The word 'philanthropy' often conjures up images of high-profile billionaires such as Oprah and Bill Gates, but a network of 'givers' exists here in South Africa, donating to various causes such as education and health to help fight injustice and inequality. Ironically, philanthropy may just be a symbol of inequality, the very thing it's trying to eradicate.
The Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA), launched its Annual Review of South African philanthropy during a two-day symposium at Stellenbosch University from 28 to 29 October 2019.
The review was aimed at highlighting the work and nature of philanthropy which is seldom discussed in depth. Philanthropic funds are often "private money" and accessing this financial data can prove difficult.
It discussed the shift in philanthropy from charitable giving towards having a more strategic approach.
"Few philanthropists now adopt a mere 'cheque-writing' approach to giving," wrote Sarah Rennie, who chairs the IPASA council and the Grindrod Family Centenary Trust. They increasingly rely on experts, researchers, evaluators and other professionals to help steer their investments to achieve the greatest impact.
IPASA's membership network includes big players such as Standard Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, the Ackerman Family Foundation and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.