The Hermanus Rainbow Trust is a Non-Profit Organisation that was founded by Vivienne Owen in 1997 and registered as a Trust and a Non-Profit Organisation in 1999, in response to the dire conditions in which children were being brought up in the impoverished community of the Zwelihle township in Hermanus – Western Cape.
Over time the Trust expanded into a leading provider of comprehensive “Community and Social Development” services and support in the 5 main poverty stricken communities in the Overstrand.
Her Vision was to establish an integrated “Community and Social Development” programme (Parenting Worx), in the 5 main areas of the Overstrand, with an overall goal of addressing Poverty, Malnutrition, Hunger, Child Morbidity and “Early Childhood Development” through providing integrated health, education and social services.
Building the Future
The Trust's initial focus was to improve and develop the conditions of the crèches in impoverished and disadvantaged communities of the Overstrand, so that young children would get the necessary quality of education and a platform to enable them to be fully prepared to compete equally and be successful in life. Three crèches were established in Zwelihle and the first Grade R facility in the Overstrand was created in Zwelihle and currently supports over 100 kids. The Centre has achieved excellent results each year through the dedication of our Grade R Teachers and our ECD management specialist.
Integrated Community Services and Support
The Trust’s scope and objectives widened over time and at the end of 2011, it had over 100 staff, focused on providing comprehensive support and services in the areas of health, education, social development and welfare. These services were provided to disadvantaged communities from 4 Centres in the Overstrand, covering over 250kms from Betty’s Bay to Buffelsjag with an estimated population of over 50,000 people.
The NPO Grant Funding Crises
During the latter part of 2011 it became apparent that a global economic recession was inevitable, which soon engulfed South Africa with repercussions for everyone. Unfortunately the NPO sector was exceptionally hard hit as shown in the results of the survey conducted by Greater Good SA and its partners, during 2012.
The “Non-Profit Job Losses and Service Cuts” survey revealed the following:
• that 80% of NPO respondents (695) had experienced significant funding cuts in the last year
• 2 in 5 had up to 50% funding cuts and some were forced to close down completely
• 64% were forced to reduce services to beneficiaries (often with devastating consequences)
• 43% had to retrench staff – resulting in 7,612 retrenchments
• The National Lotteries cut back funding to NPO’s by 44%, Corporates by 39% and individual donors by 37%
The Hermanus Rainbow Trust was not spared and the Board of Trustee's was forced to retrench 64 of its Health division in March 2012, but fortunately were able to negotiate a “take over” by another NPO in the Overstrand.
A New Era – HRT the “Social Enterprise”
With the "grant funding" crises well entrenched it was time to take immediate action.The HRT Board of Trustees and the Management Team carried out comprehensive research to establish what the current challenges, needs and solutions were for the people living in the poverty stricken Overstrand communities. This resulted in a “Sustainability Strategy” being developed and implemented, with a dedicated primary focus on providing “Community and Social Development" services and support to the 5 main impoverished communities of the Overstrand Municipality. After further research it was decided that the “Sustainability Strategy” would be initiated by transitioning the Trust into a “Social Enterprise” tripple bottom line business model in line with international trends. This model enables the Trust to continue focusing on its 5 current "social purpose" programmes as its main priority, while establishing commercial business activities whose surplus revenue (profits) will be used over time to fund the "social purpose" programmes. This also presented the ideal opportuntity to re-establish our Vision and Mission statements and to develop a new funding strategy. The "Sustainability Strategy" and the implementation of the business activities started in 2014 with the launch of a comprehensive master project called, "Transforming Poverty into Sustainable Prosperity through Agri-business and Agro-processing". This project will be fully implemented and operational by January 2019 by which time the Trust will become fully self-sufficient and not be dependent on "grant funding".
The “Social Enterprise” funding model has emerged as the most popular and effecting funding model worldwide and has been extensively adopted in the USA, UK, Australia and else-where, Also known as “Profit for Purpose” or “Triple Bottom Line” this model deals with “economic”, “social” and “environmental” activities.
“A Social Enterprise’s primary objective is to address social problems through a financially sustainable business model where surpluses (profits) are reinvested in "Social Purpose" programmes.