Foundation Fills Fundraising Gaps for Stretched Charities

  • Mates 4 Life team at a Kai & Korero held at Pan Pac

A downturn in the region’s charity fundraising sector has left many local non-profit leaders thankful for the support of Hawke’s Bay Foundation.

The ongoing impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on top of cost-of-living pressures and a business community still in COVID recovery has left Hawke’s Bay’s not-for-profit sector under strain. Rising demands on services and a diminished fundraising capacity from local businesses and volunteers is having a seesaw effect, with many not-for-profit organisations left balancing growing demand against limited funding.

Helping fill the growing gap in fundraising, Hawke’s Bay Foundation has recently helped sustain the operations of 51 local not-for-profit organisations through its annual funding round, totalling over $190,000. Alongside its Cyclone Relief Fund, it takes to well over $3M in funding assistance the region’s local Community Foundation has made over the last 12 months.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation Distributions Chair, Sarah Mulcahy, says many of the applications for funding referred to the mental stress and anxiety still felt by those in the community.

“Organisations are telling us they are experiencing increased challenges in their fundraising activities due again to both the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle and a ‘fatigue’ in charitable giving locally. This highlights why a Community Foundation is so important as a resource in the long-term to support our community sector through both good and more difficult times. As a purpose driven organisation, we feel very happy we can fill this need for Hawke’s Bay.”

Whilst fundraising abilities are being squeezed, demand for not-for-profit services across the region sits at record highs, and continues to climb.

Bellyful Hawke’s Bay supports whānau with young babies and children with free ready-to-eat meals. Its 26 volunteers provided 144 whānau with 992 meals from Napier to Havelock North last year. With 50 referrals in the first quarter of 2023 alone, (312 meals delivered to 50 whānau), they expect growth of at least 25 percent this year.

Spokeswoman Aliesha Gordon is grateful for the grant.

“Across Aotearoa, not just in Hawke’s Bay, we are seeing significant demand surges. Hawke’s Bay Foundation funding means our local volunteers can concentrate on delivering front line services for whānau who desperately need us.”

Foundation funding has also seen suicide awareness and prevention programme Mates4Life bolstered with $3,000 to cover rent costs for an expanded office space.

Programme Coordinator Bronnie Coory says every donation helps deliver their kaupapa to workplaces throughout Hawke’s Bay.

“Our main concern is that the effect of the cyclone is long-term – years not months. We need to ensure that the support for those affected are sustainable and are there to support those in need for the long-term. There also needs to be good support for those helping. We are seeing a lot of “helper” fatigue.”

Since April this year, Mates4Life has delivered Kai & Kōrero to over 2000 people in businesses and communities affected by the cyclone.

“We need to encourage those that are struggling to talk, to reach out and ask for help. But this can be very hard for a lot of people, so we encourage others to reach in, to check in, to ask “are you ok” and if you are worried about someone don’t just take “I’m fine” for an answer. Let the person who is struggling talk, to tell their story and for those that are there to help, to just listen.”

Kaupapa Māori-based social development provider Ko Wai Tōu Ingoa Hauora offers mobile support to those in need from Wairoa to Takapau. In 2022 they supported 2476 people across the region; mainly youth, families and the elderly.

Chief Executive, Stacy Apiata says they’ve seen an increase in need for psychosocial support.

“Family harm has increased, the community has experienced suicide loss and families need support through this. Our grant from Hawke’s Bay Foundation will assist our Whānau Friday Community Dinner which serves to bring people together and provide a critical network for those experiencing poverty, harm and/or suicide.

“We’re extremely grateful for Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s funding. It’s helping organisations like ourselves to help combat community harm and as we’re seeing, that’s more important now than ever before.”

For a full list of Hawke’s Bay Foundation 2023 funding round recipients, head to: