2023 has been a key turning point in time for one of Kingswood’s longest-standing endowment funds, the Macmillan Scholarship Fund.
The Macmillan Scholarship Fund is funded by a private non-operating foundation called the WEM Foundation (based in Minnesota, USA) which was established by the late American philanthropist, Witney MacMillan (September 25, 1929 – March 11, 2020) and his beloved wife Elizabeth (“Betty”) MacMillan in 1987.
Late in 2022, the WEM Foundation announced the sunsetting of the Foundation by the end of 2023 which, in philanthropic terms, translates to its closing down. As part of its sunset plan, the Foundation expressed the wish to make a final gift to Kingswood, thereby becoming a lasting part of the Kingswood community.
Kingswood’s journey with the WEM Foundation and MacMillan family began 24 years ago thanks to the efforts of Mr. Mike Bandey, then Deputy Head of Kingswood Senior School who chanced an introduction and struck up a relationship with Whitney MacMillan (former chairman and CEO of Cargill) on a visit he made to Grahamstown.
Whitney was, throughout his life, a patron of education and philanthropy worldwide and, through Mike, developed a special relationship with Kingswood visiting a number of times over the years.
Fast-forward to 2023
The WEM Foundation pledged to make the single largest grant to the College during 2023 amounting to $2 million towards Scholarships at Kingswood. This translating to 5 or more MacMillan scholars at Kingswood at any given time in the future. The pledge was granted in August 2023.
In a world where opportunities abound, it’s an extraordinary choice to use one’s means to uplift and empower others. Thank you to the WEM Foundation’s President Mr. Jim Heild and Mrs Betty MacMillan herself for their unwavering dedication to the betterment of society through Kingswood and all the other institutions they have supported worldwide.
As we close the chapter on this partnership with the WEM Foundation, we recognise their support over the years as a significant driving force behind Kingswood growth and continued success. From supporting critical operational functions to the transformational scholarships that have changed the lives of so many who have passed through our doors, the Foundation’s involvement has left an indelible mark on every aspect of Kingswood College. Our gratitude knows no bounds.