Our History



The Lewis Foundation is Born

Driven by a passion for animal welfare and South Africa’s wild places, Tony Lewis and his wife Lisette, establish the Lewis Foundation.



Farewell to the Founders

They passed away within nine months of each other and the appointed trustees set up operational aspects of the Foundation.

1995 – 2007


Growing Partnerships

Substantial financial allocations were made to numerous recognised conservation organisations, including WWF-SA, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Birdlife.



Strategic Review

Responding to considerable growth in the Foundation’s assets, the trustees conducted a strategic review of its operations. The consequence of this was a decision to focus investment and influence on a single priority programme; capacity development in the environmental/biodiversity sector.

2009 – 2019


Capacity Development in the Environmental Sector

Working with key partners in the environmental sector, particularly SANBI and Rhodes University, the Lewis Foundation was catalytic in the establishment of the Biodiversity Human Capital Development Strategy (BHCDS). This fully endorsed strategy is guiding capacity development in the environmental sector for the next twenty years (2010 – 2030). Within the context of this strategy, the GreenMatter Partnership, Fundisa for Change, Imvelisi and the Groen Sebenza Programme were established. In 2020 Lewis funded a ten-year review of the BHCDS.

2017 – 2023


Expansion of Influence

Given further growth in its assets, the Foundation further expanded its investments and influence. So as to serve its animal welfare mandate it funded, through the Endangered Wildlife Trust and Centre for Environmental Rights, a Wildlife Welfare Legislative Review. Also, under the programmatic banner of ‘a Just Transition’ the Foundation funded a range of projects, the details of which can be located here.

2023 onwards


Future Plans

Going forward Lewis will continue to invest in supporting the implementation of the BHCDS. It has rebranded ‘Just Transition’ as ‘Nature-based Solutions’ with a key focus on supporting coordination and innovation in catchment/landscape conservation. The focus on wildlife welfare will be retained and we are developing an interest in the area of green investments.

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