‘Live Here Give Here’ Hooks Family Dairy Farming Business into Giving Back

  • Andrea Barry (left) with BEL Groups’s inaugural study grant winner, Von Mendoza

Giving back to support local causes through their Community Foundation has been the cream on the top for an enterprising Central Hawke’s Bay dairy farming family.

A named family fund and now a tertiary scholarship through Hawke’s Bay Foundation is helping BEL Group founder Andrea Barry and her family to achieve their charitable giving goals, without the set-up and administrative costs of managing it themselves.

Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s perpetuity based giving model and tagline ‘Live Here Give Here’ really appealed to community-minded Andrea, when setting the fund up several years ago.

“I have been involved in causes in the past that turned out to not be as they seemed, with the money going nowhere close to where it is needed. I still wanted myself and my family to become more philanthropic to a genuine causes and once I heard about the great work of Hawkes Bay Foundation and saw their slogan “Live Here, Give Here” I was hooked.”

Through annual capital donations of $50 thousand per year, the Barry Family Fund has now grown to well over $350 thousand. Unlike other charitable giving, their original gift is protected, with only the income earned used to support the causes they love.

Andrea enjoys the ability of being able to tag her giving to her local and much loved Central Hawke’s Bay.

“Our fund gives 25 percent to Sherwood School as that is the school my three children attended. It is a small country school with all the normal country school challenges but has a big heart and a strong community vibe, so it feels like I’m not just supporting the school but actually the whole community.”

As a progressive dairy farming business that has expanded in scale over thirty years, BEL Group now encompasses: eight dairy farms, five dairy support blocks, 9 nine thousand cows and supports seventy staff and their families.

For founder Andrea Barry, the backbone of business is about investing in people and place.

“People, agriculture and community are all really important values for myself, my family and BEL Group. Our goal for our latest study grant is to assist anyone with a familial association with BEL Group who resides in CHB and has an interest in studying (preferably agriculture). Having Hawke’s Bay Foundation assist with setting up and co-ordinating this has been of great benefit to us.”

Losing her late husband and BEL Group leader Peter in 2009 has motivated Andrea to help others start their own ‘living giving’.

“Originally I wanted to keep our charitable giving on the down-low. Not wanting to raise attention to ourselves and being humble were the main reasons. However along the way I have found that speaking out and communicating what we are doing may help encourage others to start their own fund, however big or small, just get it started.”

When it comes to generational giving, Andrea is keen to instil a philanthropic mindset in her own children; Olivia, Robert and Sam.

“I always think – give them a little and they’ll do something, give them a lot and they’ll do nothing. We also use the phrase “win-win” a lot in our family. Feeling great about giving back without expecting anything in return, that’s got to be a win-win right?!”