The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on South African communities was swift and devastating especially on the most vulnerable people. The sector has never before had to dig as deeply, mobilize as quickly, and collaborate to such an extent as they have over the past few months, to respond to this unprecedented situation. Without the strength of philanthropists’ involvement over the last 6 months, the South African landscape would have likely been much worse.
“The COVID-crisis has been a catalyst for better cooperation and partnerships among foundations and other philanthropists as well as between the government, communities and the private sector and can be looked at as the one silver lining to a ‘new normal for this philanthropy world” said Sarah Rennie, Chairperson, IPASA (Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa).
In March this year, IPASA played a key role in bringing funders together through hosting virtual workshops to address the impact of the biggest issues arising from COVID from education to health to food security and the environment. Following on from this work IPASA will be holding a virtual philanthropy symposium on the 3-4 November 2020 to encourage South African and global foundations to share their experiences from the pandemic with the intention of taking the lessons learnt to define philanthropy’s role and practise in the future.
To date the largest form of collaboration for COVID emergency response was the creation of The Solidarity Fund. The Fund has approved R1.980bn towards health interventions, R412m towards humanitarian relief efforts and R61m towards behavioural change programmes
Adrian Enthoven, Deputy Chairman of the Fund reiterated: “The Solidarity Fund was established as a vehicle to unite all South Africans in a partnership aimed at combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. From the donations received to the work that we are doing to meet the needs of our fellow South Africans, our partnerships have played a crucial role in providing the expertise and support needed to respond rapidly and with targeted impact to the pandemic.”
Another significant example of effective collaboration was the South African Future Trust (SAFT) which was established with an initial donation of R1 billion from the Oppenheimer Generations Foundation. This fund subsequently attracted further donations from foundations, corporates and individuals to the value of R134 million. SAFT partnered with six banks to distribute the interest-free loans to SMMEs and extended loans totalling 1.04 billion to 9 656 SMMEs. This in turn facilitated direct payments to around 92 993 employees. The trust’s immediate aim was to extend direct financial support to SMME employees at risk of losing their jobs or suffering a serious loss of income because of the Covid-19 crisis and national lockdown.
“As a result of the commitment and collaboration between all parties involved – including government, our partner banks and internal teams across Oppenheimer Generations – SAFT was established days after the start of lockdown level five and we were able to make the first employee payments only a week later,” said Bridget Fury, Head of Oppenheimer Generations Philanthropies.
The Annual 2020 Review of Southern African Philanthropy virtual launch takes place on the 3 November 2020 to discuss and review the results of projects that have embraced collective philanthropy during COVID and the impact it will have on the future South Africa.
For more information on the work of philanthropic foundations in South Africa in 2020 register for the virtual launch of the Annual Review of South African Philanthropy at www.ipa-sa.org.za
Reference – *3 million people unemployed – www.statssa.gov.za / * IPASA Annual Review of South African Philanthropy