Resettling local Charitable Trusts

Resettling local Charitable Trusts

It's getting harder to be a trustee in New Zealand. Risks are increasing, compliance costs and obligations are increasing, and trustees are becoming increasingly accountable.

In this changing landscape Community Foundations across NZ have resettled over $50m in Trust funds, with discussions ongoing in communities around future resettlements.

For existing Charitable Trusts (or for anyone considering establishing one) the local Community Foundation can offer easier options for management around compliance, investments, effective grant making and more. They have the existing governance, audit and management structures already in place and can pool community funds, meaning economies of scale and maximising returns to communities.

Increasing issues for local Trusts include:

  • It can be difficult to identify beneficiaries
  • It can be difficult to allocate the income of the Trust
  • It's getting increasingly difficult to attract Trustees
  • Retaining oversight of how the money is distributed
  • Increasing legal responsibilities of being a Trustee
  • The work of administering the Trust and its investments is becoming too onerous or disproportionate to the level of funding
  • A lack of in-depth knowledge of local issues and opportunities
  • A lack of understanding of what other funders are doing

Community Foundations can provide an easy solution; the means to run a Charitable Trust, without the significant workload, while the Trust's original purpose can continue on. They provide the opportunity to set up a structure for existing local Trust funds that will endure on in perpetuity.

Further, Community Foundations can add significant value, offering community knowledge and insight and helping Trust distributions get to where they are needed most in communities.

One recent example of a Trust resettlement is The Friends of New Plymouth Opera House, whose assets have been resettled with Taranaki Foundation - "The income from the Fund will continue to be distributed according to our wishes for perpetuity, which is most important to us. It is comforting for us to know the Fund will continue to be well-managed and get a better return, which means more support for the community...”- read this story here.

Read our recent article with the NZ Law Society - 'A new way forward for local Trusts'

“The Trustees of Trust Porirua identified that we needed to instigate change, to ensure maximum funding to our community. Today, the $5.5m of historic assets of Trust Porirua, resettled with Nikau Foundation, now return annually over 3 times as much funding to the community of Porirua. And, crucially, local people still retain oversight as to where the funding goes. Resettlement with Nikau Foundation has taken away the burden of managing the Trust and has ensured the safeguarding of our community’s assets for the future.”

Izzy awards 2 Izzy Ford, Porirua City Councillor and former Trustee of Trust Porirua