Shelagh Gastrow

Lottery fund: Transparency, accountability essential

By Shelagh Gastrow The South African government has established two key agencies to support our civil society. They are the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the National Development Agency. However, their activities and decision-making lie in the mist of obscurity. Organisations are starting to call for greater transparency as it is unclear whether they…

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King III should incorporate non-profits’ unique needs

The non-profit sector (NPO) in South Africa has a long and proud history of serving a disparate number of communities. These have ranged from traditionally charitable institutions, such as homes for children and the aged, to socio-political and economic non-governmental organisations (NGO). The wide array and large number of NPOs — estimates put the number…

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Could a UDF ever emerge again?

Over the last week issues have been highlighted in the press regarding support for political parties by the non-profit sector, particularly public benefit organisations. Even the churches have entered the fray, with the obvious example being Rhema, which is classified as a public benefit organisation. According to the tax laws, it should not be supporting,…

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When philanthropy and politics mix

What happens if you have given a donation to a public benefit organisation and then find it is using its resources to support a political party? Gift of the Givers, an aid organisation that operates in South Africa and internationally, has been criticised for providing goods such as blankets and food parcels worth more than…

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Training social entrepreneurs

The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards have once again highlighted the role of philanthropy in South African society. They revealed inspiring examples of individuals who have become passionately involved in South African institutions and civil society, from small beginnings to ambitious programmes such as NOAH and SAEP. The Awards included a university Vice Chancellor who took a…

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When can donors ask for their money back?

I have been following the saga of the donation by Count Natale Labia to the Department of Public works and Iziko Museums of his father’s luxurious Venetian-style residence in Main Road, Muizenberg, which has been known to Cape Town as the Natale Labia Museum. This 20-room building, constructed in 1929-30, was the home of his…

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Press freedom and philanthropy

Philanthropy has spearheaded major movements globally including the women’s movement, the environmental movement, the hospice movement and now the fight against Aids. In the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, it was not government or business that acted fast, it was the non-profit sector. This sector is supported by philanthropy and we underestimate the role…

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What makes a philanthropist?

What makes a philanthropist? What do philanthropists do? Is it about money or does it include time and skills that are donated for the betterment of our society? When can someone be called a philanthropist? These are some of the questions that arise out of the call for nominations for the Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards that…

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Surviving an economic downturn: Philanthropy and the non-profit sector

Working in the philanthropy field gives me some idea of how confident people are about South Africa. Until 1976, huge philanthropic investments were made in the country by the then white elites — they established charitable foundations to ensure that their legacies endured into the future, and we still reap the benefits of some of…

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Thoughts on philanthropy in South Africa

My area of interest is that big word “philanthropy”. We in South Africa take the thousands of organisations that contribute to our democracy for granted. They provide relief and welfare, they educate, they create jobs, they build, they research, they publish, they contribute towards policy, they advocate, they contest and they help ensure that we…

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