“Blacks philanthropy has increased…” – Williman Gray HI, president and CEO of UNCF

Do Africans still have doubt about a new dawn of philanthropic atmosphere glinting on the continent’s soil?  These past years have seen the emergence of more noteworthy givers, cash-makers with notable efforts, carrying the crest of giving to the society on their suits.

Among these philanthropists, there are a few who have given away over $10million to different causes in their country homes, and across borders.  The likes of the acclaimed wealthiest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote; South African business icon, Francois van Niekerk; Congolese NBA Star, Dikembe Mutorubo; South African educational philanthropist, Allan Gray; Nigerian retired military General, Theophilus Danjuma and some others have each given away more than $10 million to charity and are still giving.

The fact that their donations outdone one another, irrespective of their net-worth, wealth south or wealth rate, their attitude to selfless giving crowned them as pacesetters of modern philanthropy in Africa.  Those who have not given up to that amount are also making remarkable efforts to contribute to the development of their communities in different ways.  But, meet the men who have broken a new record of giving away $10 million:


Estimated donation: Over $25 million

This famous African business tycoon has enlisted himself on the list of black philanthropists through his culture of generous giving.  The Nigeria Commodity giant over last year donated more than $25 million to different causes across Nigerian Communities. Fifty-four years old Dangote who recently opened an automated cement plant worth $1 billion, with constant on-line monitoring equipment to ensure high quality cement production in Ibese, Ogun State, Nigeria, is ignited with the passion of strengthening small and medium scale businesses.  It is no surprise that part of his millions charitably went into the pouch of microfinance.

After giving a Nigerian SME fund $15 million, to grant loans to upcoming businessmen and women, Dangote foundation donated $2 million to a fellowship programme that will build young African leaders.  The richest black African on earth, with over $10 billion net-worth donated $2 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help those who survived the outrageous flood in Pakistan.

In Nigeria, during the immense flood that ravage some part of Lagos, Dangota donated N100 million  ($623, 247) to the victims. The leading pan-African conglomerate charitably gave out relief materials and N365 million  ($2.3 million) to victims of the 2011 post-general election violence in some northern States. He voluntarily donated millions to education and healthcare services across his country home in late 2011. And the list of charitable giving goes on and on.


Estimated donation: $170 million

Rated by Forbes Magazine as one of the top five notable givers in Africa, Van Niekerk stirred up the spirit of modern philanthropy when he gave away 70% of his equity in the company he founded, Mertech Group. From all reported figures of donations printed on the pages of reliable journals in Africa, Van Niekerk took the lead with a stake value at $170 million. The huge sum was actually given to the Mergon foundation a charitable trust he co-founded with his wife.

As part of the core objectives of the Mergon Foundation, the donation is pointed at substantial healthcare services for HIV/AIDs patients, provision of basic educational needs for pre-primary kids and recycling projects for South African youth in their local districts. He set out some R30 million annually to support social investment programmes in South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and the United Kingdom.

A South African Institute recently honored Van Niekerk who was not on the first fifteen Forbes lists of wealthiest Africans for Advancement.  The honour carried him on the shoulder of a Special Recognition Award for Philanthropy in 2010, for his commitment to improving the lives of people for the past 31 years.


Estimated donation: $150 million

Although not on the Forbes’ list as first fifteen richest people in Africa, Allen Gray has contributed enormously to social causes, especially in education, across South Africa. With estimated donation of $150 million, his foundation, Allen Gray Orbis foundation, offers full high school scholarships that will take care of tuition, hostel fees and basic operating cost at selected top South African Schools.

Allen is driven by a mission to promote prosperity through entrepreneurship across South Africa. For over 33 years, he has been able to donate about R1 billion to empowerment programmes, education and other causes.  The asset management guru set up a trust fund to assist graduates of the University programme, aspiring to set up a business. As part of his contribution to the world wildlife fund, Cape Mental Health and an adult literacy project, the preservationist and South African philanthropist co-founded a charitable trust with his wife, Gill Gray, to support these causes.

To applaud his philanthropic efforts and immense contributions to social change in South Africa, Allan was awarded a lifetime philanthropy Award, by the Inyathelo Institute in 2011. South Africans see Allan as a renowned philanthropic visionary with a distinguish attitude towards giving.


Estimated donation: $100 million

His $100 million endowment to the TY Danjuma Foundation did cause some wrestling comments among Nigerians over the source of his wealth from.  But his generous donation, which emerged as the highest in the history of Nigeria philanthropy, has enlisted him on Forbes list of five most recognizable givers in Africa. Danjuma, the former Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979, founded the TY Danjuma foundation, not just as a mere charity body but philanthropic organization equipped with the tools to effect durable advantages through the implementation of developmental activities.

As an oil figure and owner of the South Atlantic petroleum, Danjuma explained that he made his donation from the expansive wealth he had been blessed with.  He noted that he made his money from his shipping concern and his big catch in the oil business.  To him, he understood that philanthropy is not all about giving away money charitably and also ensure that it is being spent appropriately.

The one time Defense Minister under President Olusegun Obasanjo civilian government is motivated to come to the people’s aid by helping them fight poverty and providing societal needs. He gave $500,000 as a grant to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Taraba State, Nigeria, to address health challenges in the state.


Estimated donation: $50 million

He is referred to as a former South African billionaire but his legacy of philanthropic efforts is a mark that cannot be easily washed away on the sand of time. Donald, before passing the mantle of huge capital based charity to his only daughter, Wendy Appelbaum who is also a noteworthy giver, has given away over $50 million to medical services. He is so much interested in good healthcare.

Donald founded a healthcare charitable trust, the Donald Gordon Foundation, to afford efficient and sustainable healthcare services in communities across South Africa. He single-handedly funded the establishment of the Donald Gordon Teaching Medical Centre at the University of Witwatersrand with a donation of $17 million. From his private pocket he also gave away $33 million to the Wales Millennium Centre and the Royal Opera House in the United Kingdom.


Estimated donation: $45 million

Inspired by the word change, Shuttleworth, has a driving force that pulls him toward giving out his resources to help bring innovations to limelight.  He is a man of risk who can sacrifices a whole lot to impact lives. After selling his company, Thawte, an online security firm for $575 million in 2002, he gave away more than $25 million for development and distribution of free-open source software, Ubuntu. He launched the Shuttleworth Foundation to help fund aspiring and active change makers in the society.

For Shuttleworth loves technology. He is committed to working to create a universal freely available high quality desktop software environment for everyone and at the same time funding his organization to discover social innovation in Africa.  The South African entrepreneur donated $20 million through the Shuttleworth Foundation to assist creative and purpose driving individuals actualize their dreams.

A space tourist and the first South African to step foot in space, Shuttleworth was in the space for eight days, carrying out scientific researches for his country.  After his return on the 5th of May 2002, he took to traveling to places, enlightening people, especially students about space life.


Estimated donation: Over $20 million

Forty-six years back Dikembe Mutombo was a new born child in Kinshasa, Congo Capital. He grew up knowing how to help people by assisting his mother sell food in the market. The former NBA’s best player, now an administrator, CEO, activist, psychiatrist, campaign sponsor and philanthropist brought succour to his country home where health issues has been a major concern. Dikembe donated over $20 million to build the Biaba Marie Mutombo Hospital which he named after his mother (she died of stroke in 1997 because she could not get to the hospital), worth $30 million and was opened in 2007.

The Congolese who left for the US after he won a pre-med academic scholarship to Georgetown University in 1989 embraces the culture of giving by donating millions of dollars to education and health sector, especially on awareness on HIV/AIDS. He organized a soccer tournament for youngsters as an avenue to attract participations in his HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention projects.

Dikembe, an eight-times NBA All – Star, founded the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in 1997, to accomplish his philanthropic target. His foundation gave 10,000 doses of albendazole, deworming medications to his country after the discovery that hookworm is a severe public health problem in Democratic Republic of Congo. He also championed a campaign that seeks Americans to help fight global AIDS and poverty.

For his endless philanthropic efforts, in 2010 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation honoured him with Steve Patterson Award for Sport philanthropy.


Estimated donation: Over $12 million

He founded the Shanduke Foundation in 2004. Cyril endowed his foundation with R100 million (over $12 million) to support the cause of social investments over a long period of time.  The Shanduke Group Chairman who is inspired by any small act of giving has committed million in US currency to education and empowers black entrepreneur development.

His Adopt – A – School Foundation under the Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust has provided basic facilities to 50 schools in seven provinces across South Africa. The foundation is involved in organizing and mobilizing the private sectors, organization and individuals to support schools.  It works to improve the condition of schools abandoned by the government. So far, it has succeeded in adopting more than 100 schools in different provinces in his community base.

The entrepreneur through the business development trust own by him has given young and unemployed South Africans an opportunity to lay hand on something profitable. Cyril understanding in business development skills gave him an open sight to pursue the economic empowerment that is being advantageous to his people through his philanthropic efforts.



Estimated donation: $23 million

Driving on the legacy his father Donald Gordon bestows on her, Wendy among wealthy individuals in Africa has become one of the biggest philanthropists.  Her $23 million donation to the creation of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gils), and at the same time funding the Donald Gordon Medical Centre his father founded, gave her much relieve into ensure that South African retains a leading stand in medical centers across the continent.

Wendy who could stand taller than any woman philanthropists in South Africa gave away millions of South African Rand, through her Wendy Appelbaum Institute for Women’s Health to ensure that intensive health care attention is given to women across her country home. The woman philanthropist believes that women have been historically, marginalised in terms of researching their meticulous aliment.  This made her gave her breed a needed hand through her women health institute. Mrs Appelbaum also gave her share away, donating R20 million ($2.3 million) each to disability, empowerment and education.


Estimated donation: About $10 million

He owns the largest private reserve in South Africa, the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. Nicky has contributed immensely to the preservation of environmental conservation causes.  The conservationist has continued to pump millions of US dollar through his private family company, Oppenheimer & Sons to keep conservation areas alive. Annually, he gives out at least R2 million to research works.

Nicky has championed a research and educational outfit, located on the Oppenheimers’ family 170 acre farm near Heathrow Airport, UK, to discover more on organic farming and national environment for about 16 years now.

The philanthropist who could not hide his zeal for education donated about $10 million (R75 million) for both undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships and bursaries to South African students during the diamond anniversary in 2008. Through the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, the South African richest man as rated by Forbes committed himself to the disbursement of $6 million annually to education causes.

The African diamond giant is an influential campaigner against poverty.  He is endowed with property-alleviation projects. Nicky, also the second Wealthiest man in Africa is a philanthropic model any young and aspiring philanthropist will emulate anywhere in Africa. Though, it may not be of similar or equal causes but in the act of giving charitably.

Note: The sum of their giving may have changed or increased since this article was first written.

Image via http://www.power-of-giving.com/

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