Spark Foundation has contributed $6.39 million to communities and charitable causes around the country. The donations have been enabled by Spark people and Spark Foundation, the charitable trust funded by Spark New Zealand.
This month the Spark Foundation marks its 5th anniversary, celebrating a half decade of generosity to New Zealand communities and charitable causes. Since 2011, Spark New Zealand people have participated in two staff programmes administered by the Foundation to make an impact. Of the $6.39 million in contributions, $4 million were donations through Spark’s Payroll Giving programme and $2.39 million is the equivalent staff time gifted through Spark’s paid volunteer day programme.
Lynne Le Gros, General Manager of the Spark Foundation, says the contributions show people’s willingness to help their local communities and the efficacy of the employer-supported programmes like Payroll Giving and volunteering. “It’s the truly useful things, like funds and manpower, that make a real difference and engage our people in their local communities,” she says.
“As a corporate charity, Spark Foundation is linked to the DNA of Spark New Zealand of transformation and unleashing the potential of New Zealanders. The power employers can have in showing support to their people for their community and social outcomes can’t be underestimated.
At the core of Spark Foundation’s values is choice and the programmes are intended to encourage generosity of Spark people in support of their chosen charity, school or community group. Spark New Zealand people have the ability to donate to more than 26,000 registered New Zealand charities. This year’s anniversary coincides with the Payroll Giving programme’s $4 million milestone, which was achieved in July.
Spark people are also encouraged to design their own volunteer activity and even donate specialised skills such as photography, tech support and finance. Over the past half decade, Spark people have gifted 7,971 paid volunteer days. The volunteering uptake for the financial year of 2016 was 28%. “Our people want to make a difference in their community but are often time-poor. When they hear Spark offers a paid day’s leave to volunteer, they’re quick to put their hand up at the opportunity to help others,” says Le Gros.
“Being active in our communities is the right thing to do as a good corporate citizen. The contributions of our people shape the culture of our company and make a difference in New Zealand for the long term.”
Spark Foundation’s 5th anniversary in numbers:
- Spark people have used Payroll Giving to enable $4 million, comprised of employee donations and matching by Spark, to be donated to community causes.
- Spark people have gifted 7,971 paid volunteer days, totaling more than $2.39 million of staff time.
- Spark Foundation has invested almost $2.8 million to support the Manaiakalani programme to transform learning and education in low decile communities. 11,000 students are participating in the programme.
- New Zealanders have raised more than $50 million through Givealittle, New Zealand’s most popular crowdfunding platform owned by Spark Foundation
Notes to the editor:
Spark Foundation operates a universal Payroll Giving programme with donations being made to 881 donee organisations (charities and schools) in this time. The $4 million contribution is made up of staff donations and a matching component made by the Spark Foundation. Every year the Spark Foundation matches staff donations dollar-for-dollar on the first $500 to any of New Zealand’s 26,000 schools or charities registered with the Inland Revenue Department.