Inyathelo believes in the power of philanthropy to build resilient societies and uphold democratic values. While initial philanthropic interventions focused on recognising outstanding South Africans who had contributed to social change through annual awards, Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions led to online philanthropic interventions to help NPOs remain sustainable at a time when so much was asked of them. Helping NPOs to remain connected, raising their awareness of a wide array of resources, and instilling the ten elements of Advancement have been key areas of intervention.
Inyathelo is noted for its Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education. It also participates in philanthropic networks such as the Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support, and the African Philanthropy Network.
The European Foundation Centre defines community philanthropy as citizens and local institutions contributing money or goods, along with their time and skills, to promote the wellbeing of others and the betterment of the community in which they live and work. An example of this type of philanthropy has been the Cape Town Together movement formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cape Town Together, a movement made up of 170 Community Action Networks (CANs), coordinated a community-led effort to share resources and information within and between communities. Volunteers across the city assisted with the basic survival work of feeding, clothing, and caring for the sick but collectively did the social justice work of responding to human rights violations that flared up as a result of the impact of the lockdown restrictions on communities. Though their work was a response to the pandemic, CANs have recognised the need for the work to continue, but have struggled to mobilise the resources needed.
CANs approached Inyathelo for support with formalising their efforts and to assist in their understanding of how to mobilise resources. Inyathelo, in response to this request, developed the Sustainable Pathways programme for CAN kitchens in partnership with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The programme has created a space for CANs to reflect on their work and the way forward and where they collectively can learn about various organisational forms, governance, Advancement, fundraising, diversifying income streams, community foundations, community-affiliated funds and food security.