• The DG Murray Trust

    We invest in South Africa's potential

    The DG Murray Trust is a private foundation which supports initiatives that aim to bring about dynamic and fundamental impact on the lives of people in South Africa. Read more

Our Goal – Realising South Africa’s potential.

We believe that the place to start is with pregnant women and very young children. Most of the factors that shape us for life – who we are and who we will become – are crammed into the first few years of life. The resourcefulness – or ‘agency’ – achieved by young children determines their ability to make the most of future opportunities. We want to sustain that resourcefulness through their lives, as they become creative learners at school, enterprising school-leavers and game-changing leaders who build a better society. We are committed to equality of agency, which means investing more in those for whom the gradients are steeper. We want to help shape inclusive, enabling communities in which people with disabilities, older persons and other marginalised groups feel that they belong and can contribute. We understand that investing in South Africa’s potential is not just about human capital development or service provision. Power dynamics – across social groups and institutions – determine who is more valued and who has greater access to opportunity.

We must be part of creating connections that begin to overcome the country’s socio-economic divides. Only then can the potential of South Africa be fully realised. We know that we have more questions than answers. We are willing to invest in promising ideas and untried ventures, that we’d never thought about, but which could help meet our goal. We know too that we are small compared to the magnitude of the challenges we seek to address, and are committed to working with other funders, government, business, trade unions and civil society where we share a common goal.

Our Portfolios - The five focus areas where we believe our investments will have the most impact.

DGMT recognises the critical role of social dynamics in shaping programme outcomes. For that reason, we have created a cross-cutting strategic focus on key aspects of social dynamics, to:

  • Build connectedness between people and groups in order to overcome the social and structural divides of our country;
  • Change the terms of recognition of people, so that all feel affirmed to seize opportunity for themselves and, at the same time, contribute to shaping a better society;
  • Challenge power differentials between rich and poor, black and white, men and women, children and adults, and public administrators and service recipients – to promote a society that is fair and just;
  • Confront societal norms that perpetuate inequality, injustice or tolerance of corruption or social hazard;
  • Promote institutional effectiveness by supporting systemic improvements, while at the same time building processes of accountability;
  • Inspire innovation in the mindset of public servants and society at large, because that is what drives both economic productivity and social change.


ilifa labantwanaIlifa Labantwana is an initiative to develop quality, scalable and sustainable early childhood programmes for disadvantaged children in South Africa. It originated as a funding partnership between the DG Murray Trust, the UBS Optimus Foundation and the ELMA Foundation.Its second phase started in June 2013 and will run until June 2016. The UBS Optimus Foundation has stepped down as a full strategic partner for the second phase, but continues to provide generous support to the programme and focus on the innovations of particular interest to its funding portfolio. New to the partnership is the First Rand Foundation which will form part of the core donor team with the DG Murray Trust and the ELMA Foundation.

Activate! Leadership for Public InnovationActivate! Leadership for Public Innovation was launched in 2011 and is co-funded by the DG Murray Trust and the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW. The goal of the programme is to spark public innovation and accountability by charging up a network of young leaders so that they can link the poles of South African society. ‘Activators’ are young leaders between 20 and 30 years old who are capacitated through a three year training, experiential and mobilisation programme to be innovative change drivers. Through Activate! young people come together from all walks of life across South Africa, to forge a better country for themselves and for others.
The Innovation Edge supports new ways of thinking, ideas, processes, systems or products that fundamentally shift the way in which we approach early learning in South Africa. It is a social innovation fund established by Ilifa Labantwana in 2014 and is jointly funded by the funders of Ilifa labantwana and the Omidyar Network.The Edge supports innovation through three core practices:

  • Commissioning innovation – contributing to the development and funding of innovations that enhance early learning ecosystems, access, quality and outcomes;
  • Communicating innovation – Enabling the lessons from innovations and from analysis of innovation processes to be widely disseminated;
  • Connecting for innovation – bringing together diverse interests and expertise to contribute to the development, implementation, evaluation and scale of innovation.

About Us - Since 1979

How can we make a dynamic and fundamental impact on the lives of people in South Africa?

The diagram and related article may assist in thinking through some of the relationships between structures and institutions of society, their impact on human perception and behaviour, and consequent effects on people’s health, education and general well-being.

Read Article


Where we come from

DGMT is a South African foundation built on endowments from Douglas George Murray and his wife, Eleanor. Murray was the son of, and successor to John Murray, the founder of the Cape-based construction company, Murray and Stewart which was established in 1902. This company merged in 1967 with Roberts Construction to become Murray & Roberts, with the parent Trusts as the main shareholders. In 1979, the Trusts combined to form the DG Murray Trust, which over the years has diversified its investments. It currently distributes about R110 million per year.

Douglas George Murray

Douglas George Murray

Eleanor Murray

Eleanor Murray

Dave OrtonDavid Orton holds degrees in both Civil Engineering and Financial Management. Always keen on the outdoors, he has been involved in the construction of major dams, highways and purification works, overseeing several of them. He spent a large part of his career with Murray and Stewart and Murray and Roberts, rising to become a Divisional Director and serving as Chairman of many Group Companies. Aside from being Chairperson of the DG Murray Trust, he is a Trustee of the Murray and Roberts Pension Fund.

AmeenAmeen Amod is a Certified Internal Auditor that holds a B.Comm Degree and a financially oriented MBA Degree from the University of Cape Town. He is a Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors and serves as chairperson and member of various audit committees, including that of the Western Cape departments of Transport and Public Works and of Health.

johnJohn Volmink has a PhD in mathematics education and has held various teaching and management positions at southern African and international universities. He is an education expert that has served as the Chairperson of the Umalusi Council for four years. He provides leadership to Cornerstone Christian College and also as chairperson and member of the boards of corporate companies as well as a variety of local and international public benefit organisations involved in education, health and community upliftment.

MarianneMarianne MacRobert holds degrees in languages and international politics. She founded and directed a successful NGO (the Outreach Programme at St Mary’s) that focused on whole school development and on facilitating access for disadvantaged learners to high-quality educational opportunities. At the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and at Tshikululu Social Investments she managed the disbursement of funds for social development, particularly in the areas of education and vulnerable children.

ShirleyShirley Mabusela holds degrees and qualifications in social work and management. She has held directorships and management positions at the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society, the Children’s Foundation, and the National Children’s Committee. She is a specialist in the area of children’s rights and has served as Deputy Chairperson and Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). She currently serves as a Trustee and Board Member of a number of public benefit organisations.

Maria MabetoaMaria Mabetoa holds qualifications in Social Work including a PhD in Social Sciences. She has extensive experience in academia, as well as in policymaking and public administration in social welfare services. She has lectured on social work at the University of North West and at UNISA. She also spent a considerable part of her career in the Department of Social Development as a Director, Chief Director and later Deputy Director General for Social Welfare Services. Here she was responsible for the development and management of major policies, legislation and programmes for welfare services. While in the Department of Social Development she chaired several national intersectoral forums and committees related to social welfare services. She is currently the President of the South African Council for the Social Service Professions.

MurphyMurphy Morobe has a long career spanning the worlds of student activism, trade unionism, work in the non-governmental sector, politics, the public sector, conservation and the corporate sector. He has served on several boards in his career, inter alia, the Council for Higher Education; SA National Parks Board and Ernst & Young (SA). Until recently, Murphy was the CEO of Kagiso Media Ltd, a position he held for seven years. He is the current Executive Chairman of the Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO) which addresses the systemic problem of curriculum coverage in various schools.

HugoHugo Nelson is a Chartered Financial Analyst and Medical Doctor with an MBA from Oxford University. He joined the Coronation group as an Equity Analyst 1999 and went on to become CEO and Executive Director in a number of its companies.

DGMT structure

Chief Executive Officer

David Harrison

DavidAfter completing his medical studies, David founded the Health Systems Trust, a non-government organisation supporting health services development in South Africa. He started up the South African Health Review of health and health care in South Africa, which is published every year. David subsequently established the Initiative for Sub-District Support, working with the Department of Health to improve the quality of health care in clinics throughout South Africa. In 2000, he completed a public policy degree at the University of California at Berkeley, before returning to South Africa to head up loveLife, a national HIV prevention programme for young people. He has been with DGMT since May 2010.

Portfolio Management

Programmes Director: Janet Jobson
Resourceful Young Children: Fefekazi Mavuso
Creative Young Learners: Katie Huston
Enterprising School Leavers: Chiara Baumann
Game Changing Leaders: Senzo Hlophe
Inclusive, Enabling Communities: Renisha Patel


Communications Director: Judy-Marié Smith
Communications Specialist: Carol-Ann Foulis


Operations Director: Sandra Ngwena
Grants Analyst: Simone Arendse
Grants Coordinator: Shireen Wentzel
Receptionist: Jazmeena Cassiem
Handyman: Mark Roman
Housekeepers: Jenny van Wyk
Nthabeleng Tida

Financial Management

Chief Financial Officer: Scott Henderson
Financial Accountant: Renee Abrahams
Financial Manager: Zipho Mabindla
2011-2015 Five Year Review

Download our 2011-2015 Five Year Review
DGMT Implementing Partners 2011-2015

2014 Annual Report

Download our 2014 Annual Report

2013 Annual Report

Download our 2013 Annual Report

2012 Annual Report

Download our 2012 Annual Report

2011 Annual Report

Download our 2011 Annual Report

2014 Partner Survey

Partner Survey 2014

2012 Partner Survey

Partner survey 2012

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Contact Us - The DG Murray Trust

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Contact Details

Physical Address:
Douglas Murray House
1 Wodin Road

Postal Address:
PO Box 23893
Claremont 7735
South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)21 670 9840
Fax: +27 (0)21 670 9850