Foundation almost ready to start work

Otago Community Trust chairman Ross McRobie (left) and Clutha Foundation chairman Bill Thomson. Photo: Bill Thomson/Supplied
Otago Community Trust chairman Ross McRobie (left) and Clutha Foundation chairman Bill Thomson. Photo: Bill Thomson/Supplied
A fledgling community foundation expects to begin disbursing funds earlier than expected.

The Otago Community Trust (OCT) has announced it will grant $250,000 over the next five years to support the development of the Clutha Foundation, which was formed in August last year.

The grant will be paid out in increments of $50,000 per annum, and will serve as ''pass-through'' funding for the foundation, which can be carried forward.

Foundation chairman Bill Thomson said on Monday the committee was ''hugely excited'' to receive the early boost to its activities.

''This will allow us to start making tangible social investments into communities throughout Clutha.

''Thanks to the trust, it will allow us to demonstrate the value we can add to our communities, thereby gaining the confidence of generous local people that their own donations will be put to good use. It's great news for the whole Clutha district.''

Otago Community Trust chairman Ross McRobie said community foundations were acting as a crucial link between local generosity and community needs throughout the country.

''The Clutha Foundation application to OCT provided an opportunity for our trustees to think outside the square.

''We appreciate that many community foundations can make a significant improvement to life in a region.''

He said the grant would enable the foundation to start making donations in Clutha ''significantly earlier'' than originally envisaged.

Mr Thomson said the foundation was working hard to build a strong financial position.

''The foundation will make it easier for people to give back to their local community, bearing the tagline 'live here, give here'. People can give funds through donations, bequests or gifts in their wills. The money is then pooled and invested, with the income being returned to community causes.''

Although it was not yet taking grant applications, he anticipated that would occur soon.

''Our grants committee is finalising its distribution policy at present. When that's in place, we'll be inviting applications for funding, and proactively identifying projects the foundation can initiate or support.''

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