Tim Sheppard and Chris Milne sign the deed of Sub Trust for the Porirua District Fund

Trustees at the Porirua Community Trust have this year been undertaking a thorough review of the future management of $5 million of assets held by Trust Porirua.

Trustees decided in March to wind up the Porirua Community Trust, due to inefficiencies in the parent Trust structure. They sought to undertake a thorough and independent review of the options to safeguard the $5m of Porirua community assets.

Early in 2018 Trustees sought public feedback and held a public meeting. This process led to a number of possibilities and in May Trustees appointed independent Trust Consultant Mark Cassidy, recent CEO at the Wellington Community Trust and Chair of Mary Potter Hospice, to lead a review of the options.

Mark Cassidy investigated and presented a review of the options to Trustees in July. His report included the strong recommendation to merge the assets into a Sub Trust of Nikau Foundation, Wellington’s Community Foundation, where they will be ringfenced for Porirua and safeguarded for future generations.

The new Fund will be called the “Porirua District Fund” and Porirua assets will be invested along with Nikau Foundation’s other assets, with the income from the investments flowing back to the Porirua community.

The charitable purpose of Trust Porirua, being a very wide discretion to fund charitable purposes in the Porirua area, will remain unchanged through the Nikau Sub Trust.

Initiatives such as the student scholarships scheme Trust Porirua currently funds through Whitireia Foundation* can continue under the new arrangements and there will be significantly more funding available for other initiatives and community organisations with charitable purposes.

Benefits include:

– Economies of scale
– Making the most of bulk investments, reducing portfolio risks
– Extra costs are avoided, including elected Trustee fees, considerable Public Audit Office Costs and election costs, meaning significantly more funding will flow back to the Porirua community
– Utilising Nikau Foundation’s significant expertise in investments, grant making, marketing and philanthropy

Trust Porirua Chair Tim Sheppard said, “Trust Porirua and its assets needed to get to a place where they could work effectively for Porirua, with maximum returns to the community. This review and decisions made will help secure the future of funding for the Porirua region in a sustainable way, at least doubling the amount returned to the community and ensuring good investment and grant making practices for the long term”.

Nikau Foundation Chair Chris Milne said, “Nikau Foundation is delighted to work with the Porirua community to ensure that these community assets are safe guarded and can return benefits to the Porirua community forever. We are committed to ensuring that the original charitable purpose of Trust Porirua continues and to growing this Fund for Porirua and for future generations.”

A Porirua-based District Fund Committee will be established to look at how grant decisions will be made in the future. This committee will be made up of a mix of community-minded volunteers to ensure diversity of representation.

A funding clinic will be held in Porirua in the first half of 2019 to explain how the District Fund will work and to advise community groups on how to apply, dates for this funding clinic will be announced in early 2019.

Note: this decision does not affect Porirua Trust House Foundation funding, for which the Porirua Community Trust Trustees make recommendations. Community groups in Porirua should continue to apply directly through Trust House Foundation.

* over the past decade Trust Porirua has donated more than $250,000 providing scholarships to close to 100 worthy Porirua students at Whitireia Polytechnic.