Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

  • Anya and Ruurd Van Etten

Leaving a gift in their will to Hawke’s Bay Foundation is enabling a Dutch couple who now call Hawke’s Bay ‘home’, to give back to their adopted community in more ways than one. Since relocating here from the Netherlands six years ago, Anya and Ruurd Van Etten wanted to repay the warmth and support the region has extended them.  The couple have chosen to leave a gift in their will through community giving vehicle Hawke’s Bay Foundation to support the organisations and causes they care about, in perpetuity.

“I like the idea of us leaving a gift to Hawke’s Bay Foundation in our will and using our money for good because we believe money should always be a tool to do better in the world.  Ruurd and I like the concept of Hawke’s Bay Foundation using our gift to generate not just one-off but continued support for local organisations.  It’s not like other charitable giving where once your money is spent it’s gone, the Foundation grows your gift into an ongoing income stream. It’s a very good business model in terms of continuity.

“We are also impressed by the diversity of the Foundation’s beneficiaries.  These focus areas are important because they are the core of the community, therefore we feel confident our gift will always assist a project we would fully support.”

Born in New Zealand but growing up in Europe to Dutch parents,  Anya had always heard stories about the beauty of New Zealand and the kindness of its people.  She says the reality of living here has opened her eyes.

“We had no idea there was another side to New Zealand, where people are struggling and feeling isolated, growing up without healthy meals, even without a home.

“I think we have, as a community, an obligation to care and to support, because that’s what people are supposed to do, take care of each other.”

Through their giving with Hawke’s Bay Foundation, Anya and Ruurd have set up a $365 a year giving model, that they both save into and gift the Foundation’s Community Impact Fund.  Anya recalls it was something her mother taught her and her sister to do when they were growing up, saying “it’s not much, but imagine if everyone did this.”

As well as their ‘living giving’ Anya and Ruurd have also left a gift in their memorandum of wishes to Hawke’s Bay Foundation to steward their support into areas that hold special meaning to them, after they’ve gone. Improving children’s quality of life and charities that promote positive health outcomes hold key priority for the couple.

Anya and Ruurd don’t want any special recognition for their giving and say they’re just ‘everyday people trying to bring a bit more joy to the world.’

“We are very grateful and happy to be in Hawke’s Bay, we consider ourselves very lucky.  We’ve met wonderful people and everyone has been so welcoming, so a gift to Hawke’s Bay Foundation is also a ‘thank you’ to the Hawke’s Bay community.

“None of us like thinking about the end of our lives, but I felt it was such a positive thing to do to improve someone’s  life, to contribute to people’s wellbeing.  Isn’t that amazing to have the power to do that?

“My advice to others is that if you’re in a position to give through your will, talk to your solicitor.  It’s very easy and so many people will benefit.”

September is Wills Month and gifts left through Hawke’s Bay Foundation grow into an ongoing source of funding, to support the causes you love, forever.