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Mazda Foundation assists communities across the country

Media Release

18 August 2014

Mazda Foundation assists communities across the country

The Mazda Foundation has donated more than $75,000 to 22 individuals and groups across New Zealand as part of the second round of funding for 2014.

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 education facilities, conservation programs, individuals, charities and organisations were granted much needed funding from the foundation. One program included the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) which received funding to host the inaugural Sir Peter Blake Kaitiakitanga MERC Environmental Challenge.

Based in Long Bay, Auckland, MERC offer marine environmental education and outdoor experiences for schools and other not-for-profit groups, with a particular focus on helping disadvantaged and disabled students. MERC is passionate about bringing marine education to life with memorable experiences.

The group will host the first annual Sir Peter Blake MERC Kaitiakitanga Challenge for schools towards the end of 2014. In three categories, air, land and sea, students will work in teams to design a project that will aim to improve the Long Bay marine reserve or their own school. The projects will be on display at MERC to commemorate the anniversary of Sir Peter Blake’s death.

“We received $1,300 from the Mazda Foundation which will make a huge difference to environmental education in schools,” says Emma Coplestone, Marine Education Officer, MERC.

“We hope to make this an annual event for schools to be able to come together, share ideas and spread environmental knowledge. Kids have such great imaginations so we can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

Another grant went to West Coast Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), a Hokitika based organisation that provides therapeutic horse riding for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Riding therapy provides many physical benefits such as improved circulation, balance, coordination and mobility, and also emotional cognitive benefits, in a unique form that is fun and exciting.

The organisation has been granted $8,950 to resurface the riding arena and horse yards.

“Contact with horses is a powerful experience, and the strong bond between the horse and rider has a profound, uplifting effect on people,” says Fiona Anderson, Secretary, West Coast RDA.

“The arena is currently very hard and stony with poor drainage making it difficult to use in its current state. The grant from the Mazda Foundation will enable us to significantly improve our facilities.”

Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation says this round of grants saw an amazing number of causes apply for support and we are very humbled to be able to help so many.

“The Foundation is always amazed by the remarkable array of inspirational organisations, community projects and individuals out there and they are all admirable in their own right.

Whether it’s encouraging environmental education in schools or supporting the disabled, it’s always overwhelming to see just how much great work goes on across the country.”

The Mazda Foundation has now distributed over $1.6million to 460 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 Spetember 2014. For more information or to download an application form, visitwww.mazdafoundation.org.nz


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