Given South Africa’s apartheid legacy, corporate social investment plays an important role in the lives of communities and corporate business alike. It was therefore heartwarming to be introduced to a program which has been uplifting young rugby players in the Johannesburg area since 2007.
The Fury Motor Group in Johannesburg, in partnership with the Gauteng Lions Rugby Union, have been supporting schools in need of assistance through the game of rugby. This has been done both out of a love for the game and in order to give back to the communities in which they operate. Schools and amateur teams are selected on an annual basis and are assisted with 22 sets of rugby jerseys, shorts and kit bags each. The responsibility for the day to day running of this program is not simply passed on to an event or marketing company and is retained within the company, keeping them directly involved and in control. Staff from the motor Dealerships actively participate in the organization, management and running of events supporting this initiative. They put all finances directly into the program and do not rely on a marketing budget to go and tell the world what they are doing, they are just getting on with it.
The activation of the sponsorship is much more far reaching than just supplying playing kit. The Group also provides all the schools and clubs with books of raffle tickets as well as the main prize of a new motor car each year, with the money generated staying with the selling institution which sold the tickets. Should all tickets be sold in 2013 an amount in excess of R3.5million will be injected into participating schools and communities. In the past, the money has been raised to purchase training equipment, fund team tours or even build new classrooms at participating schools.
At the launch of the 2013 program it was decided to invite World Cup winning Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse to do the key note address. By his own admission, Ashwin was saved from a life of hard crime and drugs by being chosen for the Boland Under 19 Craven Week team. That single tournament opened his eyes to the possibilities rugby could offer. One can only wonder how many more children can be positively influenced by such initiatives and how many new “Ashwins” can be unearthed to possibly be professional rugby players in future, making a difference for the own families?
To illustrate how lives can be changed and how hands on this initiative is, a humorous event took place when Ashwin was leaving the launch event. The former gang member from the Cape Flats generously offered a R10 tip to the car guard looking after guests’ cars. The car guard graciously declined the tip as he is the New Vehicle Sales Manager at one of their branches!
Good on you Ashwin for being an example to our youth. Well done to the Fury Motor Group for your selfless contribution to communities in Johannesburg. Keep on “Doing the right thing”!