The future of philanthropy

The Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA) launched its Annual Review of South African Philanthropy in late October 2019. The review aims to highlight the philosophy of philanthropy and map its progress in South Africa.  

According to the editor of the Review, Shelagh Gastrow, the main purpose of the document to raise awareness of the work and nature of independent philanthropy in South Africa, to provide a voice for philanthropy and to stimulate a giving culture through showcasing role models in philanthropy.

According to the IPASA website, the difference between charity and philanthropy is that philanthropic giving focuses on the systemic issues and root causes of society, while charity offers short-term relief. The website says that the analysis, reflection and clear purpose adopted by philanthropists is designed to create long term opportunities for sustainable giving.

Clearly, more philanthropists are using professionals to research and evaluate the impact of investments and to suggest investment destinations for special projects that will have the greatest impact. IPASA’s membership network includes businesses such as Standard Bank, Rand Merchant Bank and family foundations such as the Zenex Foundation, Ackerman Family Foundation, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Allan Grey Foundation.

But there are critics of the idea of philanthropy; at a conference held to launch the review and to discuss the principles of philanthropy, activist and founder of L&N Advisors, Nwadeyi pointed out the inequality embodied by philanthropy. She said that at the core of many organisations was the idea that it was okay to have one group that amassed wealth.

The Annual Review of South African Philanthropy is a publication of the Independent Philanthropy Association South Africa (IPASA). To read the Review, click here.

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