PUPKEWITZ Holdings’ social investment arm, the Pupkewitz Foundation has made a remarkable difference to many people around the country, especially the needy and the less fortunate ones, by its regular annual support both financially and in offering advice.

The Foundation was started in 2003 with an endeavour to offer a helping hand to the needy and financial assistance to organizations operating in the fields of social and cultural needs, sport, education and other areas that benefit larger communities.

The Foundation’s activities are guided by its Board of Trustees, chaired by Harold Pupkewitz. The other Trustees, Adv. Theo Frank, Graham Ellis, Meryl Barry and Douglas Reissner oversee daily activities of the Foundation, voluntarily.

According to the Executive Chairman of the Pupkewitz Group, Harold Pupkewitz, the Foundation was established on a very modest scale to show the Group’s social responsibility, as the Government could not be expected to do it alone.

He says, “For many years we have endeavoured to show to people across the broad spectrum of society that we care about matters of public concern. We care about alleviating human suffering and thus contribute to organisations which relieve poverty and support organisations that provide basic health services such as the Namibia Red Cross Society, amongst others.”

The Foundation commenced its activities with a modest budget of N$ 250, 000, which increased annually, and today stands at N$ 1, 5 million.

Pupkewitz intends the annual budget of the Foundation to rise to as much as N$ 5 million should the business situation continue to improve where sponsorships and marketing endeavours are not included as beneficiaries of the Foundation, as they serve a business purpose.

“Our budget, now running into six figures, is used with circumspection to ensure that our donations end up in the hands of organisations who operate in an effective manner, issue reliable reports which show transparency, responsibility and accountability on the use of funds,” says the Chairman.

Since its inception, the Pupkewitz Foundation has made tremendous strides in the following areas, namely;

• Acting as one of several founding sponsors’ of the Government’s ETSIP educational initiative in 2007. The total contribution made amounted to N$ 1 million where N$ 300 000 was provided by the Pupkewitz Foundation and the N$ 700 000 contributed by a range of the Group’s suppliers, including Toyota South Africa and Brick & Concrete Industries, amongst others;

• ongoing support of NANASO (umbrella organization to CBO’s/NGO’s within the HIV & AIDS prevention program, where the Pupkewitz Foundation provides funding to cover the rental overheads of the NANASO secretariat;

• Mentoring and material support to a wide range of emerging SME in conjunction with the Group’s subsidiary companies.

Furthermore the Foundation is involved in the City of Windhoek SME Incubation Centre in conjunction with other Namibian corporate and institutions.

In addition, the Annual Regular Donations Beneficiaries List, which includes many welfare organizations ranging from old age homes, youth enterprise centres to the Cancer Association of Namibia and Lifeline/Child Line Namibia have enjoyed the support of the Foundation, even prior to 2003.

“Education is, and will remain the No. 1 priority for the Pupkewitz Foundation as the Group believes that education is the key to a country’s ongoing development and has therefore decided to sponsor a larger portion of the money towards educational activities,” Pupkewitz says.

With this in mind, Pupkewitz often refers to one of his famous quotes:

“It is the ingenuity of the human mind and the dexterity of the human hand that create wealth resulting in dead assets being turned into live ones, productive ones with the use of the machines, vehicles, equipment, computers, computer information/technology all that mankind has devised and is devising increasingly thanks to the hundreds of thousands people engaged in research and development throughout the world,” Adding, “We care about education and skills training and accordingly make donations to numerous organisations which promote literacy, education and training. We care about culture, religion and civil society and support numerous organisations, which promote a high standard of governance as the foundation for national development.”

The Pupkewitz Foundation has recently adopted three “special schools” from different regions by providing both material and technical support for vegetable gardening projects, which ultimately produce sufficient output for own consumption. Furthermore, the Harold Pupkewitz Graduate School of Business (HPGSB) at the Polytechnic of Namibia received a N$ 10 million grant, the largest amount to date, given to an educational institution by a Namibian organization.

Apart from simply providing monetary assistance, Pupkewitz says the Foundation also offers advice to small businesses (SME’s) to use money wisely and inculcate in them a sense of responsibility and accountability.

The Pupkewitz Foundation also takes pride in promoting sporting excellence, through the annual Pupkewitz Jetty Mile swimming event held in Swakopmund, which is now in its third year.

Future programmes of the Foundation include ongoing support of the all-important ETSIP education program by providing enhanced management skills to headmasters and HODs, and placing greater emphasis on the OVC sector (Orphans & Vulnerable Children), through soup kitchens linked to community gardening projects, offering support to emerging communal farmers, through small, high-yield vegetable gardening projects, thus supporting the ongoing need for food security and improved levels of nutrition.

“Possible support of ante-natal initiatives by well-established community based organizations is an area we are currently considering.

“We have become more proactive in identifying worthy projects in recent times, which bodes well for increased funding in the coming years. My daughter and Trustee of the Pupkewitz Foundation, Ms. Meryl Barry has a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit, which should translate into a series of relevant programs in due course,” Pupkewitz adds in closing.PF