About Us

What is a community foundation?

The Community Foundation movement started in the United States and Canada about the middle of the 20th century and has rapidly spread across the world. All of them start small.

In Vancouver 75 years ago, Alice McKay sought the advice of W.J. Van Dusen, a partner in MacMillan-Bloedel, on what to do with the $1,000 she had saved from her secretarial job. She wanted to invest her savings in a way that was both creative and significant for the people of British Columbia. Mr Van Dusen added $1,000 to Miss McKay’s savings and challenged nine other donors to match his gift. Then, with that initial endowment of $11,000, he created Vancouver Foundation.

This modest fund of capital has today grown to more than $1 billion and Vancouver Foundation, among the largest community foundations in North America, serves donors, charitable organisations and the people of British Columbia in a wide variety of ways. Over time it has grown to become a vitally important feature of the social and cultural landscape of British Columbia.

Time shows us that, when properly organised and carefully run, a community foundation can make a significant contribution to the quality of life in its town, city or region. It can be a very powerful force for good.

Here in New Zealand our community foundations are much more fledgling. Sir Stephen Tindall and The Tindall Foundation have been instrumental in assisting community foundations off the ground. Acorn Foundation in Tauranga, for example, has grown over 21 years to managing in excess of $60 million in funds and is anticipating significant contributions in promised bequests.

Currently, there are 18 independent community foundations in New Zealand. It’s a growing movement with more in the planning stages. See more about community foundations at www.communityfoundations.org.nz

Who runs Sunrise?

Sunrise is governed by a voluntary board of trustees.  The appointment process ensures there will be sound management of the donor capital and an informed distribution of funds. Read more.

An Executive Officer is also employed as the face of the foundation and acts as a crucial link between the Board and the community.  Read more.

How is Sunrise funded?

Sunrise is a not-for-profit organisation, and all trustees and committee members are volunteers. There are however operating costs, and the Board works hard to ensure that administration and investment management costs are kept to a minimum.

Due to the generosity and support of Trust Tairāwhiti, Clark Charitable Trust and our generous sponsors this helps to cover our operating costs of The Sunrise Foundation.

Following that, no more than 1% of the value of endowment funds may be used for ongoing operating costs.

Read more about our funders and sponsors.

Make your charitable giving have a bigger impact

All donations and bequests to Sunrise are invested in endowment funds in perpetuity (forever). Every year some of the investment income is retained to ensure your gift grows in line with inflation and is protected against investment market fluctuations. The balance of the income from investments is distributed to worthy causes throughout the Tairāwhiti-Gisborne District each and every year forever.

Endowment graph homepageOver 20 years your donation will double in size and grants to the value of your original donation will have been granted to worthy causes. Over 50 years your donation and the total grants to our community will be 5 times more than your original donation.

The strength of the endowment model is that all donations and bequests are invested, protected and grown so they keep on working for our community forever. 

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