Toastmasters District 74

Southern Africa

Joe Garmeson Trust

Joe Garmeson was a very prominent Toastmaster from its early days in the 1950s up until the turn of the century.  He was active in every aspect of the movement and made a major contribution towards its growth and ultimate recognition as a district.

Joe passed away in 2001. He donated half of his estate to a trust from which three quarters of income should be used to subsidise underprivileged people in order that they benefit from Toastmasters training.



1 Introduction.

Joe Garmeson - Mr Toastmaster Southern Africa.

Joe_lecturn_enhancedThey called him Mr Toastmaster Southern Africa, because of the huge contributions that he had made to the Organisation.  As soon as he joined Toastmasters he saw the value of the Organisation, and put every effort he could into growing it and eventually was instrumental in forming District 74 Southern African Toastmasters.

A lot of this success was because of his efforts and notably to lobby Toastmasters International World Headquarters to recognise Southern Africa as a full district even though it only had 50 clubs.  That is low for an overseas district, but after that it continued to grow and eventually reached 160 clubs, although it has dropped back a bit since then.

A second amazing thing that Joe did was to lobby the South African government to allow non-whites to attend Toastmasters meetings, explaining to them that even though it was against the apartheid regulations that it would benefit the country as a whole if blacks could be allowed to attend meetings.

Before the district was formed it was known as a council and Joe was Council Chairman for two separate years the latter time was when Toastmasters Southern Africa became a full district and he handed over the district to Gert Van Blerk.  Shortly after that Joe was recognised as an honouree District Governor because of all his efforts to form the district.

Following that Joe became very active in District 74 and other overseas Districts fulfilling many functions, notably club extension Chairman and continued with these functions until his untimely death in 2001.  He was buried at the Fourways Memorial Park and his gravestone is engraved with the Mission of Toastmasters.  Even in death Joe is an ongoing Public Relations Officer for Toastmasters District 74.

In addition to this he bequeathed his estate to the two organisations he loved, the English Academy and Toastmasters International.  Toastmasters International received 1 Million Rand which is put into a trust for the organisation to benefit from.  The money generates interest, 75% of the income is for the Trust to use, the other 25% is fed back as interest to protect it against inflation at least for some of the time.  In his will he declared that 75% of this interest, which is equivalent to approximately R50 000 per year, is to enable under privileged people to benefit from Toastmasters.

The money is put into a trust with a team of trustees to manage the funds; 75% of the interest is the only portion which can be discretionary.

2 The Garmeson Trust.

Joe_in_Singapore_enhancedFollowing from Joe’s will, the vision of the trust is as follows:

  • To enable under privileged people to benefit from Toastmasters.
  • The benefit will come in the form of all joining costs and 50% of the semi annual dues for a period of 2-3 years.

What is expected of the individual:

To benefit from future payments the beneficiary must carry out the following:

  1. Attend 90% of the Meetings.
  2. Carry out a major assignment each month (Something that requires preparation, eg a speech, Toastmaster of the Evening, Topic Master.)
  3. Carry out a minor Assignment at any of the other meetings, eg Evaluator, Time Keeper, Um-counter, Impromptu speech.

The benefit would be forthcoming for 2 years and if growth is maintained then a further year will be permitted.

Progress will be monitored and if results are not being achieved the funds will be withheld, however there will be some flexibility in this.

There will be an efficient and effective system in place to carry out applications, so that applications are processed quickly.  It is intended that all Toastmasters be made aware of this so they can spread the word to people to enable them to benefit from the Joe Garmeson Trust.


In summary the benefits will last for two years and if there is good progress a further year.  At that stage individuals should have grown to obtain employment to finance themselves.

3 Gavel Clubs.

Joe_recent_enhancedShould an underprivileged group be identified that wishes to benefit from Toastmasters but where sustainable funding looks unlikely then a Gavel Club will be encouraged.  Here the Garmeson Trust will sponsor the whole club and that sponsorship can carry on indefinitely.

Contact Elize Janse Van Rensburg.  See below.

Needless to say members of the Gavel Club will be encouraged to join full Clubs as soon as they obtain gainful employment which is expected as they continue their Toastmaster Training.

4 Sponsorship of a full Toastmasters club

Experience has taught us that sponsoring a full Toastmasters club is neither practicable nor sustainable.  Several have been started but in almost every case the membership has dropped rapidly and the club had to be closed.

Applications for full Toastmasters club will be considered but is unlikely that sponsorship will be provided unless there is a clear demonstration of sustainability.

Contact Elize Janse Van Rensburg.  See below

5 Application for Sponsorship

If you know of an underprivileged person who you feel could benefit from joining your Toastmasters club, then the procedure is:

1.         Some one is identified who could benefit from the Garmeson Trust (GT).

2.         The Club President is notified and he makes contact with the GT.

3.         The GT supplies the necessary forms. (they can be downloaded. See below)

               a.          Application Form

               b.         Memorandum of Agreement

4.         The applicant completes the forms and passes them to the Club President for signature.

5.         The forms are forwarded to the GT: Elize Janse Van Rensburg.  See below.

6.         The GT evaluates the forms and communicates by e-mail, and telecon where necessary.

7.         The applicant and President are notified.

8.         If Payment is awarded it is made into the Club Bank Account.

6 The Garmeson Trust Members:

Tim Knights Chairman Cell 082 894 7542 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elize Janse Van Rensburg Applications Cell 082-903-0485 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Des Smith Treasurer Cell 083 280 4279 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7 Documents

The application form can be downloaded here