Sean Jones of EduActive Solutions said the 11 universities in the Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education received a collective total of R1.71bn in philanthropic income in 2017. File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/Independent Media
Sean Jones of EduActive Solutions said the 11 universities in the Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education received a collective total of R1.71bn in philanthropic income in 2017. File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/Independent Media

SA philanthropists gave over R1.7bn to 11 local universities in 2017

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jul 5, 2019

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Cape Town - South African trusts, foundations, corporations and individuals are donating more to local universities but the vast majority of funding is still being channelled to so-called traditional higher education institutions.

According to the latest 2018 Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education (Aspihe), conducted under the auspices of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, revealed that philanthropists gave over R1.7billion to 11 local universities in 2017.

However, Sean Jones of EduActive Solutions, said distribution was skewed as 96% of funding went to traditional, research-intensive universities and only 4% to historically disadvantaged universities.

On his research, Jones said the 11 universities in the survey received a collective total of R1.71bn in philanthropic income in 2017, R978million higher than recorded for the 10 universities taking part in the first survey in 2013.

He said median annual philanthropic income was R108m in 2017, which was significantly higher than the median of R23m in 2013. “The proportion of income from South African sources was 72%, which is 35% higher than in 2013. International donors contributed 28% of philanthropic income but comprised only 10% of donors.”

Jones said the largest proportion of philanthropic funding came from trusts and foundations, which contributed 42%.

“This decreased from 61% in 2013, indicating a declining dependence on trusts and foundations. This was matched by increased levels of giving by the private sector and individuals.

“Private sector entities contributed 25% of philanthropic income in 2017, compared with 14% in 2013, while individual donors’ contributions increased from 4% in 2013 to 20% in 2017.

“The number of donations also increased dramatically over the five years, from 5659 in 2013 to 28 668 in 2017. The number of donations between R1 million and R4.9 million more than doubled and those exceeding R5 million more than tripled,” Jones said.

Executive director of Inyathelo, Nazeema Mohamed said it was worth mentioning the rise in local philanthropic support, particularly through the #FeesMustFall crisis.

Of South Africa's 26 universities, the 11 that participated in the fifth round of the survey were the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, UCT, Durban University of Technology, University of the Free State, University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch, Tshwane University of Technology, UWC and University of the Witwatersrand.

Inyathelo has worked with the Kresge Foundation for over a decade to help build advancement capacity in selected universities.

Bill Moses, the Kresge Education Programme’s managing director, said when they started their work in 2006, “few South African universities of any type were raising private funds”.

Moses said the report suggested that giving has changed dramatically over the succeeding dozen years.

“Private philanthropy can never replace government and tuition support, but it can help support university excellence and reduce pressure on annual fee increases.

“The challenge facing South African universities is to reach and engage more donors and to help more historically disadvantaged universities build their own advancement operations,” Moses said.

@SISONKE_MD

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Cape Argus

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