The JB Marks Education Trust Fund was established by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1997 to address the need to empower NUM members and their children or dependents, particularly those graduates entering the mining, energy and construction sector. Today, the Trust has grown beyond what the NUM envisioned when they first created it back in 1997. The vision and mission of the Trust is still highly concentrated on educationally funding beneficiaries of NUM members, however, the scope and reach of the Trust has evolved and grown with changing times over the past 20 years.
The Trust was named after legendary South African leader and activest, John Beaver Marks, a man who will forever be associated with the struggles of the African Gold miners who were recruited from inside and outside the borders of South Africa. John Beaver Marks valued education above all and believed that the truest form of empowerment and emancipation of workers was through education. His long history of courageous leadership for the course of liberation deservedly made him a household name among the oppressed and exploited people in Africa, inspiring confidence in his ability to lead. The principles that guide the JB Marks Education Trust Fund were formed on the backbone of his ideals and beliefs. Over the past 20 years, the Trust has continued unabated to fulfil John Beaver’s conviction in the power of education by covering tuition, registration, accommodation, tutoring, meals and bridging courses to prospective students who have qualified for higher learning education and meet the JB Marks selection criteria. Thus far, JB Marks Education Trust Fund has enabled 1016 bursars (2016) to graduate with mainstream higher learning qualifications (including 18 medical doctors) and disbursed R286 million to over 2000 beneficiaries. In the current year (2017), 200 bursaries were awarded, bringing the total to 700 undergraduates and 50 post-graduate students still in the pipeline. The Trust receives the bulk of its funding from the Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT), through dividends from the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) which in turn enables the Trust to continue to deliver on its objectives.
John Beaver (JB) Marks was born on 21 March 1903, Ventersdorp, Western Transvaal (now North West Province). His father was a railway worker and his mother, a midwife. His father was a staunch supporter of the African National Congress (ANC).
JB Marks Education Trust Fund is a registered Trust in terms of Section 6 (1) of the Trust property Control Act, 1988 (Act 57 of 1988). It has six board members with a variety of expertise from different industries. The financial year-end is 31 December.