Social Development Fund

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela

More than 20 years after the end of Apartheid, South African communities continue to struggle with the socioeconomic legacy of exclusion. The Social Development Fund empowers small grassroots organisations tackling issues of poverty and violence in their communities through activities and opportunities for children, teenagers and young adults.


The Social Development Fund (SDF) offers a bridge for committed community-based organisations to implement their projects towards improved quality of life. This also helps to build a track record for potential future funders. It combines financial support and capacity building through mentorship and workshops. This helps to empower and grow local organisations to have a greater social impact on a community level.



A community facilitator is working closely with the groups to assist step-by-step throughout the process. Organisations that meet the criteria are invited to apply for small grants. Organisations need to be community-based, show clear benefits to the community and be gender balanced, must be in existence for at least one year with a positive track record and demonstrate alignment with the area’s Community Action Plan’s priorities. A Community Action Plan is like a mini-IDP (Integrated Development Plan). The average grant is about R20 000 – R25 000.

Merlin Swarts, a 21 year old young man from Chicago in Paarl East, used his Social Development Fund support to grow his photography business and to remain a role model for other youngsters in his community. “Documenting and sharing the cricket story is my way of portraying the positive side of my Community and bringing some hope.”



Community Festivals funded by the Social Development Fund have one mission: to celebrate unity in diversity by bringing people together. Festivals are a great way to build social cohesion, showcase local artists and talent and build bridges between different cultures and communities. This annual event attracts up to 1000 people and is organised by the communities’ leadership teams, local NGOs, groups that have received SDF funding and volunteers.


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The Social Development Fund has reached 27 651 beneficiaries in total since 2006 across various neighbourhoods in the Western Cape. 378 community-based projects have received funding – 44% were located in Informal Settlements. 58% of projects funded focus on sports- and youth development.

You want to get involved and help people follow their vision to uplift their communities? Contact us on Facebook @VPUUSA, email or call +27 21 447 0086. For more info download our Social Development Fund Booklet. We are looking forward to hearing from you. 

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