As one of the first scholarship recipients of the Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation (CEFF) in 1984, Riaan Els returned to the Foundation during 1997 as Chief Executive Officer – a role he has fulfilled for the past 22 years. The CEFF grantmaking programmes, based in Midrand, Johannesburg, are focused in the areas of Childcare, Health Services and Higher Education.

Riaan holds a PhD from the University of Johannesburg and he has a special interest in the Higher Education sector, where he serves on several advisory boards of local universities and universities of technology (such as UJ, WITS and UP), as well as honorary Board membership of a number of special interest institutions within the sector (such as HEDSA, MACE, etc). He has also retained a consultancy practice that renders advisory services in the fields of organisational strategy design, governance and leadership development, funding and grantmaking practice and enhancing human capital/team capacity in the private, public and non-profit sectors.