Driven by his love for children and a desire to end their suffering, former President Mandela established the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF) in 1995. From 1996 to 1998, NMCF successfully mobilized over R36 million to fund over 780 projects, at an average of R40, 000 per project. Grounded in the legacy of its founder, NMCF initially operated as a grant-making
organization promoting a humanitarian response to the plight of South Africa 's children and youth.
The 1995-1999 period was characterised by ad hoc funding strategies that enabled children and families to meet immediate needs, and one-time support for overhead and salary costs for organisations targeting children's issues, with no particular programmatic basis for NMCF's engagement with these organisations.