Is so much ‘rainy day’ money needed?

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE -

Your ar­ti­cle on Te Omanga Hospice of Oc­to­ber 24 seek­ing to raise $10 mil­lion for the new premises raises the ques­tion. With $14 mil­lion in in­vest­ments (plus other funds) as at June 2016, haven’t they al­ready raised the funds?

I recog­nise and un­der­stand that char­i­ties need a back-stop of funds if an in­come stream dries up.

Per­haps they are go­ing to use some of these in­vested funds for the re­build, while also main­tain­ing a safety mar­gin.

But it does bother me that each year the hospice (as do many large char­i­ties) raise far more than they need to cover their op­er­at­ing ex­penses (in the hospice’s case I be­lieve that is 20 per cent of ex­penses as they are 80 per cent funded by the DHB), and then in­vest the rest for a ‘‘rainy day’’.

The hospice web­site says this about the Foun­da­tion Funds: ‘‘All in­come is re­served to the Foun­da­tion’s en­dow­ment fund which is used to help bridge the gap be­tween Dis­trict Health Board fund­ing and the ac­tual cost of pro­vid­ing ser­vices to pa­tients and their fam­i­lies.’’

With $14 mil­lion-plus in re­serves, the foun­da­tion does a lot more than bridge the gap.

Hospice pro­vide a hugely im­por­tant role in our com­mu­nity and they do it pro­fes­sion­ally and com­pas­sion­ately.

My fam­ily has used their ser­vices and I was, for many years, a donor.

My per­sonal phi­los­o­phy now is to give to grass roots char­i­ties that are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in my im­me­di­ate com­mu­nity – I check out the fi­nan­cials on the char­i­ties reg­is­ter be­fore mak­ing a do­na­tion.

I view my char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions as an in­vest­ment in my com­mu­nity and don’t want to see a cent of it in­vested in shares and bonds by the char­ity I’ve given to.

A very sim­ple search of the Char­i­ties Reg­is­ter re­veals an eye­wa­ter­ing $12,988,875,401 ($13 bil­lion) of in­vest­ments held by NZ reg­is­tered char­i­ties – that’s not all do­nated funds by any means, but it’s a lot of money in­vested in busi­ness, not our com­mu­ni­ties, as surely is the pur­pose.

Janet Sykes

Stokes Val­ley

BIDDY HARFORD, THE CHIEF EX­EC­U­TIVE OF TE OMANGA HOSPICE, RE­SPONDS:

Thank you for your let­ter re­gard­ing our fundrais­ing cam­paign to raise $10m to build a new hospice for the lo­cal Hutt Val­ley com­mu­nity and the ques­tion of our fi­nan­cial re­serves.

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Te Omanga Hospice pro­vides spe­cial­ist pal­lia­tive care ser­vices to the peo­ple of the Hutt Val­ley and re­ceives 64 per cent of its fund­ing needs from the Hutt Val­ley DHB, re­quir­ing us to raise 36 per cent to en­sure our ser­vices re­main free to the peo­ple of our com­mu­nity. We need to raise $2.5 mil­lion ev­ery year to bridge the gap be­tween the gov­ern­ment fund­ing of $4.4 mil­lion and the ac­tual cost of $6.9mto de­liver our ser­vices.

This is a huge task and one we take very se­ri­ously. We re­alise that we are in an ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive ‘‘mar­ket’’ and that as such it is harder to raise the funds. The days of cake stalls are long gone, we need to adopt more sus­tain­able ways to sup­port the day-to-day fi­nan­cial needs of the hospice ser­vice at a time of grow­ing need.

The Te Omanga Hospice Foun­da­tion was es­tab­lished as a way of meet­ing this need in a sus­tain­able way with a be­quest of $4m from our founder Sir Roy McKen­zie. We have built on Sir Roy’s gift with be­quests from oth­ers who wish to in­vest in the hospice to en­sure it re­mains for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

At the same time we have donors who pre­fer to have their do­na­tion in­vested to ‘‘go on giv­ing’’ in per­pe­tu­ity, rather than as a one-off gift. We have in­vested these be­quests and do­na­tions which gen­er­ate in­ter­est to sup­port the op­er­a­tional needs of the hospice, which we con­sider to be good stew­ard­ship for the on­go­ing free ser­vice that we of­fer to the Hutt Val­ley com­mu­nity.

At the same time as hav­ing to raise funds to meet our an­nual short­fall, we are em­bark­ing on a ma­jor one-off fundrais­ing cam­paign to raise $10m to build our new hospice for the Hutt Val­ley com­mu­nity.

We will use some of the en­dow­ment funds to un­der­write our cap­i­tal fundrais­ing – as long as we can do so with­out jeop­ar­dis­ing the funds that are needed to meet the day-to-day op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments of the hospice.

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