Social Impact

We unequivocally recognise our role in South African society

‘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:

The Ethos Educational Foundation Trust

Five years ago, Ethos established the Ethos Educational Foundation 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 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 Financial, Engineering and Accounting. In 2017, we increased our bursaries to support eight students. 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 impact of our programme, we monitor and support all our students – even after graduation – to enable them the best chance of future successes:  

  • The Trust Alumni: We are proud to note that two of our students have already graduated and are currently completing internships with major financial institutions in Johannesburg. 
  • Governance & Reporting: The Trust is overseen by a committee 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 success of this initiative has been driven through Ethos’ close collaboration with The Tomorrow Trust in providing beneficiaries with a sustainable mentorship and vacation work programme to enhance opportunities for future employment.

“Working at Ethos was nothing short of amazing.  Everyone works hard and that motivated me to want to work even harder.”

– Lindo Khoza, Ethos Trust beneficiary & vacation student

“Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to work with Ethos and to put a face behind the names of people who have invested in my future and people that see our potential more than anything else.  It was a rewarding experience.”

– Linda Diphoko, Ethos Trust beneficiary & vacation student

Tomorrow Trust

Ethos is entering our fourth year of partnership with Signa Academy, to provide financial support to four Black disabled female students from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are delighted to report that two of the learners recently advanced from NQFL3 to NQFL4 in May 2017.  We continue to monitor these students’ progress through regular consultation and reporting.  Signa Academy delivers accredited training courses to abled and disabled students in Gauteng, Cape Town and Kwazulu Natal.

Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) provides a foundation for lifelong learning and development with specific focus on numeracy and literacy.  We are honoured to offer continued support to three dedicated Ethos staff members who have participated in the ABET programme since February 2016.  In May 2017, they completed and received their Level 1 certificates and have progressed to Level 2 of the ABET programme.

We are excited that this programme has offered considerably more than improved numeracy and communications skills. 

Unanimously, our participating staff members say that their confidence has grown over the past year, and their personal development and growth has been beyond their expectations. 

As a Firm, we are inspired by their humility in starting this programme, motivated by their commitment and enormously proud of their achievements.  

Student sponsorship programme

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.

Grey College (Bram Fischer Trust)

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.

Operation Smile

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.