Otago Community Trust boosts grants budget to $10 million for the upcoming year

26 Apr 2021

Media Release

Otago Community Trust is pleased to announce it has approved a general grants budget of $10 million for this coming year. 

Otago Community Trust chair Diccon Sim said the Trust’s investment goals are to return as much as possible to the Otago community through grants, while preserving the real value of the initial capital of the Trust’s fund to maintain equity between different generations of beneficiaries.

“From an investment perspective the start of the 2020-21 financial year was challenging, during this period, when the Trust usually sets its Grants budget the Trust was conscious of the need to safeguard Trust’s assets during a time of initial heightened market volatility and as a consequence the annual granting budget was reduced as a precaution”.

In making the decision to increase our annual grants budget for the 2021-22 financial year, the Board has carefully considered that while we are in a low interest environment, our strong investment governance structures and sound reserving position will help to ensure good long-term results.

“This therefore provides a level of confidence that we can increase our annual granting budget” said Mr Sim.

Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said the increase in funding is important as it means that the Trust is better placed to respond to the very real needs of our community, the ongoing ripple effects of COVID-19 and also have the flexibility to respond to opportunities as they arise.

“Otago Community Trust accepts applications for funding throughout the year, we are happy to discuss projects with groups and encourage members of the community to make contact with the Trust if they have any questions” said Ms Bridger.

April Grants Approved

Otago Community Trust’s April grants round saw the Trust approve its regular annual grants to the social service and welfare sector. Over $350,000 was approved to six Otago social service and welfare agencies.

Debbie George, Executive Officer of Age Concern Dunedin said her small team was very appreciative of the increase in funding received from the Otago Community Trust this year having been awarded a $50,000 grant.

“We are firm believers that positive ageing is enhanced in a society when the rights and responsibilities of older people are acknowledged, securing this grant provides such a boost for our team and our work”.

“The demand for our work continues to grow throughout Otago as our older population increases and they face challenges associated with housing crises, changing in banking practices, the digital divide, scamming/dishonesty, loneliness and increase in mental health challenges”. 

“It will go a long way in making world of difference to the programmes and services that we can provide”. Ms George said.

“Half of the grant will fund Age Concern coordination and services for the Waitaki region. Waitaki’s older population far exceeds the national average so our work there is crucial and much of it is being done voluntarily as this is an underfunded region”.

“I am constantly heartened to hear the positive difference our work makes to the health and wellbeing for older people and am so thrilled we will be able to continue to support these outcomes for people” said Ms George.

Other grants across the Otago region included $3,865 to Diving Otakou to support with the cost of holding the Diving Skills National Competition to be held at Moana Pool from 25-27 June 2021; $15,000 to Wanaka Search and Rescue (COSAR) to assist with the operational requirements for the field search and incident management teams over the next 12 months and $5,000 to the Oamaru Performing Arts Society Inc to support with the cost of holding the annual Arts Festival Competition at the Oamaru Opera house in late May.

In total Otago Community Trust gave $468,307 to 19 community organisations in April.


Otago Community Trust Grants, April 2021


The Terrace School



Pirates Football Club (Dunedin) Inc



Musical Theatre Dunedin Inc



Broad Bay Community Centre



St Joseph's Cathedral School



Diving Otakou



Catholic Social Services



Malcam Charitable Trust



Aroha Ki Te Tamariki



NZ Century Farms Incorporated



North Otago Toy Library Inc



Oamaru Performing Arts Society Inc



Orwell Street Gospel Chapel Oamaru



Rockquest Charitable Trust



The Boys' Brigade in NZ Inc



Salvation Army New Zealand



Age Concern Otago Inc



Able - Southern Families Support



Wanaka Search and Rescue Inc