A shift in focus and a strong financial position has prompted the Central Lakes Trust (CLT) to make millions of dollars of extra funding available to the Central Lakes community next financial year.
The trust had been giving out about $6million a year for the past few years but in the 2018-19 year would give away $9million, its chief executive, Susan Finlay, said.
It was hoped the increased level of funding could be continued annually, although the exact amount would be reviewed every year.
Mrs Finlay said the move signalled two things: a change in direction for the trust and the strong performance of its investments.
Consideration of the change was initially prompted by the trust being oversubscribed for requests for funding.
“This current financial year is the first time in many years the CLT has been oversubscribed. We haven’t turned anyone away, but we have needed to take a breath and reaffirm our funding principles.
“In our case, we went right back to our trust deed purpose . the board has spent considerable time considering our grants distribution policies and ensuring there is a balance between the here and now – giving back to the community – and the long term – funds in reserve. The trust’s investments have performed well over the last few years, so we have an opportunity to recognise that.”
The shift in direction was being publicly communicated through a rebranding process. A new logo developed for the CLT was launched this week.
The trust also wanted to work more collaboratively with groups, in partnership with them rather than “owning” or controlling the fate of projects, and work closely with them to identify the problems they faced and solutions to those problems, Mrs Finlay said.
“The new brand signifies this change in direction for CLT – it is in line with our values. We are being open, proactive and collaborative, looking to the future environment, having integrity and valuing our connections with the community.”
The trust was streamlining its application process, developing guidance documents for groups with larger projects in mind, and making more detailed information available about the criteria for grants, Mrs Finlay said.
As a registered charity itself, the CLT was governed by the Charities Act, and could, therefore, make funding available only to territorial local authorities, registered public or state learning providers, faith-based organisations and registered charitable trusts.
Projects applying for grants had to have a “charitable purpose” and be for either the relief of poverty, the advancement of education, the advancement of religion, or other purposes beneficial to the community.
The CLT was also reminding the community of the trust’s 100% ownership of Pioneer Energy, and the dividends Pioneer provided to the trust and therefore the community, Mrs Finlay said.