By Josh Hickord, CE, Taranaki Foundation

As I sit down to share these thoughts, I find myself reflecting on how proud and thankful I am of our community here in Taranaki and for the incredible donors who support the work of the Taranaki Foundation. In this article, I want to talk about the challenge of balancing immediate needs with long-term impact in community giving.  Additionally, I’ll also discuss the strong connections and partnerships that drive us forward in our collective mission to create positive change.

At Taranaki Foundation, we champion the power of local giving for local needs. Our Foundation is firmly rooted in the belief that generosity begins at home. It’s about nurturing and supporting those in our own backyard – supporting the grassroots organisations and charities that make our community strong, that make this place, our place.

In recent years, Taranaki has faced its fair share of unpredictable and challenging times. Throughout it all, our local charities and community groups have been at the forefront of providing support, tirelessly working to assist those in need. Yet, they’ve also faced their own financial challenges, with some struggling to keep their doors open and their operations afloat. It’s a delicate balancing act—meeting the urgent needs of today while safeguarding for tomorrow’s uncertainties.

Our team and trustees are driven by our purpose to inspire a culture of giving and sharing in Taranaki. We are dedicated to building enduring funding streams for our local communities through strategic investment and the growth of donor gifts. Endowment funds serve as a strategic tool to empower these local groups, ensuring that donors who wish to give for tomorrow can do so with confidence. While we need to focus on the weather of the day, we need to look further, long term, at the climate of the era.

In my role, I am privileged to work closely with our generous donors and supporters, facilitating giving that leaves a lasting impact. As a donor myself, I get why our donors want to leave a legacy for future generations. Our donors share a deep passion for our community and are committed to making a difference.  They place their trust in us to invest their gifts thoughtfully, knowing that the resulting investment returns will support their favourite charities or causes in perpetuity. Thanks to our growing family of donors, modest grants are made each year to community groups and charitable projects in accordance with donor wishes.

At Taranaki Foundation, 17 local community groups have established a Community Fund, welcoming contributions from anyone eager to make a lasting difference. Every donation, regardless of size, contributes to the growth of these funds, ensuring ongoing support for long-term good.

The recent bequest from Ian Bruce Irwin to the East Taranaki Environment Collective (ETEC) is an example of the enduring impact of thoughtful giving. Ian’s generosity will continue to provide essential support for ETEC. The impact of his gift will not only be immediate but will continue to support the community for years to come. Looking ahead, bequests are poised to become even more significant.

Total bequests in New Zealand are estimated to be worth around $200 million annually, ranging from modest sums to significant— all substantial lifeline for any local charity. With an ageing population and increasing asset values, a projected $150 billion wealth transfer over the next decade is on the horizon. This highlights the potential for larger bequest values, which could provide much needed funds to local grassroots organisations in need of financial security and stability.

Together, we have the power to effect lasting change. Your support and generosity make all of this possible. Let’s continue building a legacy of community well-being to make a difference in the lives of those around us, today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

With gratitude, Josh.