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News and Opinions

"Late last month saw the Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA) host its annual Philanthropy Symposium at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). This year, the organisation tackled the role that philanthropy can play in enhancing social cohesion in South Africa.

Sarah Rennie, chairperson of IPASA, welcomed delegates while setting the tone of the conversation for the rest of the two-day event. Rennie called for greater collaboration from all sectors of society: "We need hope for our future in order to build, commit, create, imagine, and reinvent the very many multiple solutions that we need for our current problems, and we need trust because, ultimately, everything we do is a collective endeavour, and so we have to have some trust in each other."

IPASA is a voluntary association of independent philanthropists, private foundations and other organisations associated with philanthropy. The organisation aims to contribute to a learning agenda, enabling thought leadership among its members, collaborating and building a culture of giving among South Africans."

Read more on BizCommunity

One member of Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge isn't satisfied with how his fellow billionaires have responded to the challenge to give away the majority of their fortunes.

"Bill Gates and Warren Buffett organised a kind of institution that is growing steadily, and perhaps not as rapidly as we hoped, but rapidly in the eyes of many," telecommunications billionaire Leonard Tow said of the Giving Pledge while accepting an award for his own giving at the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy award ceremony in New York City on October 16.

"According to a national research study released in October 2017, Civil Society in South Africa, the number of registered non-profit organisations (NPOs) was 145,152 in October 2015. The Department of Social Development (DSA), which supplied these figures, indicated that numbers of registered NPOs "increase daily". In fact, more recent DSA statistics put the number of NPOs at 201,644.

The study (an initiative of the Funding Practice Alliance ‒ Inyathelo, Community Development Resource Association and Social Change Assistance Trust, and funded by the National Lotteries Commission) revealed that the majority of South African NPOs are newly established and ‘micro’ (annual income less than R50,000) to ‘small’ (annual income greater than or equal to R50,000 but less than R500,000). It is estimated that the sector provides over a million employment opportunities, both paid and unpaid. However, the vast majority of organisations (96.9% of the sample size) handle fundraising internally – they do not have the resources to employ professional fundraisers. "

Read more on bizcommunity.com


"For many, “philanthropy” — both the word and the field — conjures up images of elitism. Questions are proliferating about philanthropy’s power dynamics and whether billionaires benefit more than average citizens do: for example, Anand Giridharadas in Winners Take All, Rob Reich in Just Giving, and Edgar Villanueva in Decolonizing Wealth.

As good as those published works may be, the discussion about them reinforces the elitism that they decry. Even worse, while these book are often described as a new wave of criticism, that is hardly the case: There have long been valid critiques of philanthropy, especially from community organizers, grassroots nonprofits, and innovative social entrepreneurs."

Read more in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

"Philanthropy as we know it is changing. The traditional practice of cheque-giving is making way for the likes of impact investing and venture philanthropy as the wealthy seek newer, more collaborative ways to give back to society - a trend that's especially prevalent amongst the next-gen, who tend to pursue purpose in their endeavours.

Amidst this shift, we view the rise of social enterprises in both Asia and the rest of the world as a core element in philanthropy's next chapter. These social enterprises - for-profit businesses with a social mission - are determined to address societal problems, and could potentially spark significant positive impact if provided with the necessary guidance and resources."

Read more in The Business Times

The newly established Chair in African Philanthropy – a joint initiative between the University of Witwatersrand Business School (WBS) and the Southern Africa Trust aims to mainstream the narrative of African philanthropy and the practice of gifting through the promotion of pan-African research, teaching and dialogue. Prof Alan Fowler, visiting chair, speaks about the need for an enhanced discourse and deeper understanding of African philanthropy.


Read more: African Philanthropy and Gifting

'It’s more than 50 years since Neville Isdell graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT), but he’s remained forever grateful. And on Thursday, UCT announced that the 76-year-old former chair and CEO of Coca-Cola had made his second $1m-plus donation to the university. Last time the money went to the UCT Rugby Football Club, where Isdell took over as president this year. The latest donation of $1.24m (about R18m) will be spent on researching new medicines for infectious diseases at the UCT Drug Discovery and Development Centre, H3D. “I am excited about playing a part in helping to achieve African solutions to public health challenges on the continent and across the world,” Isdell said.'

Read more in Times Live

"Research shows that women, whether wealthy or not, outpace men at similar income levels when it comes to charitable giving. But female donors respond to different fundraising tactics than male givers do, and few nonprofits are actively working to attract and cultivate women supporters."

Read more in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

South African humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers, the largest African organisation of its kind, has brought aid and comfort to people in need in 43 countries.

It has ongoing feeding programmes in South Africa, humanitarian missions in war-torn Syria and has helped to free South African hostages in Yemen and Mali. The group, founded and led by Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman, has helped to deliver water to drought stricken areas of South Africa and fed refugees in Somalia.

 Read More: Gift of the Givers: 25 years of philanthropy, by Owen Williams, Brand South Africa

by Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo

African philanthropy is moving into a defining era. Across the continent, for the first time in history, African philanthropy is beginning to take a formal and central role in questions of development and sustainability and is increasingly informing policy processes at a national level.

Read more: Trends in African Philanthropy

Compare today to the way things were a decade or a century ago. The world is healthier and safer than ever. The number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and keeps going down. The number of mothers who die has also dropped dramatically. So has extreme poverty—declining by nearly half in just 20 years. More children are attending school. The list goes on and on.

Read more: Bill Gates and Melinda Gates: 2018 Annual Letter

by Sello Hatang

At this year’s Nelson Mandela Lecture, Bill Gates spoke on the theme ‘Living Together’. Gates spoke compellingly to the fact that Africa can achieve the future it aspires to. But to do so, we need to learn to do things differently and to find creative ways of empowering our youth to make a difference. We need to find sustainable solutions to what have become critical human challenges.

Gates is an example of the extraordinary steps an individual can make in transforming society. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has altered the lives of millions of people – particularly those in Africa – increasing life expectancy and education levels, and almost eliminating certain types of diseases. In addition, Gates has encouraged other HNW individuals to sign ‘The Giving Pledge’, which is a commitment by these individuals to distribute a substantial percentage of their individual fortunes to philanthropic causes. As of March 2016, over $365 billion has been pledged by HNW individuals globally as part of this initiative. In this way, Gates represents the personally invested active citizenship role that HNW individuals can play

Read more: Active Citizenry and Transformative Change in South Africa

by Mzamo Masito, Sarah Collins, Didi Mogashoa 

Philanthropy is most often associated with big names and big money, the distant domain of foundations and billionaires. But, in Africa, a culture of giving is part of the fabric of our lives and our communities. The word ‘philanthropy’ is derived from the Greek terms ‘to love’ and ‘human being’. Understanding philanthropy in this broader sense – as a simple love of humanity – opens many opportunities for ordinary people to get involved in helping their communities on a small scale, and to understand that what they are doing is indeed philanthropy. Creating and supporting sustainable solutions is not restricted to large financial investments; it is also a matter of building on community values.

Read more: Individual Giving: Inspiring and Leading Change

"When we discuss philanthropy within the African continent, too often the focus is on the wealthiest class of Africans and the large contributions they can make. However, what matters more when it comes to charitable giving is the potential for billions of aggregate dollars from millions of small givers.

For instance, two million Somalis abroad send home $1.4 billion, the equivalent to 23 per cent of the country’s GDP, and higher than any amount of foreign aid. Overall, African diaspora’s contribution amounts to $63 billion per year. Communities use it for education, homebuilding, land purchases and farm improvements, all critical enablers of social transformation.

We cannot ignore the philanthropic potential of their contributions. Imagine if the African diaspora redirected $315 million or 0.5 per cent of their annual transfers, to civil society organizations."

"Crowdfunding is a financing method that involves funding a project with relatively modest contributions from a large group of individuals, rather than seeking substantial sums from a small number of investors. The funding campaign and transactions are typically conducted online through dedicated crowdfunding sites, often in conjunction with social networking sites. Depending on the project, campaign contributors may be essentially making donations, investing for a potential future return on investment (ROI), or prepaying for a product or service."

 “Although it’s amusing to consider how many commuting teachers would probably love to tell the CEOs of a number of railway franchises face-to-face how to run their business, in reality they know their limitations. Teachers don’t generally go around telling supermarket managers where to put their coconuts. So why do wealthy individuals think they can tell schools how to be better schools?”

As elsewhere around the world, wealth is concentrating, and inequality is growing in India. And inter-religious violence and hate speech are growing as a result of fake news and increasingly majoritarian politics.

But while students, farmers, and marginalized communities across India are mobilizing against unjust or failing policies, the most rapidly growing philanthropic activities lean away from, rather than into, these causes or the entrenched effects of patriarchy, caste, and feudalism more generally. Education—especially top-down, technocratic interventions—and direct service delivery in nutrition, health, and sanitation still account for the bulk of philanthropic spending.

Read more in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

In the corporate world, any talk of building a high-quality business is immediately followed by the act of building organisational capability. It is almost intuitive to think of putting the building blocks in place: organisation charts, the right people for those organisation charts, and systems and processes. In fact, boards and funders that back the business focus enormously on these aspects in the early days of the organisation’s journey before they start expecting results.

In the social sector,however, the conversation almost always starts with the results—the entire emphasis is on the plan and the programme as opposed to whether the organisation is geared to delivering in a high-quality and a sustainable way. Thus, the model is, in a sense, inverted in the nonprofit space.

Read more in Philanthropy in Focus

Roger Federer: I knew I wanted to support children living in poverty by starting my own foundation. From a very young age, I had the deep wish to give back to people who are less privileged than I am. My mother comes from South Africa, and I grew up seeing extreme poverty firsthand. During holidays spent in that region visiting family, I became aware at an early age that not all children enjoyed the same privileges I had growing up in a rich country like Switzerland. That’s why I founded the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003, beginning an exciting and educational journey.

I quickly realized that becoming a good philanthropist isn’t easy. The will to give back is not enough on its own. In the foundation’s early years, we were less rigorous about what we funded, and we quickly realized that we couldn’t measure whether we were having an impact or not. If we really wanted to change children’s lives in a tangible and sustainable way, we needed to go about it in a much more professional and strategic manner.

Philanthropy, like tennis, demands time and discipline. We follow a strict system of checks and balances and an effective project management cycle. Transparency, measurability, and evaluation of our engagement are also fundamental. And we try to achieve all this in the most cost-efficient manner. More than 92 percent of the Foundation’s expenditures flow into the countries and programs, and this is a metric that we are extremely proud of.

Read more in Gates Notes

As the world's richest person, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos could transform how philanthropy works. Bezos is now far ahead Bill Gates as the world's richest person.

With a net worth of $105 billion, Bezos is likely to retain the title for the foreseeable future, and it could upend how billionaires view charity. Unlike Bill Gates, who has focused on long-term projects, Bezos could focus more on the short-term.

Read more in Business Insider

The drive for sustainable development and the challenge to eradicate poverty for a for a better world is often regarded as work for those on a global stage. But around the African continent, communities are showing that the daily building of a sustainable world is being done from the humblest spaces, often starting with families and growing into countries and regions.

The latest evidence of this is the World Bank’s “Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook” report which shows that formal remittance inflows to the Sub-Saharan Africa region are projected to increase by 10 percent from about $34 billion in 2016 to $38 billion in 2017. Of this, Nigeria, with projected remittances of $22.3 billion in 2017 will continue to be the largest remittance recipient in the region.

Of course, there are main reasons why remittances are high - but a substantial portion of this is family members sending home funds to support communities in need.

Read more in African Independant


Peggy Dulany, the founder and chair of Global NGO Synergos Institute, on the role of leadership and how family shapes attitudes towards philanthropy

Philanthropists often go in with an assumption of what is the most important need of a community. For example, education. Of course, it is an important need always. But somehow without that intermediary process of consultation, things that are simply donated are often passively accepted and you don’t get the community engagement that you need. The main thing for philanthropists is to learn to respond to the needs that the community diagnoses as its problems. But if you just go in and talk to the village leader, you will not, for example, include women in the diagnosis and you get a very different image.

That’s why I often advocate that philanthropists should engage for greater impact. 

Read more in Livemint

President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, Christopher G. Oechsli, takes a deep dive into lessons learned while executing the $8 billion philanthropic vision of entrepreneur Chuck Feeney, aka the ‘James Bond of Philanthropy’.

The Atlantic Philanthropies believes in making big bets for a better world. Since its establishment in 1982 by self-made billionaire and co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group, Chuck Feeney, The Atlantic Philanthropies has invested US$8 billion across eight regions, including Australia.

With an investment of US$368 million between 1998-2016, Atlantic’s support of knowledge, research and innovation and the advancement of social equity in Australia helped fund 28 capital projects and resulted in $1.5 billion in funding leveraged from government and the private sector.

Read more in Philanthropy Australia

Every year Avance Media names the Top 100 Most Influential Young South Africans. With their nominations announced for 2017, who are SA's top 10 most influential philanthropists? The awards release the names of 100 young South Africans who have been nominated for the ranking. The public then votes for South Africans within specific categories, which contributes to their ranking. This article looks at the nominees in the Social Enterprise & Philanthropy category -- South Africa's most influential young philanthropists for 2017.

Read more in LeadSA

 It is widely accepted that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. The top 10 percent of the population earn about 60percent of all income and own 95percent of all assets. But there are significant and critical gaps in the understanding of how this inequality is produced, and the systems of power that supports its reproduction.

There has been no significant reduction in inequality in post-apartheid South Africa. At the start of the 1990s, South Africa had the highest Gini coefficient of all 57 countries for which there were data at that time, at 0.66.

Soros has long been one of the leading donors to progressive causes in the United States and is the most generous financial supporter of pro-democracy organizations around the world. And his giving will likely only increase in the years to come. In October, Soros disclosed that over the last few years, he has turned over around $18 billion to the institutions through which he has channeled his philanthropy, the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

The enormous gift was met as a confirmation of all the darkest fears stoked by his antagonists. Pointing out that Soros’s foundation would now rank as the second largest behind the Gates Foundation, the right-wing website Breitbart announcedthe news by referring to OSF as the “Death Star.”

Given the failure of the state, continuing deep levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality, the act of giving by business, and wealthy and skilled individuals can make important contributions to solving our pressing problems. Philanthropy could be divided into three basic forms: giving by companies, wealthy individuals and ordinary citizens. In many emerging democracies and markets such as South Africa, corporates and rich individuals, may sometimes have acquired their riches on the back of exploitation of the poor, through state capture and even corruption.

Philanthropy can lead to greater social solidarity between the well-off and the poor, trigger positive social change, and overall make citizens more resilient in the face of state collapse. The act of giving can be described as a form of active citizenship.

When Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics, he suddenly found himself being stopped in the street by complete strangers and asked to comment on issues of the day. His transformation from academic economist to public intellectual prompted him to reflect on the role economists and their discipline play in society. The result is Economics for the Common Good, a passionate manifesto for a world in which economics is a positive force for the common good. 

Watch his talk at the London School of Economics

A recent personal donation of R1bn is just the beginning of an even bigger dream PSG founder Jannie Mouton has for his philanthropically orientated Jannie Mouton Foundation. "I have a huge dream to increase the foundation by donating more and more of my PSG shares to it. I have donated R1bn now, but in years to come I want to increase that amount substantially," Mouton told Fin24.

Asked why he did not - like Buffet - just donate money to the Gates Foundation, Mouton said he would rather focus on needs in South Africa. "I want to create something in South Africa. I see a need in South Africa," said Mouton. "My family and I think education is very important and that could be the basis of the foundation. There are a lot of disadvantaged people and education can play a big role in years to come," he explained.

A recent study showed that generosity changed the activity in people’s brains in ways that increase feelings of happiness, even if the generous act is small or only imagined. In effect, the pledge to be generous primed people to be more giving. There are probably evolutionary undercurrents to this process, says Thorsten Kahnt. Though the experiment lasted only a short time and involved only simulated gains and losses, Kahnt says that “it does show a mechanistic linkage in the brain between doing something nice for someone and feeling better about yourself.”

Through her South Africa-based Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, in its 10th year, the media mogul and self-made billionaire is developing leaders positioned to play a key role in Africa. In this exclusive interview with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, Oprah Winfrey talks about where it all started – in Mandela’s home where she spent 10 days and shared 29 meals with the statesman and pledged to build a school for girls and invest in the people of South Africa.

South African high earners gave away a combined R7 billion in cash, goods and services to charities last year, according to Nedbank’s The Giving Report released yesterday. The report analysed giving behaviours, patterns and trends of high-net-worth (HNV) South Africans.

Nedbank surveyed 400 HNV individuals, individuals who earned at least R1.5 million a year or own investable assets of more than R5 million, excluding primary residence. About 63 percent of the respondents’ total net worth was in the range of R5m to R10m, while 19 percent of them were worth R10m to R20m and 7 percent were worth R20m to R50m.

A number of leaders in philanthropy were asked to answer the following questions: How does a 21st-century philanthropy contend with the economic system that both produces its conditions of possibility and makes its lofty aspirations necessary? Should it address the structural inequality of which it is a symptom—and if so, how?