The Te Awa Community Foundation, to be grown by the generosity of locals from throughout the Horizons Region (encompassing Palmerston North, Manawatu, Rangitikei, Tararua, Horowhenua, Whanganui and Ruapehu), is launching on 3 April, with the support of Sir Stephen Tindall and The Tindall Foundation.

New Zealand’s newest Community Foundation will be one of 17 around New Zealand which will grow through 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 of their choice or through a grant making programme that will keep tuned to the changing needs of local communities for generations to come.

Community Foundations have been growing in New Zealand for the past 15 years and are becoming transformational in local communities. As an example, the Acorn Foundation in Tauranga today has a fund in excess of $27 million and anticipated bequests of $240 million, all for the future benefit of the community of the western Bay of Plenty.

Te Awa Community Foundation hopes to emulate the success Community Foundations are seeing in other parts of the country and, through local generosity, 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. “Kiwis love giving to their local communities and our country fosters a culture of giving; giving back to communities is a personally rewarding experience. 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, through their local Community Foundation.”

Stacey adds that Community Foundations are not just for the wealthy. “We have a lot of everyday 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 so many people simply gaining such joy from giving collectively.”

Te Awa Community Foundation inaugural Chair, Clive Pedley, agrees. He says that having observed the success other Community Foundations in New Zealand they can see the Horizons region really embracing this idea. “We know and see that people in this region really love their local communities and want a way to give back. The Te Awa Community Foundation will enable them to do this. It’s going to be a very powerful force for good and we are encouraged by the early response we have received.”

The inaugural Te Awa Board has come together with a view to develop and build an organisation that will support and positively impact communities from throughout the region.  Trusteeships are voluntary, which is a cornerstone feature of Community Foundations. They will be supported, in due course, by local committees and key advisory boards to ensure a genuine whole of region approach.  Chair Clive Pedley adds, “We will run a very lean and transparent model so local people have the confidence to give, they can be sure that their hard-earned money will go where it is needed most in their own community.”

The Foundation will also have voluntary committees for investments and granting, drawing on the expertise and experience from other Community Foundations and from the national organisation for guidance and best practice.

Sir Stephen Tindall, a long-term supporter of the Community Foundations and their growth in New Zealand, is very positive about the future for Te Awa Community Foundation and the district. “Community Foundations enable people to give back to their own community and support local projects. It is a great way for anyone who wants to make a positive change in their community’s future to get involved and show their generosity. I have seen the success of other Community Foundations across New Zealand and I have no doubt that Te Awa will be just as successful.”