Celebrating generosity in Tairāwhiti-Gisborne

Glenda Stokes
Executive Officer
The Sunrise Foundation
21 November 2019

The Sunrise Foundation just celebrated five years of generosity and giving in Tairāwhiti-Gisborne. To be sitting at $4.5 million in endowments far exceeds any expectations we had when we started and to be one of the fastest growing Community Foundations in New Zealand - and the fastest for its early years - is a testament to the generosity of our small community.

Sunrise has had the backing of Trust Tairawhiti (our energy trust) since inception. They provided half of our operational funding for the first five years, and have committed double that amount for the next five years. I cannot stress enough how the security of operational funding has impacted on the success of Sunrise. We have been able to concentrate on building endowments instead of keeping a roof over our heads.

The funding landscape in Tairāwhiti-Gisborne is changing quickly. We have a sinking lid policy on pokie machines which will see the decrease, and eventual eradication, of gaming trust funding. We have also seen a decrease in COGs funding and a massive shift in distribution strategy for one of our large family trusts.

The considerable decline of funding available from these traditional funding avenues has demonstrated very clearly, and in some cases drastically, to Tairāwhiti-Gisborne’s charities that they can never be sure their traditional funding streams will still be there in the future, let alone right now.

In addition to our General Fund, we have 38 special interest endowment funds, which were set up either by the charities themselves, or as a result of donor requests.

Community organisations and charities are constantly applying for grants up against many other worthy causes for the limited funding available and our fund holders realise this is not sustainable. They are taking control of their own destiny, with us to help them, and are committed to working hard to build their funds to give future custodians a regular source of income they can rely on.

Many of our local charities, small and under resourced, don’t have fundraising strategies and even those that do don’t have specific strategies around bequests. This is an area we specialise in and those with funds at Sunrise see us as an ally and an asset to their fundraising efforts.

The Sunrise General Fund makes up roughly one third of our endowments and it is vitally important that it continues to grow. Many donors recognise that needs in our community will change over time and are committed to helping build the General Fund to ensure it will be in great shape to respond to our communities needs as they change.

We always stress that our donors don’t give to Sunrise, they ‘give through us’ to causes that are important to them. If they wish to, they can choose where the income from their donation is directed through one of our special interest funds. Special interest funds are a fantastic way to engage donors, many people want to give not only locally, but also to causes they care about.

Date Posted: 21 Nov 2019

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