Dame Cindy applauds work of Community Foundations
1 May, 2023

Community Foundations work so well because of the community-based aspect of their model, Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor General of New Zealand told a recent gathering at Government House.
“Your advisors are part of your respective communities; you understand the particular challenges your communities face, and know where funding should be directed to achieve the greatest possible good,” the Governor General said in her speech 'Celebrating Community Philanthropy'.

The occasion, attended by representatives of Community Foundations from throughout the country, including the Top of the South Community Foundation, was a special event hosted by Dame Cindy on March 2.

Chair of TotSCF Dave Ashcroft, trustee Bill Agnew and CE Gavin Larsen attended and were joined by Ruby Bay donors Alan and Moya Terris.

“It was a real pleasure to join the rest of the CF network at the Governor General’s function, especially given that Dame Cindy is Patron of Community Foundations,” says Gavin.

“The event was a wonderful opportunity to connect with so many like-minded people, and to celebrate both our CF progress across Aotearoa, and the contribution philanthropy makes to our communities.

 “A lot of work went in to organising the event, and we owe a huge acknowledgement to Community Foundations of New Zealand Executive Director Arron Perriam, and Membership Director Eleanor Cater, for helping deliver such an excellent event.”

During her speech Dame Cindy acknowledged the  work Community Foundations had done through emergency response funds, in response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Your core ethos of ‘effective funding’ has meant that those countless New Zealanders – seeing the devastation of the cyclone and wishing to help – have been able to donate in a way that can be of greatest service, both in the short-term response, and the long-term recovery.

“In the face of such tragedy and loss, New Zealanders’ huge outpouring of solidarity and support is a heartening reminder of the essentially good and charitable spirit that underpins our society. This is something we can all be very proud of.”

Amy Bowkett, Executive Officer of the Hawkes Bay Foundation, and her husband Richard who lost their home in Cyclone Gabrielle, attended the evening, and received special acknowledgement from Dame Cindy.

“Our thoughts are with you and your community at this extraordinarily difficult time. It is a testament to your own commitment to the work of the Hawkes Bay Foundation that you are with us here this evening.”

The Governor General also commented on an article by Eleanor Cater in the magazine ‘LawTalk’.

“In it, you made the point that there seems to be something in the New Zealand psyche that means we tend to avoid conversations about money, death, and philanthropy. You also quoted the research that said the main reason people don’t leave a bequest to charity in their will is because they didn’t know it was an option.

“Through the work of Community Foundations, you are helping more and more New Zealanders become aware of the possibility of giving – both in their own lifetimes and beyond. Not only that, but through your own carefully managed pooled funds, you help to increase the reach of those New Zealanders’ generosity – helping it to endure for generations.”

The story of Peter and Nellie McNab who also attended the event, moved Dame Cindy.

“I understand that, following the death of your son Baden, you decided that a fund in Baden’s honour, giving back to those things he loved, would be a fitting legacy for his life: one that would have an enduring and positive impact on the Clutha community. I wish to commend you both for your great courage and generosity – and I know there are others with similarly remarkable stories here this evening.”

The Governor General gave sincere thanks to the Community Foundations for all that they do to support philanthropy in New Zealand – through both helping people to donate as best they can, and helping those in communities who need it most.

“St Francis of Assisi said: ‘Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given’: words that seem to me to underpin the work and ethos of Community Foundations,” Dame Cindy said.

“Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.”

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