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BayTrust Increases Its Community Grants By 50%

19 August 2016

BayTrust Increases Its Community Grants By 50%

Recipients of inaugural Strategic Funding Round grants also confirmed

BayTrust today announced it has granted a total of $4.3m to community groups across the region in the past financial year – an increase of 50 per cent – and further increases are likely in the next 12 months.

Speaking at BayTrust’s 28th Annual Public Meeting in Tauranga today, Board Chairman Kenneth Brown says the Trust’s investments delivered a three per cent return over the past financial year.

“However, as a result of building up our grant reserves in earlier years we managed to increase our granting from $2.9m to $4.3m.

“We have also held our expenses at a very similar level to previous years in spite of rising cost pressures and have managed to increase our granting by 50 per cent whilst still maintaining similar levels of reserves to the prior year which we believe is a great result for us and the Bay of Plenty communities we support.”

BayTrust has continued to grant ‘social loans’ at low interest rates (largely to social housing providers), and has also put more resources into helping strengthen community groups and improve the way they operate.

Brown says the volatility in global equity markets is expected to continue in the wake of Brexit and concerns over China’s slowing growth. However, BayTrust believes its current diversified portfolio of $193m will put it in a good position to protect and equitably grow the organisation’s investment capital and provide ongoing returns to the local community.

“Our significant reserves should allow us to weather the current volatile economic environment and we are looking to increase our granting from $4.3m last year, to $5m this year which I am sure will be gratefully received by the community.”

Among those who are thankful for BayTrust’s financial support are 11 community groups who will receive an average of over $200,000 each for a significant project this year.

BayTrust Chief Executive Alastair Rhodes told today’s meeting the recipients of the inaugural Strategic Funding Round have just been announced. A total of $2.4m was available to fund projects that will make a measurable and meaningful difference, and help make the Bay of Plenty the greatest place to be.

“We had 45 applicants for the first round of this fund, and have committed funding to 11 groups and projects spread throughout the Bay of Plenty, from Hospice, to housing to youth engagement,” Rhodes says.

“BayTrust would like to congratulate the successful recipients and also to thank all 45 groups for submitting applications. It was very hard for us to make the final call on who not to fund, as all projects were great.”

The successful applicants are: Rotorua Hospice ($300,000 towards a new hospice building); the W.I.S.E Better Homes Charitable Trust ($116,000 to help subsidise home insulation for low income households); NZ Blue Light Ventures ($279,475 over three years for a new driver navigation programme in the Bay of Plenty), the Graeme Dingle Foundation ($150,000 over three years for local Project K, Kiwi Can and Star programmes); Tauranga Community Housing Trust ($310,000 for their Waihi Rd social housing development); The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society ($200,000 for a new Plunket building in Te Puke); Taupo Blue Light Ventures ($165,000 over three years for its programmes); Central Plateau REAP ($150,000 over three years for its family and mentoring programmes); the Opotiki District Council ($300,000 towards building a new multifunctional library, research and technology centre); and Rangimarie Trust ($182,000 towards building four new social housing units in Opotiki). Habitat for Humanity will also receive a $125,000 social loan to help build 8-10 new homes in the Western Bay of Plenty.

NZ Blue Light national manager Brendon Crompton is thrilled to have been granted funding, saying the brand new driver navigation programme will help Bay of Plenty youth aged 16-24 progress through the graduated driver’s license system.

Those who don’t have access to a vehicle or a fully-licensed adult to train them, or who can’t afford professional lessons or the tests themselves, will be eligible for help.

“This ground-breaking programme will help make them safer drivers, reduce road trauma and open up employment and training opportunities for them,” Crompton says.

Last year young Bay of Plenty drivers accumulated $1.8m in fines for breaching their learners or restricted licence conditions, so Blue Light aims to help people advance through the system to gain their full licence. “This pilot programme is about prevention and providing the support they need to get out of that cycle.”

Crompton says BayTrust’s commitment will cover half the total funding required. “We think it’s such a good programme we’re hoping other areas of New Zealand will soon use it for their young people. Without BayTrust’s support this pilot would never have gotten off the ground. We’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ for allowing this programme to come to life.”

This year’s annual report is now available on BayTrust’s website https://www.baytrust.org.nz/annual-report-strategy