In South Africa, 21 March is annually celebrated as Human Rights Day. This day certainly deserves celebration; also referred to as Heroes’ Day, the event ignited global awareness of the inhumanities of the apartheid regime and simultaneously signalled the start of a new era of democracy – moving forward with hope.
This month then, it is only fitting that reference to this day of commemoration instantly brings to mind Chris Bertish’s recent (seemingly impossible) achievement, aimed at raising 20 million ZAR for three life-changing South African charities: The Lunchbox Fund, Operation Smile SA and Signature of Hope Trust.
A true modern day hero, Chris completed the first ever solo, unsupported, transatlantic stand-up paddleboard (SUP) Crossing on 9 March, after spending 93 days surmounting the dangers of the open ocean. On 14 March, a motion was put before the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa to congratulate Chris and call on all South Africans to “Dream It, See It, Believe It, Achieve It” (Chris’s motto).
On Courage, Integrity and Changing Lives
As proud title sponsor of The SUP Crossing, Chris and Carrick share a strong drive to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children in Southern Africa. Chris’ mental fortitude and determination resonate with the Carrick ethos – as leaders in wealth and capital management we are also driven by the values of integrity, transparency and courage even in the face of adversity. It is not surprising that upon meeting Chris just over a year ago at our annual conference themed “Finding courage” that we started our partnership.
Knowing Chris, I’m convinced that he’ll be first to emphasise that while his accomplishments have been vast, he is an ordinary man whose extraordinary dreams have launched him into the public eye, all the result of his burning compassion for the plight of the helpless; his unbreakable spirit and belief in achieving against the odds; and most of all his unwavering courage and grit.
The wise words of the late South African president, hero and father of a nation, Nelson Mandela, inspire us all to strive for greatness: “Courage is not the absence of fear [but the triumph over it]; it is inspiring others to move beyond it”.
The Culture of Sustainable Philanthropy
Against this background, it’s vital that we take a moment out of our busy schedules to reflect on the future of philanthropy. The term Philanthropy originates from the Greek term which directly translated means “love of mankind.” Philanthropy is an idea, event, or action that is done to better humanity and usually involves some sacrifice as opposed to being done for a profit motive.
In the world of philanthropy, it is relatively easy to donate a large sum of money to make an impact on one or more people’s lives as a once-off event. The much harder part, in fact, ten times harder, is to sustain the same impact into the future. While rejoicing in the excitement of Chris’s impressive feat, it hardly means our work is done; to the contrary, the hard, gritty work starts now. The SUP Crossing has created a solid platform and garnered important public awareness, yet needs to be sustained into the future, mobilising business leaders to continue boosting not just civic awareness but also civic engagement.
Sustainable Sponsorship: The Signature of Hope Trust
In answer to the need for sustainable sponsorship, The Signature of Hope Trust was initiated by four goal-driven achievers who all share the same vision of philanthropy (also directors of the Carrick Wealth Board).
Signature of Hope raises funds through personal and corporate donations: in cooperation with professional partners, the Trust will be building, equipping and administering schools in rural areas of South Africa to provide pre-school education. The Signature of Hope Trust, through Carrick Wealth, will invest the funds raised to support the work of Operation Smile, The Lunchbox Fund and future partners. The funds raised through the SUP Crossing will go into an annuity and the income from this annuity will be dispersed equally to the beneficiaries.
The Roadmap Forward
With rising deprivation, environmental stress and injustice all over the world, doing good and giving back to the community gives purpose to people, which is why I am encouraging fellow business leaders operating in the philanthropy space to join the discussion.
CEO, Carrick Wealth