Solutions for your goals Case study philanthropy

Case study philanthropy

Like many societies, South Africa is struggling with drug addiction among its youth. When an established family in the region wanted to do something to help, they turned to Credit Suisse for advice on setting up a philanthropic foundation. Today the family's equestrian-based program helps both young people and their caregivers learn about responsibility and hope.

It may seem like a non-sequitur: Over eight weeks a group of troubled young men from a disadvantaged community in South Africa come to the country to work with horses. Either battling drug addiction or at high risk of succumbing to it, none of these teens has any equestrian experience, or had ever thought of working with horses in any capacity.

Yet as it turns out, the horses prove an excellent means of reaching these kids. By getting to know and understand the majestic and highly intelligent and sensitive creatures, by overcoming their fears and learning to work together, the young men gain important skills and insights, as well as self-confidence. All of this supports them in dealing with their often very difficult situations at home.

Best hoof forward

The equestrian program is funded by a philanthropic foundation brought to life by one of South Africa's oldest and best known families. From the outset, and in keeping with its values, the family intended to support both drug prevention and help those struggling with addiction, and their families, cope with their issues.

While the family wanted to do this through direct giving, it had many questions regarding the best way to go about it. What was the optimal structure for this particular charitable foundation? How best to formulate a strategy and decide on a budget? How to implement the structure and the operational framework? Where to find reliable advice and support on selecting programs, finding reliable partners and running the program? They turned to Credit Suisse for assistance.

Along for the ride

Credit Suisse has a long history of expertise in the field of philanthropy. Our experts are experienced in helping families turn their particular values and vision into strategic philanthropic approaches that can have a measurable impact, taking into account the family’s desired level of commitment and the time frame determined. These services include everything from drafting grant-making policies and building out grant-making programs to performing due diligence on project proposals and helping families select, implement, and then monitor their chosen programs. Credit Suisse’s experts can provide operational support as well.

In this particular case, the Credit Suisse team worked closely not only on the foundation strategy. They also provided legal, tax, and administrative support, as well as tailored asset management solutions. The team provided input and expertise on the development of marketing materials as well, including helping with development of the foundation's web site, one of its key communications tools. The Credit Suisse team also helped with donor relationship management, another important operational task.

Giddy up!

Today the foundation supports two equestrian-based programs. One is for young people between the ages of 14 and 21. Its goal is to help them address issues in their current behavior and deal with their challenging life situations and to empower them to make positive life choices. The second program is for the caregivers who work with these youths. It aims to equip the caregivers with the skills needed to work directly with children, youth and substance abusers in disadvantaged communities.

The effort has been a great success. Over 500 young people have already gone through the equestrian program, and have had the chance to learn many important skills. These include lessons on leadership, developing self-esteem, teamwork, and self-awareness. The program also gives them a chance to learn how to trust and respect themselves and others, and learn how to plan, negotiate, and think creatively. For many, it is an eye-opening, and very welcoming, experience: as one participant said, "Life is not about where you come from, it is about who you are and what you want from life."

Through their charitable foundation and the equestrian program, the family has reached its goal of making a positive social impact. It has also increased its network of partners and patrons, and benefitted from a link between the foundation brand and the family business brand.