FirstRand Bank Foundation

FirstRand Bank Foundation

The FirstRand Foundation was established in 1998 as the legal vehicle through which FirstRand Limited and its major franchises (FNB, RMB, and WesBank) direct their individual and collective corporate social investment. From inception, the FirstRand Foundation received 1% of FirstRand Limited’s net profit after tax (NPAT).

Legally, there are two disbursing structures – the FirstRand Foundation, through which donations are made to public benefit organizations that do not qualify for section 18A tax-deductible status, and the FirstRand Educational Trust, for payments to educational projects and institutions that do qualify. All disbursement decisions are made by the trustees.

FirstRand Foundation’s strategy over the past 20 years has been to be the foremost corporate social investor and knowledge collaborator committed to contributing to the development of a better South Africa through mainstreaming disability, capacity building, leveraging partnerships, and knowledge sharing. Following a review of its 20-year experience and impact, it is the intention to better align the foundation’s work with the group’s business strategy.


The FirstRand Foundation celebrated 20 years of CSI in 2019 and to commemorate this milestone the group has published a book that describes the Foundation’s work.

Firstrand Empowerment Foundation

The FirstRand Empowerment Foundation (FREF) was established in 2005 as part of the FirstRand Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction. The parties to the foundation are FirstRand Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited, Kagiso Charitable Trust, The WDB Trust, WDB Investment Holdings (Proprietary) Limited, Mineworkers Investment Trust and MIC Financial Holdings (Proprietary) Limited. The founding objective was to facilitate the transformation of FirstRand through the acquisition by the BEE beneficiaries of a meaningful equity interest in the group.The objective was amended in the current year to reducing poverty and inequality by undertaking and/or supporting public benefit activities that result in B-BBEE

The majority of trustees are black persons as defined in the Financial Sector Charter.

The B-BBEE transaction vested in 2014, and following its vesting, FREF has a significant unencumbered endowment of FirstRand, MMI and Discovery shares. The dividend income on these shares is used to address poverty, unemployment and inequality through systemic social investments in the education sector. Specifically, FREF’s mandate is to provide, promote and fund educational development in relation to disadvantaged South Africans, particularly but not limited to, employed in the financial services industry.

The FirstRand Empowerment Foundation takes a proactive approach to identifying social investment opportunities. The foundation works with potential partners to co-design proposals and initiatives that have clear systemic possibilities. With this in mind, the foundation does not have open calls for proposals.