Strengthening Giving in South Africa

In 2005 Inyathelo partnered with The Kresge Foundation with the launch of a US $10.5 million Special Initiative in South Africa to strengthen local private giving and fundraising capacity in non-profit institutions in South Africa. The Kresge Special Initiative (KSI) spanned 2006 to 2010, working with 5 grantee organisations.

“In 2004, after much internal discussion, Kresge approved what would eventually be a five-year, $10.5million initiative to support the promotion of Advancement and philanthropy at South African universities and hospitals. We (Kresge) needed an experienced partner on the ground that not only knew world class technical, ethical and philosophical standards of Advancement, but the local fundraising, economic and cultural environment as well. Inyathelo was our obvious choice. 

We have not been disappointed. Inyathelo has brought professionalism, advice, and insight to our work together as we have sought to remake the way South African higher education institutions approach institutional Advancement. We credit our trusted partnership and relationship with Inyathelo for much of this success.”

~ Bill Moses – Kresge Foundation 

The goals of the KSI were to:

  •  build philanthropy, particularly individual giving in South Africa; to strengthen and support efforts to build the fundraising and advancement capacity of selected institutions in South Africa and, through this Initiative, develop models for high-quality South African institutional advancement operations, thereby encouraging other institutions to follow suit; and to further develop the pool of institutional advancement professionals in South Africa and enhance their skills.
  •  Nineteen South African institutions submitted concept papers for the Initiative in May 2005, and seven were asked to provide final proposals. Working with Inyathelo, The Kresge Foundation approved four final grantees from this group in December 2005 and another grantee was admitted to the programme in October 2007.


The five organisations that comprised the cohort were:

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) awarded R9 650 000 (approximately US $1 483 474). UWC was established in the 1960s and was an apartheid-defined “coloured” ethnic institution. During the 1980s UWC became the Western Cape focal point institution of resistance to apartheid and became known as the “Struggle University.” The strategy helped UWC grow at an unprecedented rate, and today many of South Africa’s leading black government, judicial and business leaders are UWC alumni.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) awarded R13 223 770 (approximately US $2 032 862). CPUT, the result of a merger of the former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon in January 2005, operates on five main campuses and several service points and has approximately 27 000 registered students with nine faculties. CPUT is the largest institution in the region focusing on technology education, serving the Western Cape, Eastern and Northern Cape provinces and Namibia.
University of Pretoria (UP) awarded R13 476 617 (approximately US $2 072 040). Founded in 1930 as the Transvaal University, UP is now one of South Africa’s largest residential universities with 48 000 students including 11 000 distance students. UP has nine faculties and retains its status as one of South Africa’s flagship institutions with its output of accredited research being one of the highest in the country.
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) joined the programme at the end of 2007. Wits does not receive an operational grant from The Kresge Foundation but is part of the training programme and the challenge grant component. Spread over more than 400 hectares, Wits University is an urban, comprehensive university which has a distinctive capacity to contribute to the reconstruction and development of South Africa through research and the production of skilled, critical and adaptable graduates. With its more than 100 000 graduates in its 86-year history, Wits has made and will continue to make its mark nationally and internationally.
The Children’s Hospital Trust awarded R8 263 294 (approximately US $1 270 299). The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was built in 1956 and is the only specialist hospital in Africa’s sub-Saharan region dedicated entirely to children. It manages approximately 250 000 patient visits annually – these children are mostly from disadvantaged communities. The Children’s Hospital Trust (functioning as an autonomous body) was formed in 1994 and has developed an outstanding fundraising reputation in South Africa.


Over the five-year period, the programme has achieved a great deal: a strong foundation has been laid in terms of professional Advancement skills development, fundraising capacity, and building philanthropy. A Community of Practice has been established between the grantee institutions, and all of this has been sustainably implemented in a way which allows the institutions to claim ownership of the structures and practices.

The combined donor income increased five-fold over the period from US $ 12 300 000 (about R 80 000 000) in 2005 to US $ 56 500 000 (about R 367 000 000) in 2010. A total of US $ 231 000 000 was raised by the grantees over the five years.