I’ve not heard of Community Foundations – are they new?

Absolutely not.  All around the world, Community Foundations are providing a powerful and effective way to build better communities. Some of the most successful include the Vancouver Foundation which, from a humble $10,000 gift in 1943, has now grown to over $1 billion. Other shining examples are the Hong Kong Community Chest and the New York Foundation.

Are there other Community Foundations in NZ?

Yes, there are 16 Community Foundations all around the country from Northland to Timaru.  Many have been operating for several years and operate substantial funds with significant annual distributions.  Click here for details.

What is their common purpose?

Community Foundations are all about working together to make a lasting difference in local communities by:

  • Providing a vehicle for people to leave a gift to their community.
  • Pooling funds and investing them in perpetuity.  Interest from the funds supports the local community organisations and projects every year, forever.
  • Enabling generous people to choose who is to benefit from their fund’s annual distributions.
  • Having voluntary Trustees who are committed to ensuring a strong and caring Foundation that supports the community.
  • Supporting a range of causes and community interests, such as community connectedness, social development, health, children and youth issues, older adults, arts and culture and the natural environment.

Who is a typical Foundation supporter?

Our supporters come from all walks of life, but share a common desire to make an immediate and permanent difference in their own community. Some gift a lot, some just a little – whatever is right for you.

You may be an individual or family who want to share the benefits of a fortunate life, or a corporate entity committed to supporting the community where you do business and your employees live.

Who benefits?

Hawke’s Bay Foundation supports a number of organisations with a diverse range of causes and community interests, including community connectedness, social development, health, children and youth issues, older adults, arts and culture and the natural environment.

Why would I not leave all my wealth to my children?

We believe children would quite easily accept a small portion going to their community especially if they themselves have benefitted from a good Hawke’s Bay start and knowing that the community will be a better place as a result of their parents’ generosity. This is something they will be reminded of every year with Hawke’s Bay Foundation keeping in contact to show the difference it has made – what a lovely way to be reminded of a loved one!

You can choose to leave a set figure or a percentage of your estate, capped to a ceiling value if you wish. The percentage rate is a popular option as it will always be relative to the remainder of your estate that your family will inherit.

How do I go about leaving a gift in my will?

Your lawyer can help you with this and we do recommend that you seek professional advice. Hawke’s Bay Foundation has prepared a document with sample clauses for your will which your lawyer can use as a guide and can be easily tailored to suit your specific wishes. This can be downloaded from our website. Funds over $25,000 become a Named Fund – these can be grown over time by starting small and adding to along the way.

I do not have funds to make a gift now, so what are my options?

Giving is all about your personal situation.  You can choose to:

  • Make a bequest in your will for a specified amount.
  • Leave a percentage of your estate in your will.
  • Give during your lifetime – you can decide to make small or large gifts over time.

Why aren’t all donated funds distributed immediately?

For long-term strength, it is important to preserve and continue to grow a capital fund in order to generate ongoing income.

Can I direct my giving?

Any gifts or bequests of $25,000 or more can become a ‘Named’ Fund and can be either partially or entirely tagged to the causes you personally wish to support.

How is the money allocated?

Some donors of ‘Named’ Funds specify the charities and causes they want their money to support.  Based on applications for support to the Foundation by local organisations, all untagged funds are directed by the Trustees to where they are most needed.  This is determined by gauging the vital signs of the community and working with many groups to assess levels of need.

Why would I give via Hawke’s Bay Foundation instead of giving directly to a charity?

Direct donations are most often spent immediately. A gift via Hawke’s Bay Foundation goes on giving forever – e.g. you may be a Hospice supporter and by selecting them as a charity of choice, your generous gift continues giving to them, rather than just being a one off.
Hawke’s Bay Foundation will be in contact with you or your family annually to report on your giving. You can choose to remain anonymous or recipients can receive a Donor Profile reminding them of where a donation originated.

How do I know what amount to leave when I don’t know how long I will live and what will be left?

You don’t have to be specific. You can consider leaving a percentage of your estate, perhaps with a ceiling limit attached to it.

I have a Trust, so what benefit would there be in giving via Hawke’s Bay Foundation?

Using Hawke’s Bay Foundation for your charitable giving minimises the burden of the management of your Trust. There are also obvious economies of scale, which lead to savings in administration and fees, meaning more money for your intended recipients.

Can I contribute in a limited way during my lifetime?

You may choose to give just a little every year, working towards a ‘Named’ fund either during your lifetime or beyond. In the meantime, what you have gifted will earn interest and make a difference through annual distributions.

How can I be assured that my donation will be well taken care of beyond the current elected Board of Trustees?

The Trust Deed stipulates that the on-going governance of Hawke’s Bay Foundation is subject to strict criteria. Four of the eight Trustees are appointed jointly by the region’s Mayors, Hawke’s Bay Law Society, NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants (HB) & Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce, and the remaining four by these appointees.

All funds are invested by the Hawke’s Bay branch of a reputable national investment company, which must adhere to an investment policy written by a well-respected independent advisor, who also oversees the investments. Click here for our latest Investment Policies, Financial Statements and Annual Reports.

I’d like to support a few national charities as well as the Foundation – can I do this?

Our primary reason for being is to support local charitable giving and we hope this will be the main focus for our supporters, however it is possible to include national charities amongst your supported causes. This means that you can use your Hawke’s Bay Foundation fund to manage all of your giving, thereby minimising expense, administration and complication.

Please talk to us about your personal charitable wishes and we will work with you to create a structure that achieves all of your goals in one simple fund.

Photo Credit: Michael Mulcahy