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Monday, March 4, 2024



(Above: Poovi Pillay, courtesy of The ACT website)

Poovi Pillay, Nedbank Executive Head of Corporate Social Investment appointed as Official Founding Trustee Representative onto the Arts & Culture Trust Board.

In 2024, the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) celebrates an iconic 30 years of service to the arts and culture sector and ushers in a new era of invigorated, innovative and powerful opportunities for artists in South Africa.

ACT and Nedbank also celebrate decades of a remarkable partnership that has stood the test of time. ACT is delighted to announce the appointment of Poovi Pillay, Nedbank Executive of Corporate Social Investment (CSI), as the newest ACT board member. Pillay succeeds Tobie Badenhorst. During his tenure, Tobie contributed immensely towards the growth of ACT as well as the implementation of its 2021 strategy, which saw the launch of pioneering arts education and cultural entrepreneurship programmes such as the ACT Thuthukisani Programme and the ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme.

Pillay brings a wealth of experience to ACT as the Executive Head of CSI at Nedbank. In this designation, he has played a pivotal role in driving sustainable socioeconomic development in South Africa through strategic CSI initiatives. Notably, Pillay has been instrumental in the success of the Nedbank Green Economy CSI strategy, which seeks to foster employment, skills development, and the growth of small-to-medium enterprises in key sectors such as agriculture, energy, water and waste.

Having spent nearly two decades in commercial roles within Nedbank, Pillay possesses a profound understanding of clients' needs and has contributed significantly to the development of over 30 products and client value propositions. Pillay's impact extends far beyond boardrooms and banking halls. With a hands-on approach to leadership, he has planted the seeds of positive change in local communities, including by co-founding several public benefit organisations such as the Zevenfontein Education Fund, which has enabled more than 7,000 children to go to school as well as provided tertiary education opportunities to 2,000 young people.

Pillay is also part of the Proud of My Town network, which is rehabilitating 20 towns across South Africa by working with communities facing challenges such as underdeveloped infrastructure, high unemployment, gangsterism and more.

ACT Chief Executive Officer Jessica Denyschen says: “We take great pleasure in announcing Poovi Pillay as the newest trustee of ACT representing Nedbank. Poovi's expertise aligns seamlessly with our vision of enabling practising artists and creators to achieve sustainable futures.

“At ACT, we are dedicated to eradicating local challenges in the arts sector, such as poverty, inequality, youth unemployment, mental health issues and lack of environmental consciousness by providing quality arts training, mentorship, development and investment, while also equipping artists with in-demand skills for a future work environment. With Poovi on board, we are confident that his expertise will be a valuable asset in turning this vision into a reality.”

Pillay says: ‘Nedbank's purpose is to be financial experts who do good for individuals, families, businesses and communities. The ACT and Nedbank partnership plays an instrumental role in achieving this. I am honoured to be invited to join the ACT Board, and I am particularly inspired by the current focus of our 30-year journey. The focus is on the training of arts and culture entrepreneurs and the growth of their businesses. This is most certainly the best direction for the sustainability of arts and culture in South Africa.

“I applaud the current and past ACT teams and board members for the catalytic role you have played in driving the value of arts of arts and culture in our country. The calibre of creatives is astounding and yet, in the main, they are not even close to being sufficiently recognised for the contribution they provide for our bodies, minds and souls. I look forward to playing my part in driving the value benchmark higher. Together, we can achieve far greater recognition of the worth of arts and culture and the support it deserves.”

The ACT is thrilled to welcome Pillay to the board and confident that his diverse expertise and commitment to positive change will contribute significantly to ACT's mission of supporting sustainable arts and culture initiatives. To keep in touch with the ACT, visit their website, follow them on Instagram or X, or like their Facebook page.


Celebrating 30 years of arts excellence – Arts & Culture Trust

The ACT is South Africa’s premier independent development and art investment organisation. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the capacity for arts and culture initiatives to create sustainable futures, through development and investment in innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured development programmes, ACT provides support to all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre, and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education, and arts administration. Over the past 30 years, ACT has supported more than 830 arts, culture, and heritage development projects countrywide that include small businesses. For more information, visit the ACT website, follow them on X, or like their Facebook page.


About Nedbank

In partnership with ACT, the Nedbank Arts Affinity has donated more than R30 million over 30 years to support over 830 arts, culture and heritage development projects countrywide. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of talented young artists in South Africa, simply link your Nedbank Greenbacks to the Arts Affinity and Nedbank will donate money to ACT, at no cost to you. The ArtsAffinity currently supports the ACT Nyoloha Scholarship Programme, the ACT Thuthukisani Programme, and the ACT Tlholo Project. For more information, visit any Nedbank branch, call on 0860 555 111, or visit

Also - to link to their website, click on the ACT logo to the right of this article.