In the world of philanthropy and community empowerment, some individuals shine as beacons of hope and inspiration. Raymond Ackerman was undeniably one of these luminaries. His recent passing leaves a void that can never truly be filled, but his legacy continues to light the way for countless others committed to making a positive impact on the world.
At SHAWCO, we were profoundly saddened by the news of Raymond Ackerman’s passing. His dedication to community upliftment and unwavering support for educational initiatives resonated deeply with our mission and values. This blog is a tribute to the man whose generosity and vision have left an indelible mark on South Africa and beyond.
A Philanthropic Visionary
Raymond Ackerman was not just a successful businessman; he was a visionary philanthropist. His journey in the retail industry began with a small grocery store and culminated in the founding of Pick n Pay, one of South Africa’s largest and most recognisable supermarket chains. Yet, his vision extended far beyond commercial success.
His belief in the power of education to transform lives led him to become a steadfast supporter of SHAWCO. For years, he championed our organisation’s work in underprivileged communities, recognising the crucial role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty.
The Heartfelt Letters of Appreciation
In 2019, SHAWCO students from both SHAWCO Health and SHAWCO Education embarked on a touching initiative to express their gratitude to Mr. Ackerman. They collectively wrote 88 heartfelt letters, each articulating their deep appreciation for his unwavering support.
These letters were more than just words on paper; they represented the profound impact Raymond Ackerman had on the lives of countless young individuals. He was not just a philanthropist but a mentor, an inspiration, and a beacon of hope.
A Birthday Tradition
One of the cherished traditions at SHAWCO was the annual celebration of Raymond Ackerman’s birthday. Dating back to the early 1980s, this tradition symbolised the profound thanks for his continuous support of both students and organisations like SHAWCO.
Every year, students from SHAWCO and UCT RAG would visit Raymond Ackerman on his birthday, bearing warm wishes and gratitude. It was a heartfelt gesture that demonstrated the deep respect and appreciation they held for his enduring commitment to their causes.
A Family Committed to Giving
Raymond Ackerman’s philanthropic spirit was contagious, extending to his family. His daughter Suzanne and son Gareth also became integral parts of the SHAWCO family, actively contributing to our mission. Suzanne served as RAG chair in 1984, and Gareth held the same position in 1980. Their involvement and support strengthened the bond between SHAWCO and the Ackerman family.
Pick n Pay: A Partner in Empowerment
Under Raymond Ackerman’s leadership, Pick n Pay became a paragon of corporate social responsibility. The company’s commitment to community development mirrored Ackerman’s personal dedication. Pick n Pay’s partnership with SHAWCO and other organisations exemplified their ethos of giving back to the communities they served.
A Legacy Lives On
As we mourn the loss of Raymond Ackerman, we also celebrate his life, his contributions, and the enduring legacy of giving that he leaves behind. His impact on SHAWCO and countless other organisations and individuals cannot be overstated.
In his memory, let us continue the work of building brighter futures for all. The spirit of generosity and community empowerment that Raymond Ackerman embodied will continue to guide our path as we strive to make the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time. Raymond Ackerman’s legacy will forever remind us that, indeed, one person can make a significant difference in the lives of many.
Rest in Peace, Raymond Ackerman, and thank you for your immeasurable contributions to our world. 🌟