The Discovery Foundation is an independent trust with a clear focus to strengthen the healthcare system by ensuring that more people have access to specialised healthcare services.

As one element of Discovery Holdings’ black economic empowerment transaction, the Discovery Foundation has over the past 13 years surpassed expectations and invested R234 million in grants to support academic medicine through research, development and the training of medical specialists in South Africa.

When first being established, in order to gain insight into the key areas of concern and need in South Africa’s healthcare sector, the Discovery Foundation needed independent and in-depth research to better understand what medical skills and expertise were needed to give disadvantaged communities access to better healthcare, as well as what steps were needed to keep those skills and develop them further.

Tshikululu undertook this initial research by partnering with Max Price, the then Dean of the UCT Medical School. Research was also based on the extensive interviewing of many relevant stakeholders.

The operation of the Foundation was based on this research, with a priority to identify gaps in the niche space of clinical specialists and medical research within the public health sector, and programmes were then conceptualised and designed to address these gaps. 

The Trust follows an “Outsourced” model of operation in that it has opted to outsource certain of the day-to-day running of the trust and all the associated administrative functions and operates on a minimal overhead structure. Support is provided by Discovery CSI staff and certain functions are outsourced to Tshikululu.

Since the initial research was conducted, The Discovery Foundation uses Tshikululu Social Investmentsto run their social investment activity on an ongoing basis. What this also includes is the screening and monitoring of applications for the Discovery Foundation Awards every year, which include scholarships, bursaries and research fellowships as well as support for teaching and research institutions. Each year, for doctors working in the public healthcare sector, the Discovery Foundation gives five different awards to outstanding individual and institutional awardees.

In line with Discovery’s core purpose, which is to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives, Tshikululu continues to be involved with these outsourced services on behalf of the Discovery Foundation.