Communities are stronger when they are working together

Q & A with Geyser Community Foundation Executive Officer, Annette Burgess

The Geyser Community Foundation is an independent, local, not-for-profit charitable trust whose main role is to encourage charitable giving in the Rotorua and Taupo district communities. Its mission is to connect people with charitable causes through giving that lasts forever.

in this Q & A we hear from Annette Burgess about Geyser Community Foundation’s work as a Tindall Foundation funding manager and why she loves working with people in this sector.


  1. Briefly describe your organisation and what you do.


I am proud to be the Executive Officer of the Geyser Community Foundation, one of 16 community foundations established in New Zealand today.  Community Foundations are the fastest growing form of charitable giving in the world today.  We connect generous local people who are with local causes that matter.  People can give while they are living or in their wills – many do both.  Their generosity will support our local communities now and for generations to come.  I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Foundation.


  1. How long has Geyser Foundation been a Tindall Foundation funding manager for your region?


Geyser was delighted to be appointed Funding Manager for the Rotorua and Taupo district communities in 2013.


  1. What does our long standing relationship/partnership mean to your organisation?


We have enjoyed a close relationship with The Tindall Foundation for more than 10 years when it helped establish Geyser as a Community Foundation.  The Tindall Foundation has continued to support the Geyser Foundation in a variety of ways since that time.  Being able to make gifts on behalf of The Tindall Foundation to worthy groups and causes in the Rotorua and Taupo district communities helped us build our brand and get our message out into our local communities before we had funds to distribute on behalf of our generous donors.  The Tindall Foundation gave us credibility and helps us continue to build positive relationships with our key stakeholders including professional advisers, donors, community groups and the public at large – all vital to the success of all Community Foundations.


  1. What is involved in your role of Tindall Foundation Funding Manager?


In March each year, Geyser calls for funding applications in the The Tindall Foundation Programme Area of Supporting Families and Social Services.  This is a two-stage process.  Once complete, Geyser’s Distribution Advisory Committee (DAC) made up of representatives from our local communities who all volunteer their expertise and time, meet to decide which community organisations will receive gifts from Geyser on behalf of The Tindall Foundation.


  1. How do you work with The Tindall Foundation and the wider community in this role?


Promoting the availability of The Tindall Foundation funding in the Rotorua and Taupo district communities has enabled us to find out where support is most needed.  This has proven to be a very worthwhile strategy, particularly now that we are providing support to a growing number of recipients.  Together with our friends at the Acorn Foundation (Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty) and the Eastern Bay Community Foundation and other supporters, we have just completed in the Bay of Plenty what is believed to be the first-ever Vital Signs region-wide research project, which is very exciting.  This has given us a snapshot of the health of our entire region across 14 key sectors and will help us prioritise those sectors most in need.


  1. How would you describe your organisation’s relationship with The Tindall Foundation?


Enjoyable, positive and enduring.


  1. Approximately, now many organisations would you support a year using Tindall Foundation funds?


Between 8 – 12.


  1. How much money approximately does this equate to each year?


Around $45K.


  1. What is the maximum amount you would give to an organisation from this fund?


$6,000 – $6,500.


  1. In your role you must work with communities, services, charities and philanthropic organisations, what do you enjoy about working in this sector?


The people in this sector are likely to be the most generous, positive, hard-working, thoughtful and genuine people you could hope to meet.  I am constantly amazed by their generosity and good humour.  It makes my job so much more enjoyable.


  1. 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?


Wow, where do I start!  It is a privilege to work with a growing number of generous people in our local communities.  Our Family of Donors are truly inspirational. The majority are ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things.  Community Foundations are vehicles for giving.  We provide the opportunities.  It is our donors, and supporters including trustees, ambassadors and members of Geyser’s various committees who all generously volunteer their time, who bring the Community Foundation concept to life.  The common thread is that all want to improve our local communities – now and for the generations to come.


  1. Is there anything else you would like to say?


Communities are stronger when they are working together.   It is a pleasure to work with our friends at The Tindall Foundation and in the growing number of Community Foundations across the country.