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Address at the launch of the Kresge Foundation’s special fundraising initiative, 6 April 2005, Minister Naledi Pandor speeches


Address by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, MP, at the launch of the Kresge Foundation’s special fundraising initiative, Cape Town

6 April 2005

Premier Ebrahim Rassool
MECs Brown and Dugmore
Vice-Chancellors and heads of museums and hospitals
Elizabeth Sullivan and William Moses, Kresge Foundation
Shelagh Gastrow and Patric Tariq Mellet, Inyathelo
Distinguished guests

It is a pleasure to join you this evening to launch this special initiative to build philanthropy and to support fundraising in the university, hospital and museum sectors.

Philanthropy and nonprofit organizations are essential elements of our civil society. Effective philanthropy is instrumental in creating and maintaining public confidence in voluntary association, voluntary giving, and voluntary action.

The concept of philanthropy is an American one in that the great railway developers of the nineteenth-century and the car manufacturers of the twentieth century built foundations that today disburse millions to cultural organisations, to universities, and to the Arts. Part of the explanation for this form of social giving lies in the peculiarity of American development – no feudalism, no socialism, no welfare state, a weak central state, a greater effort in pursuing egalitarianism than in Europe.

There is a lot that we can learn about philanthropy from the US. And not only in its corporate form, but also from those smaller national organisations like the United Negro College Fund that encouraged individual donations from ordinary people. It started small so that it could serve a greater cause.

If we look at some of our best-known universities, the establishment of funds or foundations for educational advancement is a comparatively recent phenomenon. For example, the University of Fort Hare Foundation was nominally established only in 1982 and was relaunched only last year.

In addition we have not been good at developing alumni organizations. This needs to change.

Past students should make a contribution to the universities they attended; this could be a significant addition to government support for talented and able students.

Universities in the developed world are streets ahead in this respect. And in turn the US is streets ahead of the rest.

For example, no African university can match the biggest US endowments. Official figures valued Harvard’s endowments at $18.85 billion in June 2003, with $11 billion for Yale University and $8.7 billion for Princeton University.”

Four important points emerge from these observations.
First, South African and all African institutions must do more to build public support here in Africa for their development projects and initiatives.

Councils, boards and managements of universities need to give more attention to ensuring that infrastructure and systems are put in place to build the kind of relationships with potential supporters that result in partnerships and social giving. Establishing and maintaining a productive fundraising and development apparatus is hard work but essential.

Self-reliance has to become a strong part of our efforts to generate resources. There is little dignity in constantly receiving and great honour in giving and building.

All our universities have endowment programmes, but some are pursued with greater enthusiasm than others. For example, the older universities have more endowed chairs than the newer or recently merged institutions.

I encourage all institutions to pursue these programmes with greater vigour and to engage with the Department over ways in which government can support this drive.

Second, universities need to cultivate a closer relationship with their past students - their alumni - and vice versa.

Understandably, this was not a pattern in the past for the majority of our students.

However, we have enjoyed ten years of freedom and enough time has elapsed for students to begin to identify with the universities and schools that shaped their future prospects and values. In fact, such relationships could become a valuable asset in building positive and transformed institutional cultures.

There have been some encouraging signs recently in our public schools. For example, Maande Manyatsche, the MD of MTN, recently opened a multi-media centre at the rural Limpopo School that he attended as a child.

This was part of a R21 million MTN programme to improve the quality of education and increase access to information and communication strategy in schools.

He did not forget his old school. And it is that past student connection that should be encouraged.

On 7 May the Healdtown College Trust celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of Healdtown as a school in the Eastern Cape and its jubilee events have been made possible through the contributions of its alumni.

The pattern must be encouraged not only in our schools but also in our universities.

Our richer universities have better facilities than the poorer partly because alumni who climbed the corporate ladder used their positions to take ownership of the universities they attended.

It is time for our new corporate leaders to give back and to develop a culture of giving back.

It is also time for our political leaders to take a stand and to lead a movement by giving back to the institutions where they learned the meaning of social justice.

Our political leaders who spent time on the Island and in other prisons understood the importance of education.

In the words of former President Mandela: “During the long struggle for freedom in my country, I learned that without education there can be no freedom.”

And so I call on all our political leaders, past and present, wherever they may be now – in the corporate sector, in the judiciary, in government, or retired – to make a special commitment to education in this the 50th anniversary year of the Freedom Charter.

Third, our universities need to build stronger relationships with the corporate sector here and in Africa.

We need to be more creative about the partnerships that universities enter into with industry in Africa and abroad.

Over the past ten years universities have established a wide network of strategic partnerships.

Universities no longer service industry simply by providing basic training and research. Universities are no longer the only knowledge-based organizations in society. They need to establish new types of partnerships with industry, partnerships in which they share knowledge with each other on an equal footing.

In the past business would fund universities to conduct research projects and then after a number of years the funding would come to an end and the project wrapped up. But business no longer works best with universities like this.

Instead, what is needed now is a dialogue between two knowledge-based concerns, each one learning from the other. What is needed is a continuous relationship. What is needed is a new sort of relationship, a new form of partnership between research in higher education and corporations.

We need to be more creative about how we retain and retrain our new generation of research students.

Finally, I would like to endorse the Kresge Foundation special initiative. It is a generous $10 million capacity-building initiative that will have a multiplier effect on South African institutions’ ability to raise donor income.

This initiative is about promoting a culture of sharing, giving, building together and being less dependent on foreign donors through building up our own home-grown culture of giving. It aims to promote diversified South African giving for greater sustainability.

It is time that successful alumni initiated a culture of giving back and I hope that the special initiative of the Kresge Foundation will provide the essential impetus needed.

I thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 6/30/2008
Number of Views: 525

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