What is a Community Foundation?

Community Foundations are relatively new in New Zealand, so what are they, and how do they work?  We asked our friends at Auckland Foundation to respond:

Auckland Foundation – building a generous Auckland, for good.

As the community foundation for the Auckland region, Auckland Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in managing endowments for charitable purpose.

Community foundations are the fastest growing form of philanthropy globally, with more than 1,800 worldwide and 16 across New Zealand – but what is a community foundation, and how do they work?

First and foremost, community foundations are about making it easy for donors to give. Donors can set up a fund under the foundation’s umbrella structure without the hassle of setting up, registering and then running a separate charity. Because the community foundation takes care of the compliance, administration, investment and governance, the donor is free to concentrate on giving to causes they are passionate about.
There are many different ways to give through your local community foundation, such as building your own fund, joining a giving circle, or leaving a gift in your Will.

But what about the charities that our donors support? Auckland Foundation can also help in a number of ways.

For established charitable trusts, community foundations can offer easy yet effective solutions in a number of areas, such as managing investments, succession planning, or administrative burdens such as filing reports to the Charities Commission.

As a charitable trust ourselves, we know that trusteeship can be a complex process, with numerous responsibilities as well as time demands.

It’s not always easy to find someone who can ensure proper accounts are kept, comply with the terms of the trust deed, make prudent investment decisions, and has the knowledge and passion to guide and monitor the management of the trust.
No matter their size, all charitable trusts rely on the energy and commitment of their trustees. If your trust is having concerns about succession, or hasn’t yet discussed a succession plan, resettling as a fund of Auckland Foundation can offer an enduring yet simple solution to succession issues.

We take care of all the administration, compliance and investment. And because we are committed to following our donors’ wishes, it means the trust can maintain its identity and still be involved in the granting decisions – without any of the administrative burden of trusteeship.

Auckland Zoo and Auckland Choral Foundation are just two of the existing charities that Auckland Foundation supports through fund management. By pooling capital from all of our fund-holders, we invest effectively for strong returns over the long term.
Chair of Auckland Choral Foundation, Christine Keller-Smith, believes that this was absolutely the best thing to do:

“Putting our Fund with Auckland Foundation was the best decision. They invest it wisely with excellent returns, and have provided support, encouragement and practical, expert advice. Being cared for under Auckland Foundation’s ‘umbrella’ has saved our small Auckland Choral Foundation charity a lot of time and stress.”

Creating an endowment fund is another way to ensure greater certainty and less stress for charities. By simply putting aside an unexpected bequest or annual surplus, charities can build sufficient capital to make a start on building an endowment, which can mean unrestricted income in the future and the ability to take a long-term sustainable view of the charity and its work.

We also provide a simple solution for inactive trusts, or those who are struggling with their compliance requirements. Resettling as a fund of Auckland Foundation allows the trust to maintain its identity and concentrate on its charitable goals – without any of the administrative burden.

The good news is, by working with Auckland Foundation, you don’t need to create a separate trust or be burdened with more administration. For more information contact us on (09) 366 1523 or visit aucklandfoundation.org.nz

To find out more about Community Foundations in New Zealand please visit the Community Foundations of NZ website

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