R2.1 million to celebrate 21 years of giving back

The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet community loyalty programme is celebrating 21 years of giving back. More than R500 million has been raised for South African schools, charities, animal and environmental causes thanks to supporters swiping their cards at participating retailers.

In celebration of its 21st anniversary, the programme has launched the “21 years of Giving Back” campaign with R2.1 million which will be given away to 21 causes. Supporters are invited, until the end of February 2019, to nominate any South African charitable organisation that matters to them and which they think should benefit. In May, 21 winning beneficiary organisations will be chosen from the list of nominations to each receive R100 000, and the supporters who nominated them will each receive a R1 000 Woolies Giftcard.

The programme has evolved over the past 21 years from a school fundraising programme, so that cardholders today can also support other causes that are close to their hearts. MyVillage beneficiaries are a wide range of human development and care charities; while MyPlanet refers to those beneficiary organisations whose work involves animal welfare, conservation and environmental causes. Each cardholder can nominate up to three beneficiaries, and donations are made by participating retailers on their behalf, and at no cost to them.

SPCAs around the country have benefited from the My Planet programme.

21 years down the line, there are 1 200 000 active cardholders raising funds for more than 8 000 beneficiaries of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme, of which more than 890 000 swipe for schools; 102 000 for MyVillage charities and 137 000 for MyPlanet organisations.

To celebrate the 21-year milestone, cardholders can nominate their favourite beneficiary or any other cause in their community. “We want to encourage our supporters to also consider bringing local, smaller organisations doing heroic work in their communities into the fold,” says the programme’s general manager, Pieter Twine.

Sustainable

Over the past fiscal year a total of just over R83 million was raised with R7.32m and R10.49m going to MyVillage and MyPlanet beneficiaries, respectively. For many schools, charities and conservation organisations, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has become a sustainable and meaningful source of funds.

Funds raised by cardholders have also enabled some important donations over the last year. Thanks to the supporters of the MyPlanet Rhino Fund, a new FoxBat aircraft was donated to the Kruger National Park to help combat rhino poaching. A major donation to the Shine Literacy programme helped to support their expansion and the promotion of reading skills. In 2018, the first Dream2Teach bursaries were awarded to two young South Africans who have the calling to become teachers but couldn’t afford tuition fees.

KZN Maths and science teacher development addressed

Twine says, “The amounts raised are a true testament to what happens when people collaborate and the impact that can be achieved when many people’s contributions collectively provide support to causes. The funds raised through the programme can play an important role in enabling MyVillage and MyPlanet organisations to pay their monthly bills, or even provide them with opportunities to scale up their services or start new, much-needed projects.”

Meaningful solutions

Over the past year, the top MyVillage supported by Capetonians is the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and the most popular MyPlanet is the SPCA-Cape of Good Hope, South Africa’s oldest SPCA. In Johannesburg, CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation was the most supported MyVillage and the Endangered Wildlife Trust emerged as the top MyPlanet beneficiary. Durban MyPlanet cardholders raised significant funds for the local SPCA – Durban & Coast; while I Care, which is devoted to finding meaningful and sustainable solutions to the challenge of street children, is one of the top MyVillage beneficiaries.

In Pretoria, local animal welfare organisation Wetnose Animal Rescue was the top MyPlanet beneficiary and the most popular MyVillage was the SA National Council for the Blind. Port Elizabeth cardholders raised the most funds for their local branch of the Animal Welfare Society and for the Aurora Children’s Centre which cares for children with physical and intellectual disabilities. Similarly in Bloemfontein, local animal welfare organisation, New Beginnings was the top MyPlanet organisation and the most popular MyVillage beneficiary was the Carel du Toit Centre which provides vital services for children with hearing impediments.

Thousands of Tutudesks will be donated to children at under-resourced schools.

MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is also making donations to a selection of causes, in celebration of their milestone birthday. So far 21 of the SPCA’s most in need each received R10 000; 21 000 Book Dash books were added to Santa’s Shoeboxes; 2 100 Tutudesks will be donated to pupils at under-resourced schools in Limpopo; and 21 “Smiles” (cleft lip/palate operations) with Operation Smile will be implemented in April 2019.

The 21 Years of Giving Back campaign is open to MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporters throughout the country. If you are not yet a cardholder, you can sign up for free at www.myschool.co.za or download the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet App, nominate the cause that matters to you, and be part of the active citizenship our country needs.

Taking on the 8-mile challenge to raise funds for conservation