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Mazda Foundation grants benefit kiwis across the country

Media Release
21st May 2014

Mazda Foundation grants benefit kiwis across the country

The Mazda Foundation has donated more than $75,000 to 29 individuals and groups from across New Zealand in the largest funding round since 2009.

Each year, the Mazda Foundation holds three funding rounds and selects New Zealanders, community groups and charities that are in need of support.

A combination of individuals, education facilities, conservation programs, charities and organisations were granted much needed funding from the foundation. One plight in particular - that of the NZ Epilepsy Assist Dog Trust – was very deserving of a substantial $15,000, an amount rarely gifted in a single grant.

Based in Auckland, but assisting across the country, NZ Epilepsy Assist Dogs train and provide dogs to people with severe epilepsy. After years of rigorous training the puppies develop into very special creatures with the ability to assist their owners to lead happier and safer lives both at home and in public.

The grant will cover the expense of training and care for one puppy throughout the entire programme - a very substantial and expensive process, which results in only a small number of puppies undergoing training.

“This is a very generous grant from the Mazda Foundation, one that would have taken us a lot of fundraising efforts to achieve,” says Andrea Hawkless, founder of NZ Epilepsy Assist Dogs Trust.

“Although it is a huge task to prepare one of these puppies for a new home there is nothing like seeing how they change a person’s life who suffers from epilepsy. The dogs are quite magnificent, providing companionship and independence to their owner, while most importantly keeping them safe when having a seizure and in some instances preventing them all together.”

Another substantial grant went to a Matauri Bay individual who can now live life on the white sandy beaches surrounding her home thanks to the funding to purchase a beach wheelchair.

Eleven year old Davarah Piheme-Williams a sufferer of cerebral palsy, who has nil mobility and is dependent on full-time care, has been granted $5,619.00, so that the family can purchase a ‘Sandcruiser’, enabling her to access the beach.

Karen Williams, Davarah’s grandmother and carer says the ‘Sandcruiser’ wheelchair will allow Davarah to be included in family and local community life.

“This grant means so much, now Davarah can spend summers on the beach with her brothers, go on school trips to the coast and most of all live life with sand between her toes, something many of us take for granted.”

Highlighting the foundations motto ‘a little goes a long way’, smaller grants are equally as important and make up the majority of the funding rounds. One such grant went to Richmond Playcentre in Nelson who are putting the $500 to great use, building an edible garden.

The funds will launch this project by covering the cost of building materials and the first round of seeds and plants including herbs, fruits and vegetables.

“Thanks to the Mazda Foundation we are able to see this idea come to fruition. We are a very family orientated centre and this garden will give us a fantastic opportunity to have the children and their parents learning and developing together.” says Richmond Playcentre’s Grant Officer, Candice Jooste.

Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation, says the Foundation is happy to be in a position to help such a variety of organisations and individuals across New Zealand.

“This funding round saw an incredible number of diverse causes apply for assistance from all across the country and we are very grateful to be able to provide support to so many this time round. There is an amazing array of inspirational organisations, community projects and individuals out there in New Zealand and they are all deserving in their own right.

Whether it’s providing a safe companion for someone in need, equipping a young girl to experience life in the sand or bringing families together over a vege patch, it’s always humbling to see just how much great work goes on across the country.”

The Mazda Foundation has now distributed over $1.5million to 439 recipients since its establishment in 2005. The Foundation is funded through a contribution from the sale of every new Mazda in New Zealand.

The closing date for the next round of Mazda Foundation applications is 30 June 2014. For more information or to download an application form, visit www.mazdafoundation.org.nz.

Ends

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