The New Zealand Bishops Conference is The Tindall Foundation Faith Funding Manager for the Catholic Church. We bulk fund the Bishops Conference to distribute money nationally on our behalf to six diocese across the country. This year we celebrate 20 years of working together.
The Catholic Caring Foundation is one of the six and it distributes funds throughout the Auckland Dioceses to those who need it the most. Here we chat to the Foundation’s General Manager, Darrrgh O’Riordan, about her role and Funding Manager relationship.
Q: Briefly describe your organisation and what you do.
The Catholic Caring Foundation is owned by Bishop Patrick Dunn and funds services that care for families and individuals who are living a harsh existence at the front end of poverty. Helping vulnerable older people, migrants and refugees, young mothers and children, at risk youth, the homeless and the hungry has been our core focus since our mandate was written in 1988.
Q: The NZ Bishops Conference has been working in the role as Tindall Foundation funding manager for 20 years. What does this long standing relationship mean to your organisation?
I can’t begin to put into words how relevant and important this relationship is to us. The Tindall Foundation is our primary funder but it’s not just about the gift of money. The support and good will, the humour and inspiration that the Tindall Foundation has offered the Caring Foundation over the years is very hard to qualify. Together we have witnessed successes such as the Helensville Foodbank who no longer require funding as the families they originally assisted are now assisting the foodbank with donations. And while this may seem small this is a big win to us and to the Helensville community and an outcome of the long term partnership of The Tindall Foundation and the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference.
Q: What is involved in your role of Tindall Foundation Funding Manager?
I travel extensively and frequently into areas of high need. By bringing local agencies together, I get to witness agencies working collaboratively and finding locally owned solutions to their community issues. Reporting back to the Tindall Foundation on this work as a result of their investment in this transformative work is very rewarding.
Q: How do you work with the Tindall Foundation and the wider community in this role?
Both the Tindall Foundation and the Caring Foundation believe in listening to community needs and assisting community in a local and grass roots context. With our extensive community outreach of priests, volunteers and community groups we are able to identify and quickly react to emerging needs at a local level.
Q: How would you describe your organisations relationship with The Tindall Foundation?
Aristotle said that, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Every day I am grateful thanks to the support of The Tindall Foundation. Our values are very closely aligned and our care for the communities we care for is shared not just by us but by all the agencies the Tindall Foundation generously funds in New Zealand. Together we live Aristotle’s premise.
Q: Approximately, how many organisations would you support a year using The Tindall Foundation funds?
Approximately seventy organisations a year are positively impacted by the support we receive from the Tindall Foundation.
Q: How much money approximately does this equate to each year?
Approximately $700,000 each year is distributed to community groups made up of our own funds and some Tindall Foundation Fund .
Q: In your role you must work with communities, services, churches, charities and philanthropic organisations, what do you enjoy most about working in this sector?
I love working with Bishop Pat who is kind and a great leader. My Board, made up of volunteers, is also incredibly supportive. I love the crossover this role brings me as I get to meet and work with other philanthropic trusts and other faith leaders and often I find myself in meetings with alternative thinkers….. incredibly inspiring.
Q: You are in a job where giving back to the community is central to what you do, what do you get out of the job personally?
I was brought up in relative simplicity. My mum was hugely compassionate and very giving to those in need. No matter how little we had she would always think of those who had less. Mum was also a devout Catholic. My role brings me closer to her values and to what I now teach and practise with my children. Yesterday I received a thank you note from a young man who had been assisted directly by the Foundation. He had dropped out of his final year of university study due to debt and was actively seeking work. He was also supporting three children and three other adults in his household. His debt was spiralling into unmanageable territory and would have gone on to affect his family, their home and their lives collectively. The Foundation was in a position to help him and he was so full of gratitude and joy. This is one of the reasons I do the job I do and why I will continue to work with people who give so much of their lives to community.