About The Spirit Foundation: Through The Eyes of Our Founder

Success within financial, fiduciary, property and technology businesses, has allowed Ian Kilbride to develop his philanthropic goals and commitments. Endorsing the African spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ (I am because we are), he continues to develop the Spirit Foundation and its three focused NPC’s into the areas that he and the Kilbride family are most passionate about, ‘Education, Community and Wildlife’.

Since 1994 the Spirit Education Foundation (SEF) has funded the high school education (Grade 8 – 12) as well as all of the ancillary educational and social needs of scholars and their families, with all scholar beneficiaries coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. With the experience and a track record developed over four decades, SEF has developed a unique mentorship model that has guided thousands of young scholars and helped them to develop into solid South African citizens.

The Alumni of SEF are now involved in numerous aspects of South African life and in many varied professions. The range of skills acquired by SEF scholars is vast, from astrophysics, nursing, medicine, education, engineering, teaching, and numerous others. The SEF staff are qualified educationalists, teachers and or alumni. In 2024, the 30th anniversary of SEF, they will mentor, guide and support the 150 high school scholars, that are now benefiting from SEF. Mindful of his own working-class roots in the north of England, Kilbride later established the Spirit Community Foundation (SCF). The aim is to actively support existing programmes that impact positively on working-class, disadvantaged, or disabled communities, in both South Africa and the UK. In South Africa, SCF supports numerous NGOs and charities, including The Big Issue, Hear in Africa, League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB), Bonnie Friends, 418, Lords Taverners South Africa, British Football Academy and others. As a fifth-generation Everton supporter, Ian became an early supporter of Everton in the Community (EiTC) in the 1990’s and the Everton Free School (EFS) upon its completion.

The important work of both EiTC and EFS has received wide recognition for its remarkable achievements in its socially and economically depressed catchment area. SCF has built a library housed within EFS and is an active and committed supporter of the Everton Disability Teams, which embrace those with many disabilities, but with some remarkable skills! Kilbride’s passion for wildlife led to the establishment of the Spirit Wildlife Foundation (SWF) with the purpose of contributing to the survival and sustainability of the continent’s iconic species. To date, the SWF has achieved success in assisting with the survival of orphaned rhino and funded key programmes that support the protection of Africa’s dangerously threatened wildlife populations.