Introducing DGMT’s new five-year strategy

Introducing DGMT’s new five-year strategy

Imagine a South Africa where every person has the opportunity to fulfil his or her potential. This is the South Africa that we at the DG Murray Trust (DGMT) dream of. We dream of a flying nation with a flourishing people, economy and society. Our dream pilots are people with empathy and the mindset and technical know-how to fly high.

We have been working towards the realisation of this dream for a long time, 38 years to be specific. Over the past decade, our approach has shifted from being a purely grant-making foundation, to one aimed at making systemic differences. In the last six years, we have made a deliberate effort to build a scaffold of support for public innovation and systemic change in South Africa.

In 2017, we are ready to announce the next chapter in the story of the DG Murray Trust. As part of our next five-year strategy (2017-2021), we will focus on social innovation more than ever before. Today, DGMT can be defined as a public innovator through strategic investment, committed to developing South Africa’s potential.

The birth of democracy in 1994 gave South Africa a huge boost, but in the past few years, progress seems to have stalled. However, we see many untapped opportunities that can open up possibility for everyone – and give our flying nation our next big push to lift-off. These opportunities will be the focus of our work for the next five years.

Our strategic focus

The runway to South Africa’s success is an innovative and inclusive society, but too many people remain excluded from fully participating. How can we build this runway? We see three important opportunities:

Opportunity 1: State funding sustains many civil society organisations, but dampens their role as agents of change. Reigniting the creativity of civil society could generate new solutions.
Opportunity 2: We need to remove the systemic chokes that prevent groups of people from participating in our economy and society.
Opportunity 3: We need to create unlikely networks across class, race, business, economic and public sectors that can inspire fresh thinking and positive change, as well as spark innovation.

Children and young people hold the power to change our country. They are the source of human capital, which drives economic growth and development, but the flight gates remain closed to half of them. These gates must be opened to all. We can predict which children will flourish and get to fly. They are those who pass through two gateways. The first is Gate 1: if they are ‘on track’ by Grade 4, they tend to stay on track and complete schooling. The second is Gate 2: if they get a first decent job soon after completing school, they are likely to remain employed for life.

We have identified the following opportunities to keep children on track by Grade 4:

Opportunity 4: Early childhood development is the most powerful investment in human capital that a country can make. We need to give every child the benefit of early childhood development.

Opportunity 5: We need to stop nutritional stunting. Zero-stunting would mean that one million more young children are able to thrive each year.
Opportunity 6: Making sure that all children are ready to read before they go to school will give them the foundation for learning.
Opportunity 7: The presence of love, and caring adults, can help children thrive in spite of adversity. We need to build simple, loving connections for every child.

We can help young people towards their first decent job by seizing the following opportunities:

Opportunity 8: New types of school management can give children in the poorest and worst performing schools the same opportunity as any child in the best public schools. We need to place failing schools under new management.
Opportunity 9: The divisions in South Africa mean hidden work opportunities from many young people. We need to establish and expand initiatives that connect young people to opportunity.
Opportunity 10: When young people have a grip on some opportunity, we must ensure that they never let go. This means removing the obstacles that cause them to fail – and opening new doors for them.

Our role

In pursuing these 10 opportunities to change South Africa, we see DGMT’s role as:

  • commissioning projects that can seize the opportunities;
  • communicating the opportunities in ways that inspire leadership and action; and
  • connecting people of like and unlike mind, who are committed to the same goal.

Through the above, we aim to be a national node of innovation – informative, substantive, engaging, inspiring and transformative.

Our funding strategy

To this end, we have adjusted our funding strategy. We aim to fund projects that specifically address one or more of these opportunities through fresh programmatic approaches that can break new ground and test novel ideas. As part of Opportunity 1, which aims to reignite the creativity of civil society, we also offer the option to apply for an Organisational Strengthening Grant aimed at boosting an organisation’s ability to be innovative and effective.

Our brand

To highlight our strategic focus on social innovation, we have a new logo and a new look and feel of our brand. We have also shortened our name to the DGMT acronym. We hope that these changes symbolically communicate some of our core values: that we aim to be clear and uncomplicated, yet fresh and vibrant.

We believe it is possible to make a dynamic and fundamental impact on the lives of people. It needs a mindset that inspires action – and for all of us to contribute what we can, where we are. Together we can do this. South Africa has great potential. Let us seize the opportunities now.

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