On 27 September South Africa’s business, government and NGO leaders came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet (MySchool), Woolworths innovative, multiple award-winning community loyalty and corporate social responsibility programme.
The programme has provided support of around R934 million to more than 8 000 schools and NGO beneficiaries across the country, who have benefited from a sustainable income, every time a consumer swipes their MySchool card at Woolworths (in store or online) and at other participating retailers.
Several leaders from Woolworths including CEO Roy Bagattini and General Manager of MySchool Pieter Twine attended the event along with Mr Louis Taylor from the National Education Department; MEC of Western Cape David Maynier; Dr. Imtiaz Suliman, founder of Gift of the Givers; and representatives from the global environmental organisation, WWF SA; as well as a myriad of other beneficiaries including schools and NGOs that the programme has supported over the decades.
The prestigious anniversary celebration took place at Christel House School in Cape Town and was led by prominent business woman and public figure, Jo-Ann Strauss as the master of ceremonies.
The journey of MySchool
To date, MySchool has established itself as a successful fundraising programme in South Africa. Raising over R8 million a month, the programme focuses on supporting schools, communities in need, charitable, environmental, animal organisations and many other great causes. Every day, South Africans contribute to the programme by shopping at participating retail partners nationwide (including, for example, Woolworths and loot.co.za) by swiping their MySchool card. With every swipe of this card, the retail partner donates a percentage of the supporter’s spend to their chosen cause. The supporter does not pay a cent.
The programme was established in 1997 and initially began as a fundraising tool solely focused on providing individuals with the opportunity to raise funds for their local school every time they shopped. The programme expanded to assist “Villages” and “Planets.”
MyVillage and MyPlanet were established in 2006 and 2008 with MyVillage focusing on charitable organisations that support people and communities while MyPlanet benefits environmental and animal organisations; both domestic and wild.
“MySchool’s CSI mission is to build investments and partnerships that unlock human potential to create sustainable, beneficial change in our world. But this would not be possible without our customers and retail partners,” Twine said.
He added; “We would not have been able to raise and manage these funds over the past 25 years if it was not for our 1.2 million supporters who swipe their cards so that retail and other partners can contribute a percentage of every purchase to their chosen beneficiary organisation.”
Along with the over 8000 beneficiaries registered to the programme, MySchool also established national funds to serve specific sectors of need with initiatives that are geared toward long-term sustainability. Their Thuso Fund contributes to high-impact projects that support up to 8 of the UN sustainable goals through collaborating with credible NGOs and business partners. In 2017 the Dream2Teach fund was started to subsidize scholarships for students wanting to become teachers. MySchool also partners with Woolworths on the Woolies Water Fund, donating R5.5million to date, installing over 152 water tanks and over 550 hand washing stations in schools and areas of need and in collaboration with the Woolies Trust investments were made in many food security initiatives. The MyPlanet Rhino Fund, launched in 2010, supports rhino protection and rehabilitation as well as ranger training and high-tech security assistance supporting anti-poaching initiatives.
Making a true difference together
As a proud national give-back programme, MySchool wants to utilise its special 25-year anniversary to acknowledge its supporters. Following the pandemic and the unprecedented socio-economic challenges we have been facing as a country over the past few years, it has really been encouraging to see that South Africans have continued to give back and support those in need.
Western Cape MEC for Education David Maynier said MySchool had made a positive impact at hundreds of schools across the country.
“The MySchool programme has changed the lives of thousands of school children in South Africa, by providing vital funding to improve the facilities at the schools that they attend. This has meant that a variety of resources have been provided to communities in need – including items such as books, stationery, toilets and refurbished classrooms. It’s a worthy public, private partnership that needs to be commended and grown even further,” Maynier said.