Five months ago UCT's chancellor, GraÃ§a Machel, launched the Chancellor's Challenge 175 (CC 175) campaign, calling on the university community to "set the sails for a new beginning, taking with us our rich heritage, and plotting a course to a new horizon that will give hope and promise to many who might at this moment not even have dreamt of a better life".
Machel made a significant personal contribution and this set the scene for staff members and students to dig deep into their pockets. Some donors, like the Nussbaum Foundation, also heeded the call.
Then came former president Nelson Mandela, who added his voice to the consciousness of accepting collective responsibility for the future of our country and our continent. Mandela's personal gift brought the CC175 to the R1-million mark in just over four months.
Now the campaign has received its first contribution from the United Kingdom. Long-standing patrons Harold and Annette Gorvy have joined the circle of pioneers with their generous gift through the UCT Trust in the United Kingdom.
Said Harold Gorvy: "I'm a strong believer in the importance of a great education, and UCT provides world-class graduates to South Africa's burgeoning economy. The campaign was an opportunity to continue to support the university."
A UCT alumnus, Gorvy graduated with a BCom in 1948 and qualified the following year as a chartered accountant. He practised in South Africa until his retirement and in 1987 went to live in the UK. He continues to work there in the banking and financial services world.
The Gorvys have been married for 53 years, and both their son and daughter, as well as their son- and daughter-in-law, are also UCT graduates.
Gorvy, who has supported arts bursaries for disadvantaged students in the past, encouraged others to pledge their support to this worthy cause.
"Everybody should be given the opportunity to study," he affirmed. "But this requires money. I believe that those who have should give so that those who don't are able to be educated."
According to the Department of Communication and Development's (DCD) executive director, Gerda Kruger, a key element of CC175 is the development of a philanthropic culture.
"The campaign is about raising funds, but more importantly it is about building long-term relationships with our funding partners. We want to foster enduring associations and connections. We want to communicate with our stakeholders and show them where UCT has come from and where the institution is headed. Because of this, DCD has developed a very structured and strategic roll-out plan."
2004 sees the campaign targeting the UCT community, one that has been segmented into various categories, for example, the Senior Leadership Group and heads of departments. Each group will be approached individually.
Towards the end of this year and running into 2005, the campaign will be extended nationally to include all alumni and corporate donors in South Africa. 2005 will also see the campaign reaching out to the UCT international community. This will be undertaken through a series of roadshows.
Kruger reiterated the chancellor's call "that Africa must find in Africa's pockets and hearts the first contributions".
"The vice-chancellor shares this view and we know it is critical that the university community and the rest of South Africa show their commitment towards the CC175 before the international community is approached. We know that showing our dedication will strengthen our attempts to raise funds overseas."
With DCD responsible for the roll out of CC175, the department's structure has been aligned with the campaign and its vision, Kruger observed.
"The campaign is a challenge for the department in terms of the administrative load, but by personally contributing to CC175, a large number of the department has shown their support and enthusiasm for making the campaign a successful reality."
The CC175 is a landmark campaign that endeavours to raise R175-million over the next five years to grow UCT's endowment, assist needy students and attract special gifts and donations.
Half of every rand raised will, through financial aid and scholarships, help secure access to tertiary education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These students will be called the Chancellor's Scholars and will receive the financial aid on condition that, upon graduation, they in turn become donors, supporting the next generation of students.
The other half of each rand raised will grow the UCT general endowment, contributing to the financial sustainability of UCT.
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