Philanthropy etymologically means "love of humanity" in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, and enhancing "what it is to be human" on both the benefactors' (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries' (by benefitting) parts. The most conventional modern definition is "private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life".

In South Africa, we struggle today with the legacies of apartheid. There is growing impatience with a government that is not helping to realise the basic rights of the majority of people who either depend on social grants or live in extreme poverty. There is also a pervasive sense of entitlement that the legitimate government post 1994 would meet all basic service requirements and move people out of their poverty. This is not happening for the majority and we see many service delivery protests by disillusioned communities. While this sense of entitlement is legitimate in itself (entitled to clean water, safety, education, health, etc); it has also reinforced inertia on the part of communities when it comes to their own development. There is a dependency on government and donors, lack of realisation of the local assets that can and should be leveraged; and a general lack of local giving (in all its forms). South Africa has a substantial NGO sector that has benefitted significantly from foreign donor support. Bilateral, multilateral and Foundation funding has dwindled over the last few years. Corporate social investment (while still substantial in its own right in South Africa), remains sporadic, and does not sufficiently target the poor. In this context it is necessary to look within the country for resources (finance and in other forms) as most organisations of civil society go into crisis related to funding. South Africa is indeed a nation of givers but tend to give to extended family, church and some local charities. There are examples of limited giver’s circles, stokvels and other. However, communities hardly ever give to agency because they do not trust organisations that are seen as mainly absorbing funds for their own ends rather than deliver services to communities. South Africa is primarily in the formative stages of a culture of local giving and much work needs to be done in this regard.

The TSDP is launching with a number of partners, a series of processes, conversations and interventions targeting unlocking local giving in South Africa.

Givers Circles

TSDP Givers Circle – Read our article published on - blackgivesback_ South African Giving Circle Inspires Community, Builds Philanthropy


Youth Virtual Givers Circle

We as young persons are blessed in so many ways! These include the gift of life and most importantly the education we received.

We are truly a privileged generation (living in our beautiful country);

we are a receiving generation (freedom, democracy),

and we are a seeing generation (2010 World Cup, First black American President).

We are part of so many things that those before us only dreamt of and those after us will only read in history books. Our next step as a generation is to become a giving generation!! It’s time for us to make our mark in our country through the process and act of collective giving. This means we join our financial and other resources with others and as a collective, choose how we will invest in the development of our communities and country. We need to reinvigorate and bring back to life the old African tradition of Ubuntu. We need to stop living as islands and lend a hand towards others and in so doing, define our own footprint!

Many young people find themselves isolated, wanting to give but really stuck on the avenues they should follow. Many of us also feel that our little amount of money couldn’t possibly do something meaningful, so this is why the Virtual Youth Givers Circle (YGC) was started. This circle gives them the opportunity to give a little but reap a lot. Individuals and projects from different walks of life with the same intent to help others.

Members make a minimum financial contribution of R150 per month over a 10-month period. At the end of the 10 month period, members will be requested to start nominating projects that the funds could go to. Members are encouraged to stay on as member or to start their own virtual circle. Should there be space new members will be invited to join the group.

Group members are based across the country and work in different sectors, this ensures that they get a different lens looking at the same problems and are bound to find the most innovative solution (Lateral thinking). During the year the group plans to engage on various topics linked to development and development solutions. The group will also pay close attention to the grant making process to ensure that they know enough to be able to make impact focused grants. The TSDP will assist the group in exploring matched funding possibilities The Technical Support and Dialogue Platform will be the supporting institution and will provide all the necessary administrative support. The rationale for launching the YGC was to encourage youth giving which is part of the TSDP philanthropy program in South Africa with the hope that the virtual circles will take a life of their own.

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