Nominations for the prestigious annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards close on Friday, 29 June. The annual national awards were established six years ago to acknowledge, celebrate and honour those whose personal giving has contributed towards sustainable social change in South Africa and has inspired others to give.
Previous awardees include the likes of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the Ackerman family, Kanchana Moodliar (founder of the Saris for Good Karma Project), Bridgette Mamugubudi (who set up the Litshani Vhana Vhade Foundation for disadvantaged children in rural Limpopo), best-selling author Richard Mason (who established the Kay Mason Foundation in memory of his late sister), Refiloe Seseane (a TV personality who started the organisation 18twenty8 to empower young women) and Dwyn Griesel (founder of the Kronendal Music Academy of Hout Bay).
Inyathelo programme director Gabrielle Ritchie says they are looking for extraordinary people who are actively working in small or big ways to improve their communities and our country - be it through, for example, the arts, education, health, research or the provision of basic services.
“Philanthropy is dependent on the interest, passion, commitment, generosity and foresight of individuals wanting to make a difference, and our awards seek to recognise and commend these people publicly. Individual giving is a key source of donor money in South Africa and we really need to grow this in a big way. Philanthropists play a critical role in providing services to poor and vulnerable people, a voice to those who have not yet been heard, and innovative solutions to our many social problems without always insisting on making a profit,” explains Ritchie.
Thutloa says the awardees are chosen according to specific criteria by a panel of eight highly respected judges, including Zenariah Barends (GreyMatter Finch), Amanda Bloch (Children’s Hospital Trust) and Amelia Jones (Community Chest Western Cape). “We are looking for philanthropy champions who have demonstrated initiative and leadership, and who have used their personal funds, no matter how large or small, to make a difference and inspire others to give. It is critical that individual South Africans begin to support the civil society organisations that form the backbone of our democracy and social welfare system. The impact of recent funding shortfalls is having dire consequences, particularly in the areas of education, health care and social justice. We believe local philanthropists can help bridge the funding gap left by international donors,” says Thutloa.