The Clutha Foundation, to be grown by the generosity of locals, is launching on August 17th in Balclutha, with Sir William English as its Patron.

The new Community Foundation will be one of 17 around New Zealand which is being grown by the power of local generosity. People can give to the Foundation and their money is pooled and invested with the income being returned to community causes.

The most significant gifts to Community Foundations are often through bequests, or gifts in Wills.

Community Foundations, supported by The Tindall Foundation, have been growing in New Zealand for the past 15 years and are becoming transformational in local communities. As examples, Acorn Foundation in Tauranga today has a Fund in excess of $23m and anticipated bequests of $160m, all for the future benefit of the community of the western Bay of Plenty.  Advance Ashburton Community Foundation has a current Fund of $10m and anticipated bequests of over $30m, once again all for the future benefit of the smaller local Ashburton community.

The Clutha District hopes to emulate the success Community Foundations are seeing in other parts of the country and build a local fund that will see the community taking charge of its own needs.

Chair of the national organisation Community Foundations of New Zealand, Stacey Scott, says that these local funds are really transforming communities. “We are not surprised that we are seeing they are such a success story in New Zealand. Kiwis love their local communities and our country fosters a culture of giving; giving back to communities is a really fulfilling. New Zealanders are very generous, they want to make a difference and leave a legacy for the future. It’s empowering for many to discover an easy way to do this, for the long term, is through their local Community Foundation.”

Stacey adds that Community Foundations are not just for the wealthy. “We have a lot of every day Kiwis who want to give to their community, either in life or through their estate when they leave this world. It’s amazing to see that so many people simply gaining such joy from giving.”

Inaugural chair Bill Thomson says that the drive to establish such an organisation was the identified lack of opportunities for generous people to be able to donate directly back to the Clutha District communities. “I like the expression ‘live here, give here’ as a succinct way of summing up our purpose. There is an inherent willingness in people to be philanthropic, especially in a local sense, and this Foundation makes it easier to do that”.

“People in the Clutha District love their local communities and we want to be proactive in backing projects that can really make a difference,” says Thomson.

Former Prime Minister and the long-serving Clutha-Southland MP Sir William English is the Foundation’s Patron.  He said he can see the long-term potential of such an initiative.

“It’s been a trend in New Zealand for a long time that increasingly communities need to take charge of their own needs. I think this is a step in the right direction and the success in other parts of the country proves that this concept works. We have the right people driving this for the Clutha District and the potential is very encouraging.”

The inaugural trustees of the Foundation are Bill Thomson (chair), Hamish Anderson (deputy chair), Mayor Bryan Cadogan, Noel O’Malley, Steve Kornyei, Susie Johnstone, Kelli Divers, Kerry Seymour and Fiona Hancox.