived his formative and schooling years in the then-segregated ‘coloured’ suburb, Lansdowne with his maternal grandmother and aunt.  

Karl was, of necessity, a survivalist – hardworking, purpose-filled and self-driven.

But there was something special about him. His mathematics teacher at Livingstone High School noticed his attitude and talents and became somewhat of a mentor to him, changing the trajectory of Karl’s life. As long as he lived, Karl remained mindful of the fact that had a wise and caring adult not stepped in, he might have had a very different future. 

Instead, he was taken up and sponsored. He matriculated from Hilton College, one of South Africa’s finest schools; and later graduated from the University of Cape Town as a Chartered Accountant. As a corporate strategic consultant, he consulted at the highest level globally and built up a deeply impressive personal and professional network.

In his early to mid-’20s Karl lost both aunt and grandmother, who had provided a home and raised him.  During this time he also took on the responsibility of raising his two younger cousins, when he became their legal guardian.  With the help and support of his mom, Karl was able to provide the stability of a home-life for his wards while he pursued his studies, career, and business opportunities.

It was the tragic death of his teenage cousin in 1999 that deeply impacted and influenced Karl’s future life decisions and final wishes.  At age 36, just four years after starting and running his own successful strategic consulting business, Karl stepped away from corporate life and entered a more reflective phase which ultimately led to his joining the African Leadership Network, a community of people who were, like himself, profoundly purpose-driven.  Karl died suddenly at the age of 44 of natural causes.

Karl left most of what he had to establish this Trust. Its mandate: To pay forward the good fortune Karl had himself enjoyed.

About Trustees

Earl Sampson

Earl has spent most of his career in the oil industry across a number of roles, countries, and cultures with long term assignments in Venezuela and the UK. He grew up in Cape Town and studied Chemistry at UCT after completing a student exchange year in Bolivia, South America. 

Earl is a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI) and is a strong supporter of transformation and growth in South Africa, through values based leadership. He currently lives in Johannesburg with his wife and son, 3 dogs, and a bearded dragon. He runs marathons and ultra-marathons to occupy the rest of his time.

Karen Bruckner

Karen Bruckner is a wife and mother to two young adults. She is passionate about children, family, health, education, and human rights issues.

In 2011, after 24 years in the banking sector with experience ranging from retail investments to corporate treasury, she voluntarily left her banking career behind to plough her energy into her family and making a difference in civil society, specifically through education.

She has since been involved in the external evaluation report of the Western Cape Education’s Literacy and Numeracy Phase 3 intervention with regard to the data analysis.  She is also a contributor for a chapter of Continuing Professional Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Improving Teaching and Learning (Bloomsbury Academic 2018). ,

Leigh Meinert

Leigh is one of South Africa’s foremost social entrepreneurs and educational pioneers having co-founded and led TSIBA Education, chaired the board of IkamvaYouth for over a decade,  and worked in educational reform as the National Coordinator of the Public School Partnerships initiative.  M&G newspaper repeatedly recognized her at one of SA’s “Top 200 Young People”. Leigh holds a BA in Value and Policy Studies from the University of Stellenbosch and an MPhil in Higher Education Studies from UCT. She also earned a Post-Graduate Diploma in Coaching from Middlesex University.  Leigh currently works as a partner at Soulfull Collective (https://soulfull.co.za/)

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