PERMANENTLY EMPLOYED INTERNS
YOUNG LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES
BURSARY BENEFICIARIES GRADUATED
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
PPS Foundation Team
I am proud to have witnessed some of the greatest accomplishments from the PPS Foundation since its establishment in 2016. What stands out for me is the role the Foundation plays in developing the potential of young people through various interventions: pre-graduate study assistance for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and the graduate programme that we run annually at PPS for a cohort of recently graduated young people. The aforementioned programme gives participants work experience and equips them for the world of work. As we reflect on highlights for the PPS Foundation, we also shine a spotlight on the very good relationships that we have with various tertiary education institutions. These relationships have been built over many years and have benefited from the Foundation’s involvement in sponsoring projects to improve teaching and learning facilities.
As an organisation that provides life and morbidity cover we are of course in the eye of the COVID-19 storm. It is during times like these that we can be true to our core purpose. Yes, the pandemic had a big impact on our profits. Due to the strength of our model, however, the business is still strong and will be able to ride out the storm, so solvency is not a concern. And, despite this financial impact we are proud and grateful that we could still support, and not trim down, most of the initiatives at the PPS Foundation.
As I have noted in our PPS Group integrated report, tough times bring out either the best or the worst in people and the unwavering commitment of our staff during these times was humbling to witness. From a financial perspective, we were very proud to add more than R2.2 billion in profits to the Profit-Share Accounts of our members with qualifying products, despite the challenging environment. A quarter of that was from the operating or insurance underwriting side and the rest from investment market returns on the assets on our balance sheet. All our subsidiaries also performed better than their respective business plans last year, a trend that we have seen for several years.
We believe that by investing in human potential we can produce South Africa’s next wave of economically empowered young professionals. We expect 2021 to be much the same as 2020 in terms of continued social distancing and the impact of the pandemic on claims but, I think we are much better prepared. A crisis is usually a gateway from one world to the next; the transition can be painful, but the learnings often provide us with a better way of doing things.
It was the great Sir Isaac Newton who once said: “If I were able to see further than others, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants”. I think that is true for all professionals.
We are what we are in our professions due to those that have paved the way before us. We all remain debtors to our professions. So, it is in essence about paying it forward. By helping those that come after us to qualify as professionals and live their dreams, we make the world a better place. The PPS Foundation creates a platform to do this. It also helps that the contributions are tax-deductible, so the taxman also comes to the party! Join us as we change the face of the nation and spread the “nurturing potential” narrative across the length and breadth of the country. This, I believe, is an apt way to show that success is indeed, better shared.
Over the years, the PPS Foundation’s commitment and expertise have enabled us to support young professionals through the ongoing economic pressures and social inequalities in South Africa. Today, this is no different. It remains our firm belief that the social challenges that exist in our country are too significant to be left to government alone to address. That is what drives the essence of what we do; we do what is possible to ensure that our beneficiaries benefit from all our programmes.
The COVID-19 pandemic once again highlighted the huge inequalities and shortcomings in our education system. This global crisis was undoubtedly the biggest challenge we experienced during this past year. We are grateful, however, that we could continue with our work with minimal negative impact from the trials triggered by the pandemic.
The pandemic meant that we had to adapt some of our programmes to suit the times we found ourselves in. Usually the bursary programme covers recipients’ tuition fees, meals, accommodation and books. With COVID-19 in the mix we broadened support to include laptops, data and additional boarding expenses due to the extended academic year. The University Support Programme continued to fund universities’ initiatives that benefit all their students, and in addition to this, we sponsored personal protective equipment for medical students who assisted front-line workers in hospitals and clinics.
We believe that education is one of the primary keys to becoming economically independent. Our work allows us to not only consider the financial difficulties that strain the teaching and learning experience but to also look at social issues and ultimately to impact how beneficiaries could be empowered beyond the lecture room. This realisation came about through students and young talent sharing valuable information and experiences during LEAP workshops. LEAP, the Learned, Engaged, Accelerated Professionals Work-Readiness Programme was established in 2019. The programme covers topics like CV writing, interview skills, personal branding and consumer financial education. We partner with subject matter experts who present topics in interactive sessions that provide students with real situations they can relate to. The programme rolled out digitally for the first time in 2020 and assisted more than 500 participants to prepare for the world of work.
Our greatest obligation is to continue creating and maintaining the partnerships that facilitate our work. Therefore, even while we list the achievements and highlights, we continue to call on others to join the circle of mutuality.
We are confident that we will make a positive contribution in this crisis. The PPS Foundation remains resilient in the current environment and is needed now more than ever. As the global economy, governments and society weather this situation, we will continue to be the strong partner South Africa can rely on.
Since the establishment of the PPS Foundation, we have strived to live our reason for existence – to contribute and improve access to the academic fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This past year, the national rhetoric focussed on the COVID-19 pandemic and how to operate effectively in survival mode. We were determined to mount an urgent and constructive response to the COVID-19 crisis by using our resources and well-established network of partners and beneficiaries. This is also our modus operandi in 2021.
The greatest achievement for the Foundation was that we were able to continue with the work that we do. With the pandemic putting a spanner in the works the whole country was concerned about what would happen to the academic year – among other things. The virus added more strain to an already heavily burdened education system; students had to adapt quickly to a new way of studying and working and, at the same time, universities needed urgent assistance with adjusting to the hybrid way of learning while trying to play catch-up throughout this taxing period. We are gratified that the PPS Foundation could assist students and universities to meet the challenges of the situation.
As we reflect on the year that was, we want to draw attention to some highlights from the work we carried out in 2020:
Bursary programme: The Foundation ensured that all our bursary holders were able to continue with their studies. Twenty-two bursary holders completed their qualifications at the end of the 2020 academic year.
University Support Programme: The primary focus for 2020 was to support various universities by sponsoring personal protective equipment (PPE), digital devices and data.
LEAP Work-Readiness Programme: The Foundation responded quickly to lockdown restrictions and changed the programme from in-person attendance to remote webinars. The webinars proved highly successful.
Graduate Internship Development Programme: In 2020, we employed 25 graduates on a 12-month fixed-term contract. We provided work-based experience and the opportunity to obtain a leadership qualification through our partnerships with the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute and UNISA. The PPS Academy assisted them with training in soft skills such as Emotional Intelligence, presentation skills and how to deliver first-class service to stakeholders they engage with.
Adapting seamlessly to the new way of working is a milestone that we are proud of. Honestly though, this has been the most challenging time in the five-year existence of the Foundation. As we prepare for yet another successful year, we would like to remind people that this time of crisis is a shared experience that both enables and demands empathy and reflection. We are stronger together!
Here’s to Another Successful Year
Despite the numerous challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the PPS Foundation has lived up to its core existence – to contribute to the development of South Africa and its people. Most donations received during 2020 were from the Trust’s founder, PPS Insurance Company Limited.
Distributions to beneficiaries are made in line with the deed of the Foundation Trust, as overseen by the Board of Trustees. To continue with its work of upliftment of the professional community, we distributed 63%
of the Foundation's financial budget to the Bursary Programme, 35% to the University Support Programme while the remaining 2% was for other Foundation endeavours.
The PPS Foundation aims to obtain donations from other stakeholders during 2021, which would supplement its funds for distribution to beneficiaries. A full set of audited financial statements may be viewed at the PPS Foundation offices on request to the Chief Financial Controller, Mr M Spies.
Ensuring The Effective Operational Functioning Of The Organisation
The PPS Foundation Board of Trustees, led by the chairman of the PPS Holdings Trust (the PPS Group apex body), meets quarterly to review operational progress against strategic goals, the review of fiscal management against set financial governance standards as well as risks.
Under the direction of the Executive Trustee, the Foundation management team implements the strategic plans and ensures the effective operational functioning of the organisation. The PPS Foundation Board of Trustees provides strategic oversight and guidance to the management team of the Foundation. The board is assured of the integrity of Foundation operations through the support of PPS Group subcommittees and governance functions, including the Group Audit and Risk Committee, Group Compliance, the Company Secretariat and Group Finance.
The Foundation is registered as a public benefit organisation, and all its governance practices and processes are aligned to regulatory requirements relating to SARS and B-BBEE. This includes compliance with section 18A(1) (a) of the Income Tax Act that stipulates that all Foundation donors receive a tax exemption certificate.
The Bursary Programme Boosts Support for Students
In a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the education sector, the PPS Foundation remained focused on delivering on its core purpose of nurturing the potential of South Africa’s youth.READ MORE
PPS Foundation Steps Up to Assist Once Again
With students facing significant hardships, the University Support Programme helped ensure students had the resources necessary to succeed during a tumultuous year.READ MORE
LEAP Programme Continues to Thrive
Short for Learned, Engaged, Accelerated Professionals, LEAP provides beneficiaries and graduates support in their transition from tertiary education to the workplace.READ MORE
Providing Valuable Work Experience Opportunities for Graduate Interns
The Graduate Internship Development Programme places successful graduates within divisions of PPS to provide a combination of structured learning and workplace experience.READ MORE
Professionals Connect improves its offering
With many people looking for employment due to the pandemic, there was no better time for students, graduates and young professionals to use the Professionals Connect platform.READ MORE
Young Leadership Forum Cultivates Young Leaders for the Future
This programme focuses on equipping PPS employees with the skills, tools and insights to enhance their strategic leadership performance.
The PPS Foundation Partners With Rise Against Hunger
The PPS Foundation continued to play our part and managed to support 8 organisations with pre-packed food parcels in partnership with Rise Against Hunger Africa.READ MORE
The impact of the Foundation’s work does not stop on the PPS premises. The change that is hoped for expands beyond the scope of the PPS Foundation. You can be part of the change. A modest offering of your time today could make all the difference in helping someone achieve their perfect potential; whether by volunteering in one of the PPS Foundation’s projects or guiding a graduate’s first steps into the working world as a mentor. It is about developing and building the future of our nation. Because ultimately, success is better shared.READ MORE
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the individuals and organisations that generously donated to the PPS Foundation and the initiatives we have been involved in. If there is anything the pandemic has shown us, it is the true meaning of “Umntu Ngumntu Ngabantu” – “I am because other people are”. It is based on the premise that in this world, you are not alone; we are all interdependent. Thank you for being a true reflection of strength in numbers – the essence of mutuality. Through your generosity we have not only helped to educate future professionals but have empowered the young minds that will move this country forward despite the challenging times we are living in. We urge you to continue assisting us whether via financial donations or through your active involvement in our programmes and initiatives. We also invite individuals and organisations who have not donated to the PPS Foundation and its causes to join us on our journey of improving access to education and making a difference in South African society.
Thank you. Enkosi. Siyabonga. Baie Dankie. Re a leboga.
We call on all South Africans to assist us to empower the young minds that will move this country forwardDONATE TODAY
DISCLAIMER: All group photos used in the publication were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.