Founding Partner since 2011
Mark Marais Co-founder
Having been fortunate to have had kind, caring and giving parents having an involvement with a charity feels like a natural fit for me. I have always been wary of the charitable sector having seen the relatively small benefits and at times harm that Africa has received when compared to the billions that has gone into this a massive self-serving industry. When Gareth approached me with an acorn of an idea he too believed the ‘system’ was flawed and we both were in complete agreement that SCL would not be part of the problem.
Gareth’s enthusiasm and unfaltering optimism intrigued me but what got me involved was his selfless commitment to helping young people, and when I met his wife Deirdre I saw she shared the same ideals. I also had one other stipulation when I got involved – we had to run the organisation like a business with structures that were robust and complete transparency.
Running my own business as well as having a daily hands on involvement in a charity means I can merge corporate social responsibility with what I consider my own personal charitable responsibility.
I believe business and charity interests should always be complimentary and this ‘creative capitalism’ approach lets me enjoy being involved in both spheres and not feeling either detracts from the other. Some may be confused by this ‘grey area’ but it works for me and I believe a simplistic ‘two worlds apart’ approach would not have enabled me to do anywhere near as much for SCL.
Gareth, Deirdre and I share a very similar beliefs and as such we have never had any disagreements regarding the fundamentals of the charity. They are two tireless champions for helping young people and I am delighted to have been at the heart of Sport Changes Life with them. We choose to ignore the frustrations as these have been eclipsed by having had so many amazing experiences and worked with and met so many wonderful people.
I will always be grateful to my wife Marcella (who has worked away in the background when required) for her ‘allowing’ me to spend so much time involved with the organisation and I trust she shares in my pride in seeing SCL having evolved into the highly successful, first class organisation that it has become!
I look forward to spending the rest of my life helping SCL grow and can’t wait for the day we operate in Zimbabwe!