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3 Dec 2023

Closing out its fifth year, the Community Foundation has a very big goal for the next thirty.

The Wakatipu Community Foundation has marked its five-year journey by unveiling an ambitious plan to establish a $1 billion fund by 2055, and in doing so leaving an indelible mark on the Whakatipu community.

This strategic initiative aims to tap into an estimated $1.15 trillion wealth transfer between generations in New Zealand over the next three decades, with the Wakatipu Community Foundation positioning itself to harness a share of this wealth through wills-based legacy funds and encouraging contributions from local donors in the community.

Attaining this goal holds the promise of injecting $35million annually into the local community, significantly impacting charities' ability to address pressing needs. The funds will support local causes, contribute to educational initiatives, fuel capital projects, environment and heritage projects, and enhance investments in arts and culture.

While this might seem like an impossible dream, recent developments, such as the bequest of $400 million to the Nikau Foundation, the Wellington-based counterpart to the Wakatipu Community Foundation, demonstrate that this is an achievable goal.

Jennifer Belmont, CEO of the Wakatipu Community Foundation, expresses unwavering confidence in the organisation's ability to meet this challenge. "As the fastest-growing community foundation in New Zealand, boasting $37 million in pledged funds, we believe this goal is not only attainable, but imperative to meet community challenges. The generosity that permeates this beautiful place, the Wakatipu, inspires us daily."

The Wakatipu Community Foundation envisions the $1 billion fund will act as a catalyst for positive change within the community, delivering grants, scholarships, and donations across various sectors, including education, sports, arts, environment, heritage, health, community welfare, and infrastructure.

Ray Key, Founding Chair and a passionate advocate for the foundation, underscores the significance of legacy donations. "Contributing to the foundation is an investment in the future. The actual donation remains untouched, and the income generated from the fund is channelled back into the community each year forever."

"We may not foresee the community's needs in 20-30 years, but a community foundation's role is to understand and respond to these evolving needs. Including a provision in your will to donate funds to the community foundation empowers them to address the future needs of Whakatipu."

He is incredibly proud of the progress made over these years, from a startup to an established and well-run organisation. “We have worked hard to build trust in the community, and to create the essential infrastructure to evolve into a billion-dollar fund.”

Jennifer Belmont adds an extra incentive to potential donors, saying that there is research that suggests individuals who engage in philanthropy tend to live longer, emphasizing the health benefits of giving.

The Wakatipu Community Foundation invites the community to join them in realizing this ambitious vision, creating a lasting impact for generations to come.

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