Executive Officer/CFNZ Trustee
Advance Ashburton Community Foundation
23 January 2020
We are exceptionally fortunate to live where we do. With 17 Community Foundations across Aotearoa NZ most people in our country have the ability to give back to their community in a strategic way that will support the causes they are most passionate about, forever.
Our district’s Community Foundation is Advance Ashburton. We are one of the largest and the second oldest Community Foundation in New Zealand, established in 2003 by the insightful Neil Sinclair. And we can’t thank Neil enough, a man who had the foresight, drive and tenacity to bring this concept to our district.
Community Foundations are the fastest growing form of philanthropy in the world today, the concept emerging in the US over 100 years ago, with the establishment in 1914 of the first Community Foundation in Cleveland by Frederick Harris Goff.
Frederick Goff was one of Cleveland’s most prominent and beloved citizens of his time. He was also a national intellectual treasure but, sadly, his name is not well known among the people of the 21st-century. This lack of recognition is unfortunate because Goff, like his better-known contemporaries Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, changed the face of philanthropy forever.
Goff came up with what is a unique and effective way of giving. It’s devilishly clever and yet simple: every donation, no matter the size, is invested with the income earnt being gifted to the community to local causes and organisations, ensuring the community will receive the continued benefits for many, many generations to come.
Neil Sinclair and his family were one of the first donors to Advance Ashburton. Their donation was gifted for the purpose of making a difference to children’s literacy and the team at Advance Ashburton set forth to seek how best they can honor these wishes.
Through research and networking it was identified that there was a need to help children in our district aged between 7-9, those who were just underachieving. Further investigating, researching and networking was undertaken to find out what could be done to fill this need. With the guidance of the Ashburton Learning Centre, the Boost literacy programme was born and piloted in 3 of our local schools.
If we fast forward to today the Boost literacy programme is now in its 6th year, and with additional donors on board the programme is catering to 175 children in 19 local schools and being delivered by 45 volunteer tutors.
The programme has been shown to be making a difference with children gaining up to two years advancement with their literacy in just one year of attendance. But best of all, we’re hearing how much confidence these children are gaining.
Neil Sinclair and the Boost Literacy Programme is just one example of how Advance Ashburton is matching generous people with the causes they are most passionate about, a concept which is at the heart of what we do.
To all our donors all around Aotearoa NZ we can’t thank you enough for your foresight and for allowing us the privilege of helping create and maintain your legacy for the community.
And if you’re not a donor yet perhaps you can take a moment to consider what causes you are most passionate about? How would you feel knowing that your support could last for many generations to come? You could be the next Frederick Goff or Neil Sinclair in your community and leave a lasting legacy for the world.
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