Trust granting $9.4m to help in ‘difficult times’

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More than $9 million will be given by the Central Lakes Trust to charity this financial year.
While Covid-19 has curbed a lot of spending, the trust still has deep pockets, according to chief executive Susan Finlay.
That includes a $50,000 grant to councils, a move that gained plaudits from both Central Otago mayors.

‘‘Despite a challenging investment environment, the board has approved agrantbudget of $9.4 millionfor the 2020-21 financial year to support charitableorganisations through thesedifficult times ahead,’’ Mrs Finlay said.
‘‘As we face the challenges of the Covid-19 virus together, we know there will be a growing impact on those charitable organisations we fund.
‘‘This will present challenges in terms of both the type of need, and the increase in community need for funds.’’
She said 2020 marked the trust’s 20th year and it had given more than $100 million for charitable purposes across the region.
‘‘We are here for the long haul, and we are ready to support our community.
‘‘The trust’s ability to maintain this level of grants budget is largely due to the 100% ownership of Pioneer Energy.’’

Approved grants for events cancelled due to Covid-19 would still be paid.
‘‘In the wake of the Covid-19 declared emergency, the trust’s emergency management fund has been triggered.
‘‘This initiative, created late last year, is available to help the communityto immediately address needs due to a civil emergency.
‘‘Both councils in our region receive a one-off $50,000 grant to support the community in these times.’’

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said his council had received confirmation of the grant ‘‘about two weeks ago’’ and it was grateful.
The money would be used to assist the needy in the community in numerous ways, including rentassistance or even cellphone account top-ups, he said.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan echoed that sentiment but said it had not yet been decided how that money would be used.

Elsewhere, the Otago Community Trust has set aside $2 million for emergency payments.
Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said it had been “working hard” to establish a Covid-19 Response Fund, which would predominantly supportexisting emergency response services, including Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management.
She the aim was not to “fragment” efforts but to look to those organisations for where their help could be best offered and support their “pressure points”.
The “business as usual” community grants had also been approved for March. The trust gave $97,451 to nine community organisations, including $40,000 to Lawrence Skate Park and $15,000 to the Waitaki Valley Community Society.