13 Aug Time for banks to come to the philanthropy party
Banks are in a special position to inspire and encourage the growth of philanthropy and they can do this by engaging with their high-net-worth customers, either individually or through events that focus on the benefits of philanthropy.
2019 has seen greater curiosity and attempts to measure the size and scope of philanthropy, globally, but also in South Africa. Once again, those philanthropic foundations that are publicly known have been requested to complete questionnaires, participate in interviews and generally reveal information relating to their sources of funding, size of endowments, annual spend and their focus areas of interest.
The one constant for any researcher is the difficulty in obtaining information. As a result, extrapolations from a small sample are made and the outcomes and suggested figures can only be a flying guess. Nobody in South Africa really knows the scope of philanthropic giving, including our own government.
There is an increasing awareness among philanthropic foundations of the need for greater transparency. While individuals who donate money are entitled to anonymity if requested, the issue relating to established private philanthropic foundations that have received tax exemption is not so clear. There are many South African private foundations that have emerged from obscurity and provide public information about how they operate and what drives their strategic decision-making. However, in the big scheme of things, they are probably the tip of the iceberg.