Andi Norton

With the phenomenal success of the 2017 Cape Wine Auction, comes the serious responsibility of spending R22.3 million wisely to benefit education in the winelands.

 This responsibility rests on the shoulders of Andi Norton, who coordinates the beneficiaries of The Cape Wine Auction Trust. In an exclusive interview with WineLand she said that like with any investment, the philanthropists who had entrusted their money at the Auction, expected results. And she was absolutely relishing the challenge!

“There’s a significant difference between charity and philanthropy,” Andi says. “Charity addresses an immediate need and plugs a hole without necessarily being sustainable, while ironically philanthropy’s ultimate goal is to become redundant. It’s sustainable and aims to solve the problem. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if education in the winelands functioned so well there was no longer any need for interventions.”

But it would be a mistake to assume that the more money you have, the greater the impact, Andi says. Over the past four years the monies raised at the Cape Wine Auction has leapt from R7 million to R22 million. “Not all programmes are scalable. Optimally investing the funds therefore becomes a matter of breadth versus depth and we need to evaluate each beneficiary’s capacity and scope.”

Hers is not an office job. She needs to be on the ground to understand the requirements and concerns. “Empathy is crucial. This entails constantly asking the people involved what their needs are.” Best practice in philanthropy is just as high on the agenda and Andi regularly benchmarks international success stories. “There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but the winelands’ context is unique in terms of demographics and heritage.”

A standout aspect of the Cape Wine Auction’s approach is the collaboration among various beneficiaries. “For instance it makes sense to plug The Lunchbox Fund and Community Keepers into the SPARK Lynedoch School. These are complementary programmes and the sum is indeed greater than its parts,” Andi says.

In total the Cape Wine Auction has already raised more than R55 million. This takes social investment in the winelands to a new level. As with any investment, the return is what matters. And with a serious, professional investors’ approach to philanthropy, the Cape Wine Auction could have far-reaching benefits for the wine industry at large.

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