Carte Blanche, produced by Combined Artistic Productions, launched the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust (IT 3593/2008) to commemorate 20 years on air in August 2008.
George Mazarakis, Carte Blanche’s Executive Producer, set the goal of raising R20-million, a million for every year on air, to support State paediatric units across the country. To date, through the generosity of corporate donors and viewers, we have more than quadrupled that target.
In 2010, George (Trustee) and Karolina Andropoulos (patron) were awarded the Support of Philanthropy in the Media Inyathelo Philanthropy Award for their work in equipping paediatric units in hospitals with life-saving equipment and mobilising corporate and private South Africa to donate millions of rands to support this initiative.
Total raised: in excess of R145-million.
Patron: K Andropoulos
Founder/Donor: J K Sparkes
Trustees: P D Grealy, G Fatseas-Mazarakis, C M V Nel, J K Sparkes & J D du Plessis
Karolina Andropoulos matriculated at St Mary’s School in Johannesburg, and then went on to study Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she graduated in 1988.
In 2001 Karolina was living in Sydney, Australia, when her daughter Georgina was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. This led to several years of in- and out-patient treatment for her daughter at Sydney Children’s Hospital. This circumstance resulted in first-hand experience of paediatric hospital facilities abroad, and left Karolina with a passionate interest and commitment to the improvement of paediatric facilities in South Africa.
In 2009 Karolina became patron of the Carte Blanche “Making a Difference” trust. To date the trust has raised over R145-million in support of State paediatric units across the country.
Karolina has been residing in Johannesburg again since 2006.
Chris Nel has been a Chartered Accountant since 1983. Since April 1998 he has practiced under the name of Viljoen Nel Chartered Accountants. Chris has been the Finance Trustee to the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Trust from its inception to-date.
Trustee Peter Grealy acts as MAD’s legal advisor. The head of Webber Wentzel’s Commercial Business Unit, he focuses on the commercial and regulatory aspects of South Africa’s telecommunications, broadcasting, media and technology environment. He regularly advises clients on commercial and corporate issues, including crossborder negotiations, e-commerce and online banking, as well as defamation and copyright law, as it pertains to the media and entertainment industry. Peter is a member of the International Bar Association and the Corporate Lawyers Association of South Africa, and his expertise has been recognised by a number of international research organisations, including Chambers, Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal and Best Lawyers.
Jan du Plessis is a veteran television executive who received South Africa’s most prestigious accolade – a lifetime achievement honorary medal from the Academy for Science and Arts – in 2019 for his immense contribution to the country’s film industry. After obtaining a B.Com (Hons) degree in Economics from the University of Pretoria, Jan started his career in entertainment at cinema company Ster Kinekor, where he was responsible for the acquisition of movies. Since 1994, when he joined M-Net, he has played a pivotal role in formulating and implementing the broadcaster’s international and local-content strategies across the continent, and in launching several television channels – from flagship Afrikaans channel kykNET to an extensive list of genre-specific or pop-up movie and series channels. Jan currently holds the position of Director: M-Net Channels. During his tenure at M-Net, now spanning more than 26 years, Jan’s portfolio also included research, local content development and productions, international rights negotiations, contract administration and media operations. Widely known for his creativity and a desire to raise the bar in all his pursuits, Jan continues to be involved in script development and South African film festivals. He was part of the team that introduced reality television to Africa and numerous original local productions under his wing have won local and international awards.
In the more than a decade since the launch of the Carte Blanche ‘Making a Difference’ trust, over R150-million has been raised to equip and renovate Paediatric Operating Theatres, ICUs and High Care Wards in 10 State academic hospitals in six of South Africa’s nine provinces. Each of the Trust’s projects have had the benefited from the expertise of some of the country’s top specialists in the fields of hospital development, architecture and clinical, electrical and mechanical engineering. Thousands of hours have been contributed for the benefit of each project’s success. In turn, this has resulted in long-term benefits to thousands of children in State hospitals throughout South Africa.
The Carte Blanche “Making a Difference” Trust has commenced its 19th project, namely to create a new Paediatric Unit at Ngwelezana Hospital in KZN’s Umhlathuze Municipality. The upliftment of paediatric services for trauma, burns and orthopedic at the hospital will be addressed by way of overhauling a building that has been earmarked for this purpose and equipping it with appropriate equipment.
In addition to the work in various hospitals, the trust has completed several projects in aftercare centres and orphanages, as well as initiating and securing the funding for feeding programmes for our child welfare beneficiaries in Gauteng, the North West province and KwaZulu-Natal.