A vision for IPASA’s future. Mmabatho Maboya. Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation. IPASA Newsletter. September 2022.

A vision for IPASA’s future

Mmabatho Maboya is the Chairperson of IPASA and Chief Executive Officer of the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation

IPASA’s new Council Chairperson, Mmabatho Maboya has shared her vision for IPASA with Philanthropy Views. Mmabatho is passionate about IPASA’s work to strengthen, support and promote philanthropy in South Africa. She is committed to support IPASA’s members, and sees IPASA as a member-focused, transformative thought leader that advocates for an enabling environment for philanthropy that can strategically address inequality in South Africa.

Congratulations on your election as IPASA Chairperson. Although this role is fulfilled within a specific framework, and while the Chairperson leads the council as a collective, a chairperson also brings their unique attributes and competencies into this space. How do you foresee your experience and passion for certain issues and causes will add value to IPASA?

At IPASA we have 50 philanthropic foundations that contribute to a learning agenda, enabling thought leadership amongst members who come from diverse backgrounds and practice. This facilitates collaboration and builds a culture of giving amongst South Africans.

I am passionate about issues relating to access to quality of education, children’s rights, entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, and good governance. My many years of experience in the philanthropy and non-profit sector will add value and ensure that IPASA continues to make an impact. My previous work with multi-sector networks, partnerships and stakeholder relationships is valuable background that I will be able to draw on in leading IPASA.

I look forward to learning from our association as I have been doing during my time as a member of IPASA and we certainly remain committed to developing philanthropy by providing opportunities for our members to learn more, to network and collaborate more and co-create innovative solutions for the multiple and complex challenges we are facing.

IPASA has grown and matured since its establishment in 2015. Major shifts occurred in the past three years including that IPASA has come to appreciate its convening power as a key strength. IPASA has also significantly expanded its range of knowledge sharing and networking offerings and has increased and diversified its membership. From your perspective, what are IPASA’s main achievements that you would like to build on during your time as IPASA Chairperson.

The diversity of our membership in terms of their charitable goals, spheres of influence, and social impacts has become even more pertinent. Additionally, IPASA developed dynamic platforms for cross-sector cooperation. Through these initiatives, our members can participate in the vibrant programmes curated by the members themselves. This is one of the member-centric elements that I think we should build on and facilitating participation and networking through these platforms.

IPASA’s achievements up to now, combined with the refreshed Council, and with you as Chairperson, sets the stage for taking IPASA to the next level. What do you regard as key focus areas for IPASA in the short to medium term? And what would you like to see IPASA achieving in these focus areas?

IPASA Council had approved a strategic plan which is enhanced annually through plans and resource allocation. In addition to the broad objective of building a strong organisation that enables philanthropic organisations to have a sectoral home, I would like for IPASA to come out more in setting the agenda for the key issues we face as a sector and as a country. I also believe that the reputation of IPASA has been steadily growing and ensuring that programmes for member participation are topical and curated to the quality that the members expect.

The potential of philanthropy is often highlighted – the unique role it can play, and its ability for innovation and to take risks are often applauded. What role do you see philanthropy playing in the future in South Africa? For example, how can philanthropy optimise its ability to take risks and support innovation?

Local philanthropy operating in an upper middle-income country that is soon to graduate to a high-income country, needs to appreciate the transformation taking place in the development funding space. Our members have demonstrated their availability and willingness to support innovation aimed at achieving development objectives. However, I think the country should be on a journey to formalise the role of philanthropy in development and ensure that the sector has an enabling environment to give more. These are regulatory factors that include tax, categorisation in relation to NPOs and defining space for impact investing. Therefore, IPASA need to play the advocacy role that the sector needs and drive agendas in the right forums to ensure that philanthropy has an important voice in matters of development.

What motivates you to work in the philanthropy sector, what inspires you in this sector, and what are your hopes for philanthropy in South Africa?

I am inspired and motivated by the potential of South Africa and its people. The role of philanthropy in tackling the socioeconomic issues that face society as a whole is a useful strategic instrument. I am also inspired by the collaborative efforts made by like-minded organisations to do good and to promote the welfare of others.

My hopes for philanthropy in South Africa, is that it continues to prioritise the promotion of strategic philanthropic activities that help reduce inequality in a transformative and systemic way. I also hope that it continues to work towards a better tomorrow for all South Africans by contributing towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals in the context of South Africa and addressing the challenges that we face both locally and globally. Philanthropy can play a unique role to unlock potential and innovative solutions. IPASA is uniquely positioned to provide the thought leadership and networking opportunities needed for philanthropic funders need to play their role as best as possible in the development ecosystem in South Africa. I am proud and honoured to lead IPASA at a time when it is more critical than ever for philanthropy to catalyse systemic transformation.

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