The ABF has grown out of the need to grant short term assistance to those associated with the business of advertising who find themselves in extreme difficulties through illness, accident, loss of support of the breadwinner, and unemployment. There are indeed few people in agencies, media and advertising services who are not vulnerable. Medical aid schemes don't always fully cover the costs of major surgery, treatment of terminal diseases and nursing services. Since its establishment in 1969, the ABF has helped over 400 families - total funds given towards grants in aid is just under R8 million.


Assistance is given by way of payment to meet short term crises such as rent, medical expenses and food. The main concern at the ABF is always to safeguard shelter and to provide food and essential needs, in that way 'bridging-the-gap' by giving short term assistance until most of the problems are overcome.

Each case is therefore carefully considered with specific requirements in mind. We arrange for outside sources of help wherever possible such as disability grants, pensions and other grants in aid, thus spreading the financial load.

In certain cases the ABF has provided aid such as a wheelchair, leg callipers, etc. Where needed, the cost of special nursing services has been met by the ABF. Supply of food has been ensured where there is simply no money available to buy this essential.

The ABF has been fortunate in obtaining the services of qualified social workers who assist infinitely in providing advice and putting these people in touch with the appropriate authorities, where outside bodies can help.

How does it work?

We have a validation committee headed by the current acting ABF president John Bowles. We meet on a monthly basis to re-assess every single current application or client.

Two social workers conduct monthly interviews with each client and also carries out home visits to make sure the information supplied to us is correct. The ABF evaluates each client in detail on a regular basis to decide if we can, or should, be helping that person in a different way, and also to make sure we always stay in touch them and know their most current circumstance.


The Executive Committee currently consists of

  • John Bowles (Acting President)
  • Andy Rice (long standing patron and friend of the ABF)
  • Riana Stander (Treasurer)
  • Olav Westphal (fundraising assistance)
  • Marc Middlecote (fundraising assistance)
  • Marco Santos (fundraising assistance)
  • Chirene Campbell (publicity and communications)

The ABF should ideally be representative of various sections within the industry including advertisers, media owners, PR agencies, advertising agencies, market research companies, supply houses, freelancers, etc. A representative committee is one of the challenges faced by the ABF.
With the exception of our paid officials, which includes the treasurer and two social workers, all serve in an entirely voluntary capacity.
While the fund is based in Johannesburg, regional branches administer local aspects of the ABF's work in Durban. We are in the process of re-establishing a presence in Cape Town.


All those engaged in the advertising industry - media and advertising agencies, advertisers, artists, photographers, advertising researchers, freelancers or other suppliers to the industry, are all eligible. In the main they must be connected with the advertising function in each company. When a new application for assistance is received, the circumstances are thoroughly reviewed by the Relief Validating Committee that decides what, if any, assistance should be given. Each case is allocated and referred to by a number to preserve the anonymity of the recipient. The identity of the beneficiaries is known to the Relief Validating Committee and to no one else.

How do you apply?

Applicants apply via email to the ABF. On receipt of enquiry, application forms are forwarded to the client which need to be completed - this includes the completion of a financial questionnaire. These are then forwarded to the social worker who determines the authenticity of the claim. The social worker will then make a recommendation in terms of how, and how much we need to help this person. The case is then presented to the validation committee for discussion and further action. On some occasions, one on one counselling services is all that is needed.
Once the decision of financial aid is concluded, and the funds have been authorised by the acting president and treasurer, payment is made via EFT.

How is the amount determined?

The amount is based on the recommendations of our social workers; the merit of the application and the ABF's availability of funds. Although we have a guideline like a maximum amount we would donate to help with funeral expenses etc we also take into consideration other sources of income or other avenues where funds could be generated for this person. We try to keep recipients for a maximum period of three months. During this time we keep close tabs with them on a monthly basis to see if their situation changes.

Can you apply for help from ABF if you have any other source of income?

Yes, we do not exclude applicants if they have other sources of income of whatever nature (salary, UIF, pensions, grants etc.) We assess the financial situation in its entirety, and might still help to a small extent even if someone has other income avenues. We do try and point applicants in the right direction if we feel they could also receive help from other sources to lessen the burden on the ABF (like social grants, the Jewish helping hand or other welfare funds).


Corporate donors are companies that contribute a varying amount of Annual Subscription Fees depending mostly on their size and annual turnover supplied to the ABF. Fundraising functions such as Tenpin Bowling, Cricket, Lawn Bowls and Golf Tournaments are held regularly by the ABF. All these functions help to boost the ABF funds. There is a great need for many more subscribers, corporate donors and committee members to help this Fund continue the essential work it is doing and will continue to do in the years ahead.

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