The South African Institute for Advancement today opened nominations for the prestigious Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards. 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 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 former soap opera star who started the organisation 18twenty8 to empower young women) and Dwyn Griesel (Founder of the Kronendal Music Academy of Hout Bay).
Inyathelo Executive Director Shelagh Gastrow 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 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 now the biggest source of donor money in South Africa and 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 Gastrow.
Nominations close on Friday, 29 June 2012 and the awards will be announced at a gala event in November. Thutloa says the awardees are chosen according to specific criteria by a panel of 8 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. Already, too many of our non-profits have been forced to scale down their work or close their doors altogether. NGOs provide at least 30% of social services in South Africa and 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.