James McGregor

For his tireless work over many years to uplift the Westlake community in Cape Town, James McGregor is the recipient of the 2013 Inyathelo Award for Lifetime Philanthropy.


James has committed his life to community development and helping vulnerable people. His philanthropic endeavours are too numerous to mention but his greatest achievement is probably his work for the Westlake United Church Trust. James helped set up the Trust in 2002 and it now employs over forty full-time staff who work to alleviate the poverty, ill health, unemployment and other social and economic difficulties experienced by the more than 8000 residents who live in the Westlake Village area.  

The Trust runs a number of educational, skills development and capacity building programmes to help local residents improve their quality of life and work towards becoming a self-sustaining, thriving community. It also facilitates access to low cost government housing.

James has been the guiding light of the Trust, contributing a considerable amount of energy, time and personal funds towards its development and activities.  The Trust now oversees the Emmanual Educare pre-school programme which caters for 210 children. It also runs a home-based care programme which supports 350 people and a community advice office which serves around 400 people a month.

As a former financial director of the Board of Executors, James chairs the Trust’s management and governing body meetings, and uses his own business and personal networks to raise funds. He has worked hard to develop infrastructure, financial controls as well as monitoring and evaluation tools to ensure that the Trust is able to sustain itself and the work it does. James is adamant that the members of the Westlake community must take charge of their own destiny so he is training a local representative to manage the Trust which will eventually be left to the residents themselves.