Driven by the philosophy of Ubuntu, where the well-being and happiness of an individual is linked directly to the success and happiness of others, the Motsepe family was the first African family to join the Giving Pledge. Initiated by American billionaires, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010, the Giving Pledge is a commitment by wealthy families and individuals across the globe to donate a significant part of their wealth to philanthropic causes. In 2013, Patrice and his wife, Precious Motsepe joined this global giving community by pledging half of their income from their South African businesses to support the work of their family foundation – the Motsepe Foundation – with a mission to improve the living standards and welfare of disadvantaged people in African communities.
Founded in 1999, the Motsepe Foundation has developed a large footprint in philanthropy across South Africa. However, the Foundation only started operating formally in 2003 when Precious Motsepe became its Chief Executive Officer. To achieve its mission of improving livelihoods in local communities, the Foundation strategically set up 26 Development Forums across South Africa’s 9 provinces and through frequent community engagements and a consistent feedback loop, the Foundation has directly supported each provinces’ self-identified needs. To date, the Motsepe Foundation has supported the rebuilding, equipping, and development of over 170 schools and churches across these provinces investing a total of R42.2 million (USD$2.96 million).
As a grantmaking organisation, the Foundation also channels its support to programmes in education, sports and art, women’s empowerment, global health, and economic empowerment, but also provides a number of ad hoc charitable contributions, locally and internationally. Most notable among its achievements is the provision of bursaries to university students from disadvantaged families. Since inception, the Foundation has provided bursaries worth over R260 million (USD 18.3 million) to almost 2000 young people who have now had a chance at a university education. These student bursaries enable South African youth to attend a number of prestigious schools across the country, including University of Capetown, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, and University of Witswatersrand. With this “pay-it-forward” model, bursary recipients are expected to use their knowledge and skills to give back to their own communities.
By developing multi-stakeholder partnerships with governments, traditional leaders, civil society groups and the business community, the foundation is committed to achieving its objectives across various programmes of interest. Support for other activities have included capacity building of traditional rulers, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education for girls, and even support for football training leagues. Even after 17 years, the Foundation continues to be a major contributor to the growth and development of South Africa by consistently helping to create sustainable livelihoods, particularly through its support for tertiary education. For more information about the Motsepe Foundation, please visit – motsepefoundation.org