Media Statements

Media Statement issued on behalf of the South African Institute for Advancement: Inyathelo

For immediate release: Tuesday, 3rd April 2012         

Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement is warning that the current civil society funding crisis is threatening critical services to poor and vulnerable communities in South Africa. They say non-profit organisations or NPOs provide more than 30% of civil services in South Africa and the impact of recent funding cuts is having dire consequences, particularly in the areas of education, health care and social justice.  

In response, Inyathelo has organised a three-day learning event for non-profits in a bid to help them build, maintain and improve support, skills and funds. The Autumn Academy for Non-Profits will take place in Cape Town from the 14th to the 16th of May and will be facilitated by leading local and international players in institutional Advancement. Inyathelo Programme Manager Nazli Abrahams says the academy aims to help build the necessary skills and expertise to help struggling NPOs attract support from donors. “Our current funding crisis is not just a result of the global recession. It is also because we are failing to raise the resources we need locally because of the lack of qualified Advancement professionals in our non-profit sector. We need to equip our NPOs with the knowledge and skills to enable them to attract the support they need to help the tens of thousands of poor and vulnerable people who rely on them. Already, too many worthy NPOs have had to dramatically reduce their services or close their doors altogether,” explains Abrahams.

The director of the US-based Philanthropic Service for Institutions, Dr Lilya Wagner, has been invited to address the academy and share her knowledge on how to sustain and develop the work of community service providers.  She is a long-time faculty member of The Fund Raising School and is on the philanthropic studies faculties of the Centre on Philanthropy at Indiana University and St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. Another Associate Director of The Fund Raising School, Tyrone Freeman, will also be speaking to participants of the Autumn Academy. Freeman is well known for his work to support urban public education when he was director of development for the Indiana University School of Education at Indianapolis. 

Abrahams says they hope the academy will become an annual event which will help to professionalise the work of Advancement within the non-profit sector. “We desperately need to build capacity within our organisations if we want to mobilise the resources we need. Ensuring the sustainability of non-profit organisations is critical to building a strong democracy in South Africa and realising the basic human rights enshrined in our Constitution. Our NPO sector currently delivers more than half of the basic welfare services government is obliged to provide under our Constitution. We need to ensure that these organisations have the necessary skills and support to sustain their work into the future,” says Abrahams.

To find out more about Inyathelo’s Autumn Academy for Non-Profits, you can visit the South African Institute for Advancement’s website or you can contact Ruvimbo Gwatirisa on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 021-465 6981/2.

For more information and interview requests, please contact:

Nazli Abrahams

Programme Manager

Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell:  072 177 5732