Presidents Fund was founded in March 1990. The organisation raises funds from local and international publics in order to administer grants and donations to local causes.
The Fund was conceived to commemorate ten years of Independence, peace and stability in Zimbabwe. The brainchild of Mariam Oztanir, this organisation is convened under a Deed of Trust with a number of prominent members of the racing, business and Government sectors as Trustees.
Awards issued by The Fund have been administered to:
- assist people who suffered the effects of devastating drought,
- assist those who were in need of specialised medical treatment,
- further the development of the arts,
- support numerous deserving charities.
Fundraising activities have included: The annual Grand Charity Ball; auctions; international sponsorships (several championed by former ambassador to Ottawa, Florence Chideya); and notably, The Independence Trophy, sponsored by Mariam and Enver Oztanir and run annually on The Presidents Fund Race Day.
In 1996 Mariam Oztanir successfully obtained a licence from the Lotteries and Gaming Board to enable the Fund to operate the weekly game of chance called Lotto.
In June 1999, The Mashonaland Turf Club with its network of tote outlets launched Lotto. Since then, the Presidents Fund Lotto has rapidly grown to be the largest game of its kind in the country and is recognised for its consistency, integrity, transparency and deep rooted foundation.
Disbursement of funds is undertaken at frequent intervals, overseen by a Disbursement Committee comprised of Trustees, and the names of beneficiaries are published widely.
Since the introduction in Zimbabwe of a multi-currency regime in 2009, the Fund has accumulated over US$4million for charitable purposes, including monthly donations which now total $953000 to a Vocational Training College Project established by the Lotteries and Gaming Board.
The Fund established over 25 years ago as a result of the efforts and vision of Mariam Oztanir, continues to achieve its objectives and is now a much recognised and revered institution in Zimbabwe.