LION FOUNDATION UPDATE BY MURRAY READE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE
I have now been in the role of CEO for almost three month. I am very excited to be part of this industry as I come with a very strong appreciation of the positive impact the Class 4 sector delivers. I have previously worked at Eden Park and my last role was CEO for Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. Both institutions benefited considerably from this sector and as a result were able to offer significant value to our community.
This industry is well regulated and the recent amendments to the Gambling Act initially proposed by Te Ururoa Flavell reflect a desire to continue to improve the management of the industry in a way that minimizes harm. The Lion Foundation is committed to working with Government to ensure this sector maximizes returns to the community in a way that is appropriate and sustainable. We will continue to work with our communities to identify where grants can best be allocated to achieve the best possible outcomes.
An important relationship that The Lion Foundation is committed to developing in addition to the one we enjoy with our grant recipients is the relationship with our venue operators. Our venue operators are critical to what we do and without them the opportunity to return money to our communities would not be possible. It is our intention to achieve a better understanding of their business needs to ensure we can manage their interests in a sustainable manner.
Mike Smith, Chairman of The Lion Foundation will be retiring from the Board of Trustees this Christmas. This month saw Mike’s last Board meeting as Chair and he has now passed the baton to Simon Whyte, a Lion Foundation trustee for the last 8 years.
Mike has felt privileged to head the organisation through 25 years of its evolution. During his tenure, The Lion Foundation has distributed more than $700 million for the benefit of a wide range of community groups throughout New Zealand. Mike wishes to thank the venue operators and Lion Foundation team in particular for the incredible work they do, in an often challenging environment. We will be fare welling Mike in December and will keep you posted.
One of the issues I see entering the Sector is the widening gap between the perceptions of how the Charitable Gaming Sector operates compared to its reality and the positive impact that it provides to Communities right across Aotearoa. Just this week, again, we read biased and systemic negative sentiment around Sport that belies the very positive and broad nature of our role and support to communities. To that end, we are committed to trying to educate and inform Kiwis of the facts about New Zealand’s unique charitable gaming model:
Massey University’s MBA Study highlighted the following points that we think are worth sharing:
During 2010 gaming trusts did indeed provide $80m to Sport; we are pleased to be part of that as we see a range of benefits flowing from it in terms of positive social impact. The figure is reducing however year on year as funds diminish. In the period 2007 -2010 local level organisations or schools were in fact the main recipients of gaming funding allocated to the Sport and Recreation sector.
Recipient groups surveyed by Massey also produced some other interesting findings. When asked how many people they believed directly benefited from their work each year:
· 47% said between 1 and 500
· 19% said between 1000-2500
· The median for the survey was 600 benefactors.
Perhaps more startling was the overall number of people who directly benefited from the work being 12 million; meaning each New Zealander potentially benefits 2.7 times from the activities of survey participants. Indirectly this rose to a figure of 12.7 times from the work of the survey participants. This highlights how far reaching our broad based funding approach is in terms of supporting Kiwis.
The conclusion of the Massey Study was that “the knowledge that Lion Foundation funding is providing support in areas where it can make the biggest real difference, should be uplifting to all New Zealanders” They also said that if there is a bias in our funded activity it appears that there is greater weight given to funding activities focused on children and young people and on activities that benefit minority ethnic groups. 32% of grant recipients core area was reported as being aimed at children & youth from 6-18 years of age. Ethnic groups well are also well represented in beneficiary make up; European 31%, Maori 26%, Pacifica 16%, Asian 8%, which related well to population percentages and need.
Our funding is certainly very diverse compared to most other funders; Kindergartens, Schools, Churches, Disability providers, Affliction providers, Youth programmes (Bluelight, FYD and others), Citizens Advice Bureaus, Funfests, Habitat4Humanity, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Health organisations, Migrant Support, Middlemore Hospital, Great Potentials, Learn2Swim, Camps, FYD, Rising Foundation, Youthline, YMCAs, Seniornet, Special Olympics, Well Women, Sport, Events, Festivals, the Arts, Hospices… and all of these are just in Manukau alone, to say nothing of the St John ambulances, Plunket nurses salaries, Coastguard rescue boats and the life changing groups such as the Hearing House, Carlson School and many others who work stoically behind the scenes to make a difference for all New Zealanders.
Our eyes are fixed upon what the government does next in terms of the reforms that it has outlined for the Sector. We believe, and reports such as BERL confirm it, that there are too many trusts and that more money can be raised for community if managed professionally. We hope they follow through and with the DIA help improve the current model and operation further. It is unique to New Zealand and it works very well.