Is so much ‘rainy day’ money needed?
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.
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.