Owen Greig has dairy farming in his blood. He grew up on a farm in the Horowhenua and has now farmed his own land, in the picturesque region of Himatangi, for over 30 years.
Owen believes many people remain attached to the region where we grow up, and most of us have a desire to eventually give back. When he heard about the plans to grow a regional community foundation, “to build a new community asset”, he was immediately interested in the wider potential.
“Fundraising for causes is getting harder and there’s a lot of energy put into raising money. Many people don’t know alternatives, or how to set things up in a better way”.
He sees that a local community foundation will fill a gap on many fronts. “It’s community-based and, if it is well set up and well-networked, it should be able to address local needs. I’m all for helping the region develop a fund that is working to address community need, and the great thing is it can grow from everyone doing their bit.”
Owen was happy to become involved as a Board member with Te Awa Community Foundation when it was launched in 2018, becoming the newest community foundation in New Zealand, alongside 16 others. “I see a lot of people giving later in life with charity donations and with their time in Rotary or Lions, the local community foundation has the potential to help to strengthen the work of charities and the work of both Rotary and Lions. It’s totally complementary to what’s already going on out there and will grow funding streams for the region.”
“For me, I see that there are plenty of people out there who are able to, and who want to, give back. They just don’t always know the best way to go about it. The beauty of community foundations is that they make giving easy and look to address community need, so you know your money is going where it’s going to make the biggest difference. I really like that model.”
Owen says that some farms are struggling with plans for succession and also to know what to do with their assets in the future. He says that the community foundation can solve those issues. “People can leave a gift in their will that is specific to the needs they want to support, in perpetuity. The local community foundation will take care of it. It’s a great model and enables everyone to think how they might be able to be involved, whether with a gift in their will or while they are alive, helping to build something meaningful for the region.”
“If everyone thinks how they will put their shoulder to the wheel, whether by giving time, some money or assets, we can build something together really amazing for our region.”