Friend and colleague Heeten Kalan visited San Francisco for a long overdue visit. Inevitably, as we caught-up on our latest projects in South Africa and news about friends and family, we began to reminisce about our past. Heeten recalled how our friendship started under an unlikely set of circumstances nearly two decades ago when he was a young, Dartmouth graduate with a dream of starting a non-profit organization. We met over the telephone. I called with the unpleasant task of informing him that his proposal to South Coast Foundation was unsuccessful. However, after we reviewed the proposal, Heeten not only convinced me to reconsider, but in less than a month, he received his very first grant from us. Though new to fundraising at the time, Heeten’s talent was not to be missed! From there, Heeten’s career blossomed as a gifted speaker, development strategist and advocate for social justice. He founded the South Africa Environmental Exchange Program and has been key to the burgeoning environmental justice programs in South Africa, initiating innovative environmental protection programs around toxic waste and emissions in disenfranchised communities. Currently, Heeten is with The New World Foundation and a board member of the South Africa Development Fund, which was the recent recipient of a multi-million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support HIV/Aids programs in South Africa. It’s an honor to be his friend and to have had the opportunity to support him in the early days.
An unexpected letter arrived today and in it, a card with a note and several checks. There was somewhat of an apology for the amount, but to me, it didn’t matter. The timing of its arrival was the real gift. The donation was for Woza Moya, one of our favorite organizations that unexpectedly lost a major funder. Suddenly they are under dire financial straits. So thank-you Ubuntu Charlotte for your gift. When you give from the heart, it’s usually worth more than you ever imagine.
The Centre is a joint venture between the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Annie Lennoxs SING Campaign, and the Vrygrond Community Development Trust. It will provide vital services for adults and children in the Vrygrond community, up to 13% of whom are already infected with HIV. South Coast Foundation is privileged to offer support for this amazing project.
Welcome to our first blog post.
South Coast Foundation is a private family foundation that operates a grantmaking program in South Africa. With an underlying commitment to poverty reduction and HIV/AIDS eradication, our mission is to support orphans and vulnerable children through organizations that address the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic at the local level. Our guiding principle is “No impact too small”.
The foundation’s experience and history in South Africa, which spans over two decades, has been focused primarily on community-based organizations. We regard these organizations as the lifeline of impoverished communities, at the forefront of innovative development and the heart of community development.
We invite you to visit our website to learn more.