How time flies – celebrating 50 years!
It was 30 years ago that Cathy Masters, after completing articles and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (“CA”), left the corporate world and began working exclusively in and for the non-profit sector in South Africa. It was 20 years ago this month that Paul Tyler, also a CA, left Christian Aid in the UK to join Cathy.
Together, they formally established “CMDS” as it is known today; together, they have now clocked up a combined 50 years of providing specialist accounting and financial management support and training to and for non-profit organisations in Southern Africa. Consultations with organisations have, over the years, extended way beyond technical accounting and financial management into personal mentoring and other support in a range of areas, from organisational and programme development/strengthening to HR matters and to governance. Using their skills and experience, they have both contributed to the building of individuals and organisations working to make a real difference in the world, especially in support of those who are living in poverty and/or are marginalised and oppressed.
Cathy and Paul share a passion for training and for support that builds the capacity of organisations, enabling those organisations to be more financially healthy and sustainable. Over the years, they have run numerous training courses and trained thousands of individuals and organisations in financial management, governance and compliance.
They have provided valuable hours of support to many hundreds of leaders and funders of NPO’s and have also been able to make a wider contribution to the sector by taking up opportunities to lecture/train (for example on the social entrepreneurship certificate programme at GIBS and the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s NPO management programme and by offering training on financial sustainability for NPO’s through a partnership with Nedbank Private Wealth) and to be involved on the committee organising the NPO Collaboration Dialogue in Cape Town.
They have gathered around them a team of dedicated and skilled staff, who understand the needs of the non-profit sector, and they work with a network of other service providers to the sector in order to provide a comprehensive range of services.
A long standing partnership (of some 15 years) with Bread for the World (the German protestant church’s funding agency) has allowed Cathy and Paul to grow through exposure to the wide range of issues on which they are consulted by Bread for the World’s partner organisations across Southern Africa, including the strict, and often complex, requirements of the agency’s back donor. Partnerships such as this are very rewarding on many levels.
After their combined 50 years, Cathy and Paul still see it as a privilege and pleasure to work with passionate individuals and organisations that are working for change in our troubled society; they would therefore like to say a huge “thank you” to everyone that they have encountered and worked with over the years, whether only briefly or more intensively over a longer period. While they are still looking forward to many more years of contribution, they also would love to see others pick up the baton so that individuals and organisations in the NPO sector can be assured of receiving relevant and quality services way beyond their own lifetimes.