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Giving is not just for the wealthy

Media Release
For Immediate Release

26 June 2006

Giving is not just for the wealthy

American billionaire Warren Buffett’s $NZ61.6 billion donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is testament to the absolute value of philanthropy.

“This level of donation is far beyond New Zealand giving practices but it does reinforce the idea that gifting to our community can and does make a difference to people’s lives,” says Philanthropy New Zealand Executive Director Robyn Scott.

“Warren Buffett’s generosity is truly awe inspiring and his donation will go a long way to addressing some of the world’s inequities, but you do not have to be a billionaire and give away billions to make valuable philanthropic contributions,” she says.

Philanthropy New Zealand members collectively give away in excess of $260 million annually. “Some of our members are large foundations, others are individuals or families, and they all give to numerous organisations in a variety of ways.

“The size of their grants and donations vary from hundreds of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it all makes a valuable contribution to our society. These philanthropists and grantmakers are adding to the social capital of Aotearoa, New Zealand,” Ms Scott says.

Whilst some of the best known local philanthropic gifts are large ones, small amounts of money given by individuals or trusts are also valuable as they can often be used more easily than the other sources of funding that community and voluntary sector organisations rely on.

“Many new Zealanders give generously of their time and skills as well as money. Mr Buffett’s gift is a reminder to us all to consider what we can do to help the people and organisations who are helping others to make our country what it is. Giving back to our communities makes a valuable difference in the lives of many and is richly rewarding for the giver as well as the recipients,” says Ms Scott.

ENDS

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