Russell Ally

Executive Director of Alumni & Development at University of Cape Town

Dr Russell Ally was appointed executive director of the Development and Alumni Department (DAD) from 1 August 2013. He worked for the previous 5 years at the Ford Foundation, an endowed, non-profit grant-making foundation based in New York. As Ford’s programme officer for Southern Africa, Ally oversaw the Governance and Civil Society Programme in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. A UCT alumnus, Ally started his career as a history teacher at the John Bisseker Senior Secondary School in East London. He obtained his master’s at Rhodes University and a doctorate from Cambridge University, both in history. He then worked as a senior history researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand where he served on Senate and Council and was founding chairperson of the Academic Staff Association. Before joining the Ford Foundation Ally was the Country Representative and Executive Director of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in South Africa and worked for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Earlier, Ally served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Human Rights Violation Committee, chaired by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. As the Executive Director, Ally is responsible for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of all strategic and operational activities regarding UCT’s development and fundraising endeavours. These include: strengthening donor and alumni relations developing fundraising and capital campaigns and bequest programmes tapping into philanthropic and corporate social investment goals of foundations and corporations in Africa and abroad. DAD is tasked with ensuring that fundraising strategies yield adequate resources to achieve the university’s mission at a time when higher education funding streams face significant risks.


  • Executive Director of Alumni & Development

    Current role

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