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Minister Blesses Investment for Northland Community

Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Peeni Henare was keynote speaker at the Northland Foundation’s end of year event on November 23 where he talked about government and business helping charitable funds grow.

Speaking at Whangarei Central Library Mr Henare, who grew up in Whangarei, said around 1.2m New Zealanders volunteer and there are 27,000 registered charities in the country. Mr Henare said communities need to know and act on what is best for themselves and Whangarei is an example of a town which knows its own challenges.

Mr Henare said the government is exploring how charity tax regimes can support community endeavours and he was recently inspired after attending the Social Enterprise World Forum.

The theme of the end of year event was encouraging business partnerships. Northland Foundation Chair Richard Ayton explained to the gathering of business and community leaders that Northland Foundation has taken many of its cues from the Tindall Foundation, as it was Sir Stephen Tindall who seeded the first community foundations in New Zealand. The Tindall Foundation was one of the first to appreciate the importance of building partnerships between business, charities and government, Mr Ayton said.

The function focused on appealing for more financial bequests from estates. “Northland is often asset-rich but cash poor so people setting up bequests while they are living is a good way to help the community,” Mr Ayton said. Sometimes bequests to charities in Northland will end up going to a national body and not directly reach the regions, so the appeal for bequests is “To fix some serious holes in Northland’s community” and steer the money away from being nationalised.

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Northland Foundation’s point of difference is to carefully invest bequests so their capital remains in perpetuity and the fund gives interest back to the community across decades.

Foundation manager Greta Buchanan said Northland Foundation has successfully grown funds including the Kauri Fund for Sport Northland. Receiving interest on funds of 11% in the last financial year.

The foundation currently has $12m in bequests committed and currently manages a fund of around $1m. So far $4.6m has been granted to local community and health causes.

Brian Kerr and Heidi Findley of Craigs Investment Partners, who sponsor Community Foundations of NZ, also gave a presentation about how investment helps charities.

Northland Foundation began as Northland Community Foundation in 2004 and re-launched in 2015 as Northland Foundation Northland Foundation handles a range of funds and grants. Payroll giving, corporate giving and donations through wills are all managed through the Northland Foundation, and there is a focus on building permanent funds into the community. Northland Foundation is known for its close relationship with the Tindall Foundation, Sport Northland and Northland DHB, in particular Project Promise which supported the creation of the Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre.

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