In 2020, the College launched its Sustainability Fund with an incredible investment of €2.5m from the MAVA Fondation pour la Nature secured via Peace Parks Foundation. Funds raised by the Southern African Wildlife College Trust, combined with funding secured from founder donors Peace Parks Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), mean that the College is now closer to its short-term goal of growing the Sustainability Fund to ZAR100- million.
“Reaching this short-term goal will mean that the interest earned on capital growth will go towards covering our institutional and core departmental costs, making our training more affordable to those who need it most,” said SAWC CEO, Theresa Sowry.
The Sustainability Fund builds on a humbling legacy of philanthropy and support from people and organisations that recognise the importance of the College’s role within the conservation landscape, who believe in the College and who want to ensure its continued success.
“Such philanthropic commitment to conservation makes it possible for the College to train beyond boundaries at a time when protected areas are under growing pressure, and our work is increasingly urgent and relevant,” she added.
In support of this and in celebration of the SAWC’s 25-year jubilee, the College, together with its partners WWF-South Africa and Peace Parks, organised a sustainability event on 3 November 2021 in celebration of this milestone. Countess Sylvia Labia, as the patron of the SAWC’s Sustainability very kindly hosted the event at Hawthornden, her family home in Cape Town.
A number of prominent guests and friends of the three organisations attended the event. A challenge to match R1-million pledged on behalf of the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, managed by Nedbank Private Wealth, was also made by Wealth Manager, Anthony Nicklin. Thanks to the support of a number of guests, and subsequent donations now made, the College is now well on its way to reaching this target.
In inviting support for the College, which she described as a vital and vibrant institution, Countess Labia said, “It is wonderful to see some of the exciting things in the pipeline not least the College’s sustainability strategy that looks to mobilizing new and alternative funding mechanisms and sources of income. Supporting this is the College’s Sustainability Fund which will help to ensure the College is able to continue training beyond boundaries to secure our people, our planet and our prosperity, whilst putting nature at the centre of our thinking.
Master of Ceremonies, Jeanné Poultney, the Executive Manager Marketing, Fundraising and Media Relations at the College, thanked Mr André Hoffmann, President of the MAVA Foundation for MAVA’s generous support and for his encouraging message, which was transmitted virtually. Special guests at the event included Dr John Hanks, former CEO of WWF-South Africa who was instrumental in the establishment of the College, Dr Morné du Plessis current CEO of WWF South Africa, Mr Werner Myburgh CEO of Peace Parks Foundation, Mrs Lesley Richardson former long-standing chairperson of SAWCT, members of the College Board which included Mr Christoph Weber as well as Mrs Bettina Weber, founder trustees of Zürich-based donor organisation, Friends of African Wildlife.