Throughout all the professional, community and social positions he held and delegations he lead, Russel Botman showed an unwavering commitment in working towards a just and equal society and environment. He expressed the grave need for funding that would give talented students with potential, but no means, access to financial assistance so that they would have the opportunity to engage in higher education. He was acutely aware of the tremendous talent originating from the townships and rural towns of the Western Cape that would simply go to waste without an exceptional effort to invest in these young people and their education.
As a direct result of these observations and experiences, he launched the Russel Botman Bursary Fund on 18 October 2013 – his 60th birthday. Botman asked guests to contribute to the bursary fund instead of giving personal gifts and as such the first donations to the fund came from the invited guests of his 60th birthday celebrations.
The Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University arranged a surprise celebratory symposium in his honour, so many of the attendees of the event were among the first to donate to the Russel Botman Bursary Fund.
After Botman’s death, the alumni office at Stellenbosch University that facilitated the establishment of the bursary fund took over the responsibilities and established a committee. This committee liaised with the Faculty of Theology that continued the celebratory symposium in the form of the annual Russel Botman Memorial Lecture to be part of the proceedings, the first of which was held on 19 October 2015.