Helping people give where they live

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Aoraki Foundation trustee Robyn Hewson

QWhat is the aim of the Aoraki Foundation?
The foundation is a charitable trust, which invests money donated by philanthropic South Canterbury people and businesses who want to ‘‘give where they live’’.
The resulting income from those investments is then distributed to worthwhile community organisations and causes. The aim of the foundation is to grow the funds it currently holds, ensure those funds are earning a good return and then support our community organisations with financial gifts and scholarships.
QWhat does your role with Aoraki Foundation involve?
As a trustee I work as a volunteer and my responsibilities are to be acquainted with the monthly financial analysis and reporting, help decide which applications for funds meet the foundation’s criteria, be involved with strategic planning and policy reviews and work to achieve the KPIs. I am on the Professional Advisers Committee which exists to raise the profile of the foundation and encourage support among all professional advisers with an emphasis on legal and financial professionals.
QWhy did you want to get involved with the foundation?
I was raised by philanthropic parents who donated to, and involved themselves, in the community where they lived, so I easily identified with the philosophy of community foundations. To help grow an organisation that keeps the overall fund in perpetuity meant that I would be part of something that continues to give to our local community long after I cease to be a trustee. The gift that doesn’t stop giving!
QHow can the rest of the community get involved with the foundation?
Please ask a trustee to speak to your group or organisation to enable us to let people know how community foundations contribute so positively to their community. Consider contributing to the foundation financially. Ways people are currently doing this are by donating a small amount every week from their wage or giving a lump sum (and being involved in the decision of how the income is distributed) or leaving the foundation a bequeath in your will.
QWhat are some of the foundation’s successes over recent times?
Building our endowment funds to date means we are now able to distribute over $100,000 back into the Aoraki community each year.
Establishing the Health Endowment fund with the SCDHB means the foundation is able to make distributions to health related causes that puts a focus on the health of our community.
Working with local people to ensure that the causes that matter to them are supported — swimming, the environment and the students of Mackenzie College are three examples.