How We Do It

The funds of the Foundation derive from the R1.1 million proceeds from the 1976 sale of the laboratories and facilities of the Poliomyelitis Research Foundation to the Department of Health. These funds have been invested in a managed portfolio of shares. A subcommittee of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, the Investment Advisory Committee, meets each of its financial advisers four times a year to review the PRF’s financial investment performance. Annually the Board of Trustees allocate a percentage of these funds to research as recommended by the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Panel.

The PRF is governed through 3 structures:

A Board of Trustees that:

  • Provides governance oversight
  • Has an Investment Subcommittee that takes care of the Foundation’s financial assets
  • Provides final approval for all fund disbursements

A Scientific Advisory Panel (“SAP”) that:

  • Calls for grant applications
  • Adjudicates all grant applications
  • Recommendations to the board on grant disbursements

An External Review Panel (“ERP”) that:

  • Reviews all grant applications that have reached a stage of requiring external review for consideration by the SAP

A major strength of the PRF structure is that all the members of the Board of Trustees, the SAP and the ERP offer their services on a pro-bono basis. Minor costs are incurred for the external asset managers employed by the Investment Committee and who charge heavily discounted fees, and secretarial and auditing fees. This has enabled the PRF to grow its financial resources and disburse more than R110 million all from the initial receipt of R1.1 million starting in 1976.