Winning the battle against the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic requires the joint contributions and efforts of all sectors of society, and in this vein, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has pledged R250-thousand towards two worthy causes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight.

The CMA Board yesterday (Friday, 17.4.2020), undertook to donate funds from its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Fund towards strengthening the efforts of the government-initiated Solidarity Fund and local NGO, the Gift of the Givers Foundation which are involved in providing medical institutions and professionals with essential supplies, as well as supporting communities in distress during the National Lockdown.

Of the R250-thousand total donation, R100-thousand will go to the Solidarity Fund and R150-thousand to the Gift of the Givers Foundation.

CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “As the CMA, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the fight against COVID-19 through our donation to the Solidarity Fund and the Gift of the Givers Foundation. This is a token of the CMA’s appreciation and support for the hard work, determination and grit with which South Africa’s essential workers are serving the nation.”

The Solidarity Fund aims to prevent, detect, care and support those affected by COVID-19 while the Gift of the Givers Foundation is a partner to the government’s COVID-19 initiative, augmenting public health services by supporting medical professionals with protective wear, supplying relevant essential medical equipment and providing medical consumables to the institutions in urgent need.

Founder of Gift of the Givers Foundation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman says, “It’s a fantastic feeling to work with the Comrades Marathon Association, which is also based in Pietermaritzburg, the head office of Gift of the Givers. This donation could not have come at a better time and will be used to serve those institutions and communities where it is critically needed. We cannot overstate how we value and appreciate this kind gesture by the Comrades Marathon and are privileged to be associated with this great event.”

Winn adds, “As the CMA Board, we would like to emphasize that these donations have been released from the Comrades Marathon’s specially designated CSI Fund and have not been drawn out of our 2020 runners’ entry fees or substitution fees. In previous years in which the CMA has produced an annual surplus, we have a standing policy of allocating two-thirds of any surplus to a Contingency Fund intended to sustain the race through tough economic times; and one-third to our CSI Fund through which the CMA gives back to the society and environment in which we operate. Given that the past three years have been lean, these particular donations will just about deplete our existing CSI Fund, but we are of the view that there can be no greater time, nor cause than the present.”

Winn concludes, “As we are all currently engaged in a global war against an invisible enemy, it is perhaps fitting to reflect that the values of grit, determination, courage, hope, humanity and selflessness upon which the Comrades Marathon was founded have never been forgotten, as an entire nation honours the constraints of the 35-day National Lockdown, and prays for the safety and well being of South Africa and the world.”