Our Sustainability

A shared vision

Supporting education in nature and wildlife conservation

The sustainability of the College is pre-empted by a shared vision for conservation in Africa to succeed; backed up by the necessary training, skills development and thought leadership.

Unlike most academic institutions and conservation training centres across Africa, as a private training institution the College does not receive government support.  In addition, the institutional upkeep cannot be ‘reclaimed’ in its entirety by course fees, or through traditional donor support. 

In developing its latest strategic plan, the objective has been to implement a more sustainable financial model which will help cover the College’s core operational costs and allow it to continue operating as an innovative and globally recognised centre of specialisation in conservation education, training and skills development.

In addressing this new financial model, the core/support departments have been separated from the training departments. This will allow staff to focus solely on service delivery of their relevant area of expertise, and will reduce the burden on the training departments to cover core costs.

Essentially there are four distinct elements to the SAWC’s sustainability strategy:

Legacy support 

Via the College’s Endowment Fund managed by Personal Trust. The endowment is a more recent addition to the College’s sustainability strategy, which requires investment and growth to enable the College to draw from the interest generated.

Via the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) a capital fund, managed by WWF-South Africa, which provides a yearly disbursement to the College, based on the Trust’s growth after investment in the Sanlam Living Planet Fund.

Both Funds are also a wonderful repository for living wills and bequests in support of leaving a lasting legacy for conservation in Africa.

Anchor/Core donor support

Anchor and Core donors enable the SAWC to meet targets as this funding will go towards core salaries of key staff members, as well as institutional operating expenses.  The SAWC’s Anchor donor strategy is to invest and build our relationship with core donors and ultimately nurture them to anchor donor level.

The overall goal being to create a group of supporters that recognise the importance of the College’s role within the conservation landscape, who believe in the SAWC and who want to ensure the College’s continued success.

Generated income

Via our four training departments – projects, bursaries and paid services (including training and support services).

Cause related funding

This includes our fundraising campaigns and general donations as well as donations in kind.

The overall goal: To create a group of people that recognise the importance of the College’s role within the conservation landscape, who believe in the SAWC and who want to ensure the College’s continued success.

Legacy Support: Our Investment Portfolios

In support of its sustainability strategy, the SAWC has two investment portfolios/funding vehicles; its more recently established endowment fund and a capital fund set up and managed by WWF South Africa to help support the College in perpetuity.

With these funding vehicles, the aim is to ensure a vibrant, adequately funded regional conservation education, training and skills development institution that continues to positively impact conservation and the lives of the people it trains.

With the support of our donors, the aim is to grow the combined investment portfolio endowment and capital fund to R100-million in the shorter term.

In 2019 the College was able to start mobilizing its sustainability strategy as a result of an initial investment of €2.5m pledged by the MAVA Foundation pour la Nature via Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) to establish an Endowment Fund for the College. This provided the seed funding, which in turn required a matched funding strategy.

As with many leading academic institutions, the creation of an Endowment Fund is critical to the future sustainability and viability of the institution. The matched funding, required by the MAVA grant, was enabled via the Southern African Wildlife College Trust, managed by WWF South Africa, further supported/underwritten by PPF and WWF South Africa.

The College’s Endowment Fund is administered internally by the audit committee and managed through Private Trust. Albeit it a robust portfolio, it will take time to generate enough interest to cover the College’s operational costs, which means that fundraising efforts still have to be put in place to ensure support for core (running) costs as well as for students, training departments and projects.

The capital investment into the endowment fund will be invested wisely to maximum return on investment.  The SAWC will continue to work towards growing the Endowment Fund, with the return on investment being used for programmes, or operations or purposes as approved by the Board of Directors.

This is an investment portfolio managed by Personal Trust, in support of the College to ensure its long term sustainability.  For further details please contact:

Anthony Nicklin, Trust Officer

Personal Trust

E: anicklin@ptrust.co.za

T: +27 (0) 21 689 8975

A: Personal Trust House, Belmont Office Park, Belmont Road, Rondebosch, 7700 / PO Box 476, Rondebosch, 7701

Donations to the Sustainability Fund can be made through direct deposit or debit order by using our Sustainability Fund bank details or through our online payment portal

At the suggestion of the Late Dr Anton Rupert, WWF South Africa established an independent trust in support of education in nature conservation at the College, with assistance from founder trustees and long standing donors both locally and internationally. The Southern African Conservation Education Trust (SACET) deed was registered in 2000.

In 2011 the name of the Trust was changed to the Southern African Wildlife College Trust (SAWCT) to better align the Trust with the College, as its sole beneficiary.

 In nurturing and strengthening conservation leadership for today and tomorrow the aim of the Trust is to financially support the work of the College in equipping its students with the knowledge and tools they need to advance in their careers in conservation. The Trust works to grow its funding to provide an increased disbursement to the College every year and ensure the sustainability of its vital work.

Each year, the Trust funds highly sought-after scholarships and bursaries for top students in the accredited Higher Education and Training courses. It also helps to fund priority projects in support of conservation management training and priority services such as marketing and fundraising, which helps position and sustain the college’s funding needs.

The Trust continues to be administered by WWF-South Africa (WWF-SA) with donations to the fund being acknowledged in the Trust’s Audited Financial Statements. Each donor’s contributions are also tracked cumulatively to show their overall “giving status” which is recognised on the Trust’s donor plinth situated at the entrance of the College. The plinth (photo right) is crowned by a superb sculpture of a Bateleur Eagle created – and donated – in honour of all SAWCT donors by renowned bronze and wildlife sculptor, Rosie Sturgis.

Since the Trust’s inception, and in terms of the Trust’s annual disbursement to the College, over R17-million has been disbursed to the College for scholarships, bursaries and priority projects in conservation management.

Donations to the SAWCT can be made through direct deposit or debit order by using our SAWCT bank details or through our online payment portal.  We would like to send you a letter of thanks as proof or receipt and 18A tax certificate where required. This trust is an independent legal entity that is managed by WWF South Africa in support of the College. For further details please contact: 

Justin Smith, Head of Business Developement Unit – WWF-SA
E: jsmith@wwf.org.za
M: +27 21 657 660

Performance of the Investments is Key

SAWCT has historically followed the investment strategy of WWF as advised by its Investment Committee. This diversified strategy across the various asset classes and geographies has proven beneficial in terms of inflation beating financial returns over the years.

In March 2015 the trustees agreed with WWF plans to restructure its investments into the Living Planet Fund. The primary objective is the delivery of long-term capital growth within a framework that reflects a high level of sustainability and environmental integrity, without compromising investment performance.

The Sanlam Living Planet Fund in collaboration with and supported by WWF is FSB (Financial Services Board) registered, regulated under the CISCA (Collect Investment Schemes Control) Act and complies with Regulation 28 of the RSA Pensions Fund Act.

The Fund is well diversified and is prudently managed. It integrates environmentally sustainable investment principles in the investment portfolio with the aim to improve the relative environmental footprint of the Fund. The Fund provides long-term investors with acceptable financial returns within a framework that redirects investment flows towards sustainable opportunities. The mission being to reduce the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a sustainable future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

Results and sustainability

Over the past 20 years, SAWCT has awarded over 70 scholarships to the College’s top students whilst also awarding bursaries to deserving students.

The Trust takes regular steps to review its investment, fundraising and communication plans, to ensure its continued support to the College.

Financial support from donors plays a critical role in growing this investment.

SAWCT donor giving status:

  • Bateleur Eagle – R1m and above
  • Martial Eagle – R500,000 and above
  • Black Eagle – R250,000 and above
  • Crowned Eagle – R100,000 and above
  • Fish Eagle – R50,000 and above
  • Tawny Eagle – R25,000 and above
  • African Hawk Eagle – R10,000 and above
  • Booted Eagle – under R10,000

The Ambassadors of the College, are part of our success story. In many ways they continue to engage in various activities aimed at supporting the SAWC and raising funds to enable the College to continue doing the work it does.