The Vital Foundation is a South African funding and information sharing body that supports non-profit organisations and the public in their quest to eradicate the massive scourge of woman and child abuse in South Africa.
Funding and information sharing is three-fold:
- The Vital Foundation provides funding to organisations that are well placed to care for victims of abuse, develop prevention strategies and facilitate the prosecution of offenders.
- The Vital Foundation provides a platform (via its website and sponsored media channels) for organisations working in this arena to promote their work and to raise awareness around some of the many issues they confront on a daily basis.
- The Vital Foundation’s website facilitates easy access to information related to woman and child abuse, with the goal of providing a one-stop “shop” not only for information but also for links to other services and organisations offering help.
What is abuse?
Abuse can occur through emotional, physical, sexual, financial, verbal, social and institutional forms. As it is prolonged, so it becomes more intense, resulting in a range of reactions and risks, including fear, anxiety, trauma, physical and life-threatening danger.
Its impact on society and commerce
Business has a critical role to play in combating this issue. Not only are there physical, health, psychological and emotional effects for victims and their families, but the economic impact on business can be severe. Some of the issues at stake include a massive drain on the health and social system of the country and reduced productivity in our national workforce.
Refusing to stand in silence and be seen to condone this travesty, Africa’s largest nutritional supplement and vitamin manufacturing company, Vital Health Foods, launched the Vital Foundation on 5 August 2013.
The public funds the Vital Foundation. For every Vital supplement pack sold, R1 is donated to the Foundation. Its premise is “… investing in your family’s health, you are also helping to build healthy homes in SA…”
Applications for funding take place on a biannual basis, with the first having occurred in May (after a call to action in February), and the second taking place in September. In its first year of operation, the Vital Foundation achieved its target, raising just under R4 million, with seven organisations receiving payouts.
Any organisation that cares for victims of abuse can register and then apply for funding. Once stringent criteria are met, the advisory committee makes a recommendation to the board of trustees who make the final decision regarding allocation of funds.
Advisory committee and board of trustees
The advisory committee consists of Professor Rachel Jewkes (a director of the Medical Research Council’s Gender and Health Research Unit in Pretoria); Zubaida Shaik (One Million Rising); Amelda Potgieter (Chief Marketing Officer: Vital Health Foods) and Esmé Diedericks (Workshop Administrator: Vital Health Foods). The board consists of George Grieve (Managing Director: Vital Health Foods); Ginny Grieve; David Dalton (Financial Director: Vital Health Foods) and Adams and Adams Attorneys.