Pip Smith is really proud when she talks about her family’s philanthropy, having evolved over many years, and shaped by the experiences of herself, her husband Jimmy and daughters Chelsea and Kady.
Describing themselves as ‘an average family’, Pip says, “We are certainly not wealthy, but we have always made it an important part of our family life to see the struggles of other families and to consider helping where we can.”
Their giving journey started when the girls were small, and they saw a local family who were struggling at Christmas time. “Chelsea and Kady realised that the children, who were a similar age to them, would have no Christmas presents and they came to us with their pocket money, wanting to help. Jimmy and I topped it up and bought some vouchers and a card with the message “with love from Santa” and dropped the gift off anonymously in their letterbox on Christmas Eve.”
“It was so much fun, we’ve been looking for opportunities to give as a family ever since,” says Pip.
Giving together has become an annual tradition for the family, including a variety of small fundraising activities during the year. This culture of giving back has built Totara Fund – an endowment fund managed by Auckland Foundation. The family members each make annual donations into the fund at levels that are comfortable for them and collectively they have, over the years, built it to where it is giving ‘good-sized grants’ back to communities.
“We really like the endowment model, where the money can build up, and we can gift from the income, maintaining the body of the fund. We still meet each year as a family, usually at Christmas, to work out who we are going to give the money to,” says Jimmy.
Pip and Jimmy have also structured their wills, so that a portion of their estate will be donated to the Totara Fund, supercharging its growth for the future.
“Over the years we’ve learned more about how to give and being more strategic with our giving with the guidance of Auckland Foundation and the like-minded families and donors we have connected with. We have enjoyed learning through the process, working out how to give well and how to target our donations. Our bequests help to cement our commitment to giving well.”
“As parents we accept that in time, the girls may develop their own approach that suits their generation and that’s entirely okay with us.”