Athletes raise R1.3m for LEAP
The catchphrase “Give until it hurts” has never been more apt than for the participants in two gruelling Old Mutual sponsored races, but the rewards could hardly be sweeter: a demonstration of South Africans’ commitment to social development and education.
Through sponsorship of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Old Mutual Joberg2c cycling race, the company was able to leave a corporate social responsibility legacy by encouraging the participants of both races to and their supporters to race for more than themselves by raising money for worthy causes that uplift communities.
“The Run/Ride For More Than Yourself” campaign raised R664,521 for LEAP Science and Maths which aim to give young South Africans the academic and life skills they need to become future leaders. These funds will be matched “rand-for-rand” by the Old Mutual Foundation, making it an impressive R1,329,042 social responsibility investment from Old Mutual towards education.
Value of education
Dr Clarence Tshitereke, head of the Old Mutual Foundation, says: “It is through corporate initiatives such as the Old Mutual Run/Ride for More Than Yourself campaign that organisations have the ability to provide the platforms to empower and enable individuals to make a difference. The support for these two events demonstrates what can be achieved by harnessing our collective efforts towards the common good. That South Africans understand the value and importance of education and social development is not questionable. It’s precisely this sort of commitment that not only defines who we are, but is also critical in creating economically viable communities and reconstruct our social outlook.”
In the same vein, Ralph Mupita, Chief Executive, Old Mutual Emerging Markets and a champion of LEAP Maths and Science Schools underscored the primacy of corporate social investment in assisting our development objectives: “Now, more than ever, we need business, government and civil society to work together to address and raise awareness. Education is undoubtedly one of the primary challenges towards our desired social and economic development. Countries that invested in and developed advanced levels of cognitive skills (i.e. in maths and science) have greater potential to become future leaders by producing the requisite technical skills to meet demand and drive economic growth.”
Echoing the same sentiment, Dr Mamphela Ramphele who recently co-hosted an Old Mutual business leaders and LEAP event stated: “Education is the foundation of socio-economic development in our country and all children deserve the right to quality education. Yet the system is currently failing, with more than 90% of our schools not meeting the minimum performance standards in maths and science education, and with only 20% of schools producing 80% of SA’s university students. Much work has been done by government, but it’s time for business and civil society to do more. We need the pooled resources and collective innovation of concerned companies, social entrepreneurs, civic leaders and philanthropists to support community-based initiatives such as the LEAP Science and Maths Schools and to use such support to create aligned momentum to trigger large-scale, sustainable breakthroughs on the key problems in education.
Mupita said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that education can change South Africa’s future and help our nation do great things by creating jobs, reducing poverty and helping to eradicate inequality. There’s no better way than for us to demonstrate our commitment to good corporate citizenship by supporting progressive initiatives such as LEAP.”
He adds: “LEAP is a worthy recipient of this funding. It has demonstrated capability to develop, educate and empower talented children from needy communities. LEAP’s 94% Grade 12 pass rate (2011) with 75% of matriculants going on to study at tertiary institutions is a remarkable achievement that deserves to be replicated across the country; hopefully this funding will help extend the scope and reach of LEAP Maths and Science Schools.”
Taking the lead
John Gilmour, Executive Director and Founder of LEAP Science and Maths Schools said: “This initiative is exemplary as Old Mutual is taking the lead in initiatives that galvanise community action towards the primacy of education in transforming South Africa. LEAP has made great strides in giving disadvantaged students access to good education and life-skills, but there are many thousands more young people who are crying out for that opportunity. Initiatives like this will contribute greatly to our objectives. We are privileged to have Old Mutual as a partner as they are as dedicated to transforming education and narrowing the inequity divide as we are.”
He adds that LEAP Science and Maths Schools provide promising students in marginalised communities’ access to an educational environment that’s dynamic, rigorous and inspiring. From 2008-2011 LEAP Schools have achieved an average 95% pass-rate, compared to 65% nationally, and 80% of LEAP matriculants earn Bachelors or Diploma. The schools are designed to encourage and nurture personal development and leadership potential as well as academic excellence, especially in English, Maths and Science – the primary requirements for access to tertiary institutions.