The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust

An endowed Trust, the OMT was founded in 1958 by the late Mr Harry Oppenheimer to honour the memory of his father, Sir Ernest, and it has a long tradition of investing in education, public interest activities and other philanthropic causes. The Oppenheimer family donated an additional sum of R1 billion to the OMT in 2012, underlining the family’s commitment to making a positive difference to South African society.

The Trust makes grants to public benefit organisations and institutions, principally in the education sector. It also supports the arts and a range of civil society organisations engaged in policy research and advocacy work.

Brief Descriptions of Current OMT Grants Programmes and Notes on Scholarships and Awards:

Grants to Public Benefit Organisations – Grant-making currently spans the areas of early childhood development, basic and higher education, the arts, policy research and advocacy work.

The Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award – The Trust’s most prestigious award, it focuses unambiguously on excellence and exceptional scholarship. The Award is granted annually – at the discretion of the Trustees – to candidates of the highest calibre to undertake programmes of cutting edge, internationally significant work.

Scholarships for Graduate Study – These are awarded on a merit-basis to South African nationals who intend to read for higher degrees at Master’s or Doctoral level or pursue Postdoctoral study at public universities in South Africa. A limited number of scholarships may be awarded annually to exceptional candidates for international studies in exceptional cases – candidates who propose to pursue programmes in unique or highly specialised disciplines in which advanced studies are not readily available in South Africa and who are able to demonstrate that they have advanced to a level where international tuition under the direction of global leaders is appropriate to proceed meaningfully in their chosen fields.

Funding for Undergraduate Study – OMT Scholarships for undergraduate study are administered on the Trust’s behalf by partner organisations Career Wise, the Rural Education Access Programme, Umthombo Youth Development Foundation, the SA Institute of Race Relations and the Alexandra Education Committee. Awards are made annually in accordance with agreed guidelines.

Awards for Sabbatical Study – These are intended to support scholarship at public Higher Education Institutions in South Africa and are specifically aimed at full-time academics with a proven record of teaching and research excellence.

Funding: The Trust does not consider uninvited or unsolicited proposals and does not fund capital projects, conferences, short courses, workshops, seminars, films, individual schools and ECD centres, projects outside of South Africa and organisations that do not carry out public benefit activities. Proposals are adjudicated by the Trustees.