‘Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large’
– World Business Council For Sustainability Development
Ethos’ primary objective is to maximise stakeholder value by generating superior returns. However, we unequivocally recognise our role in the broader South African community. As such, we are committed to supporting initiatives at the forefront of education and the upliftment and empowerment of disadvantaged people.
Ethos’ Social Impact Programme is reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that our initiatives, time and financial contributions are best aligned with Ethos’ purpose and strategic ambition.
In the 2017 calendar year, over 80% of Ethos’ annual corporate social investment spend went to support initiatives focused on education. Below are some examples of our ongoing commitment:
Our long-established Social Impact Programme provides support to a number of local Education and Welfare projects, including:
In November 2012, Ethos established the Ethos Educational Foundation Trust (‘the Education Trust”) with the primary objective of providing financial assistance and personal development to talented yet previously disadvantaged individuals to advance their studies having completed their secondary school certificates. Ultimately, our goal was to create improved employment opportunities and, where possible, enable disadvantaged individuals to qualify and to enter financial and professional services.
The Education Trust is overseen by a Board of Trustees headed by independent chairman, Mr Peter Mageza, and reports quarterly to the Ethos Board of Directors and the Ethos Sustainability Committee. Formal budget and review processes are in place, whereby regular feedback and reporting is provided by The Tomorrow Trust on the progress of our beneficiaries together with annual site visits to the educational institutions.
The Education Trust launched its bursary programme in January 2013, in partnership with The Tomorrow Trust, offering four beneficiaries opportunities to study undergraduate courses at universities in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria in the areas of Finance, Engineering and Accounting.
In 2017, we increased our bursaries to support eight students. This number has increased year on year to ten students in 2020. Beyond financial contributions to academic fees, learning material and living costs, our close collaboration with The Tomorrow Trust provides beneficiaries with a mentorship and vacation work programme to enhance opportunities for future employment.
Many Ethos staff members support this programme as mentors, giving up numerous hours of their time to coaching and encouraging our students. In order to measure the impact of our programme, we monitor and support all our students post-graduation, enabling them the best chance of success. We are proud of our students that have graduated and secured permanent employment, and those that are currently completing internships with major financial institutions.
The Tomorrow Trust is a South African non-profit organisation (NPO) founded in 2005 that supports orphaned and vulnerable children throughout their educational journey. The Tomorrow Trust provides integrated education and holistic support from Grade R to Grade 12 and into college and university. They focus on academics and life skills, thereby empowering everyone to reach their full potential as self-sustaining and proactive members of society. Once a student graduates from college, they are fully prepared for a career in their field of study. Providing students with a fulfilling career strengthens their communities and the economy. Graduates go on to support their entire family, thereby bringing them out of poverty.
Ethos support since 2005
Founded in 1999, The Student Sponsorship Programme (SSP) has achieved a decade of success.
SSP is a South African non-profit trust that enables academically talented students from low income families to excel at the country’s best secondary schools. (SSP achieves this through financial assistance, mentoring and leadership development.)
SSP’s success factors are: meticulous selection of students, engaged institutional and individual sponsors, strong relationships with partner schools, a critical mass of SSP Scholars at each school, mentoring, personal development, and support for Scholars and families.
SSP finances five years of high school education at schools in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Students are recruited from primary schools based on academic excellence, financial need and leadership potential.
Ethos Support since 2015
The Trust was launched from the Reunie Hall by President Nelson Mandela in 1997. It aims to raise funds in support of lesser privileged boys to enable them to attend Grey College. It also serves as the ‘vehicle’ for Grey’s outreach programme that enables the school to support worthy educational causes such as the academy for 150 learners who come to Grey to be taught during holidays.
The Trust was named after advocate Bram Fischer who matriculated in 1925 and was Mandela’s lawyer during the Rivonia trials.
In his biography of Fischer, Clingman begins as follows: “A life begins long before it stars, emerging from other lives before returning to them again… when it emerges and takes shape, it does so against the pressure, resistance and influence of a surrounding history and ethos.” This also applies to a traditional school like Grey.
Ethos Support since 2011
Founded in 2006, Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) medical volunteers provide free constructive surgeries to children and adults throughout Southern and Central Africa. OSSA also places an emphasis on providing training and educational opportunities to both its volunteers and rural health care providers in order to build capacity and create self-sustainable systems in South Africa. Operation Smile has provided Basic Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support training to doctors throughout South Africa.
OSSA is part of a global non-profit medical services organisation that has over the past 30 years provided care to over 150 000 children and young adults worldwide and currently has a presence in over 60 countries.