After designing the Palace of the Lost City hotel project in Sun City, South Africa, Legend Award honoree Trisha Wilson clearly recognized both the problems and potential in South Africa. In 1997, she established The Wilson Foundation to address the needs of South Africa’s disadvantaged and underserved children. Most of its work is focused in the Limpopo Province, an area beset by extreme poverty, unemployment, substandard education, and an HIV/AIDS epidemic that has left an overwhelming number of orphans and other vulnerable children in its wake. The Wilson Foundation makes grants to the non-governmental organizations that serve the needs of the people in this region.
Through The Wilson Foundation’s support, scholarships are distributed to educate approx-imately 140 children annually at the Waterberg Academy, which was established in 2003 in Vaalwater, South Africa, by local community leaders and was designed and built with the help of the foundation and Trisha Wilson. The foundation also provides support for salaries for teachers, training programs and supplies for rural preschools, as well as programs to enhance math and language proficiency for incoming high school students. In addition, the foundation supports mentoring and counseling programs for at-risk teenage boys, community-run vegetable gardens, and other projects that encourage economic independence. After completing the school, the foundation has more recently constructed a community library, as well as a science and technology center.
The Wilson Foundation also supports the Waterberg Welfare Society health clinic, which offers daily feeding, counseling, and caregiving through Orphans and Vulnerable Children programs.
It supports the cost of salaries and overhead expenses for health clinic and hospice workers, medical fellowship programs, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission treatment programs, medicines, and a mobile clinic that serves the surrounding rural population. In 2006, The Wilson Foundation created a partnership with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center—Wilson is a Texas native and resident—to send U.S.-trained physicians to the Waterberg region to help expand the delivery of medical care to area children and their families.
The foundation also recently joined forces with Project Hope to serve Las Colonias residential communities that lack basic living necessities in south Texas near the Mexico border. “We have chosen to help in one particular area called the Penitas,” says John Canterbury III, the foundation’s executive director.
Visit thewilsonfoundation.org to donate or learn more.