Stan Lorge, CEO, Computershare South Africa
Computershare South Africa established the Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust to sponsor anti-crime and crime victim support initiatives following the brutal murder of senior manager Mike Thomson at his Johannesburg home on 27 September 2007.
The Mike Thomson Trust is dedicated to a peaceful future for all South Africans. It supports effective, grassroots programmes that aim to address the causes and symptoms of crime. The DNA Project is fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries of this incredible initiative.
Computershare launched Change a Life in South Africa in 2008 to help combat the scourge of crime and to strive for a hopeful future for all South Africans. Change a Life supports five grassroots projects aimed at crime detection and prevention as well as providing training and leadership skills for talented youngsters in difficult social and economic circumstances. Funds raised by Change a Life South Africa are channelled via the Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust, which was set up to help combat crime following the tragic murder of senior Computershare manager Mike Thomson in September 2007.
Change a Life’s primary fundraiser is the annual Change a Life Cycle. To date, the cycle tour has raised R12 million for recipient projects.
In the recent 2011 Change a Life Cycle, a team of 70 executive cyclists travelled more than 500 kms across the Namib Desert’s vast and surreal landscapes towards the foggy ocean shores of Swakopmund. The tour fulfilled its promise of “Wild West” adventure with hot dusty roads, shifting sand dunes, ancient flora and fauna, wonderful desert camps and star studded desert skies – and it became self-sustaining for the first time, with 100% of the fees and the matched funds channeled directly into recipient projects.
The 2010 Change a Life Cycle involved 70 participants cycling 520 km from Malawi’s capital Lilongwe along the Lake Malawi shoreline and then southwards to Zomba Pleateau. A highlight was the third day’s Amazing Race, which included a 40km cycle, a circuit on the lake on dugout canoes and an 8 km race on specially manufactured bicycle ambulances, which were donated to local rural communities. Nearly R3.5 million was raised for Change a Life’s five anti-crime projects.
The 2009 Change a Life Cycle, in partnership with Rovos Rail, raised an additional R3.5 million for the Change a Life Trust as 60 company executives embarked on a five-day “Mystery Tour”, which took them via Rovos Rail to the Orange Free State, parts of the Northern Cape and through some of Lesotho’s most gruelling mountain passes.
The inaugural cycle event took place in September 2008 along the Zambezi River and attracted 81 senior company executives, who each contributed R20 000 to Change a Life. Computershare matched all cyclists’ fees rand for rand, raising R2.3 million in total after costs.