You can make a difference for our community

Posted by Karen Driver

We are blessed in the Nelson Tasman region with a wonderful climate and outstanding scenery which makes this a beautiful place to live and attracts others to visit. Our natural features alone, however, are not enough to make this a thriving and vibrant region – that requires investment in our community to provide a range of social, recreational, and cultural opportunities for locals and visitors to experience.

Several long-anticipated regional projects are underway in 2015 that will enrich our community including the Suter Gallery upgrade, Tasman’s Great Taste Cycle Trail, the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, and the velodrome at Saxton Field. Whether you personally support these projects is not as important as recognising that such projects add variety and vibrancy to our community.

While each of these projects has received Council support (most also Government support), they are all community-led projects that would not have proceeded without the considerable efforts and financial input from within our community. Local and Central government can’t do everything we’d like them to – they have to make choices about where to spend or invest funds driven not by passion or emotion but based on community priorities and financial prudence. As citizens in our community, we have much more flexibility to direct our support toward projects and causes that we are passionate about.

In fact, a considerable number of projects and services important to our community would not exist if not for the efforts, passion, leadership and financial support from volunteers. Examples include emergency services such the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter Trust and St John Ambulance service which both rely heavily on community support.

Both Councils and Government have responsibility to protect and enhance our environment, but could not achieve their stated aims without the significant support through charitable organisations such as the Nelson Environment Centre, Friends of Flora, and many more.   Every one of these charitable organisations needs to focus time and effort on fundraising often simply to maintain their community services.

There is a better way however, to help sustain our community-led projects and activities for future generations. This can be achieved by each one of us making a gift in our will to a community endowment fund. If we all gifted just 5-10% of our wealth in our wills, the combined Nelson Tasman community endowment funds would be over $200million within a generation, and you can choose which organisations or projects receive the benefit of your gift. The endowment funds are invested to provide a revenue stream for community benefit – within a generation that would be over $10million per annum, with the funds invested, and resulting revenue, continuing to grow in perpetuity.

Everyone in our community, but especially our kids and their kids, will enjoy the benefit of the legacy and foresight created by our generation. Community-led projects and activities will be well funded meaning they can focus their efforts on the important services they provide. Our community would be a more caring and sharing place with new and exciting projects delivered on a regular basis.

Nelson Bays Community Foundation is establishing Endowment Funds some of which are already resulting in funds being distributed to community projects.

So, what do you want for your community?   You can make a difference by making a gift to our community in your will.   Call the Nelson Bays Community Foundation to begin the easy process of leaving a gift to our community in your will.

Author: David Kerr

David is Executive Officer of Nelson Bays Community Foundation and can be contacted on Freephone: 0800 777880   email:     

This article was published in the Nelson Mail on 9 May 2015 under the series headed ’50 Shades of Green’.

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