Trust and foundation giving

According to Giving New Zealand, our regular survey on philanthropic funding in New Zealand, giving by philanthropic trusts and foundations accounted for 42% of all giving in 2014 – almost $1.2 billion.

Most trusts and foundations have an asset base, and interest from the capital investment is given away in the form of grants or donations. There are two main kinds of trusts and foundations:

  • voluntary trusts and foundations
  • statutory trusts and foundations

Voluntary trusts and foundations

Voluntary trusts and foundations include charitable family and individual trusts, as well as university and other tertiary institutions that give from their own funds. In 2014, voluntary trusts and foundations gave a total of $275.6 million – 10% of all giving.

Statutory trusts and foundations

A unique aspect of New Zealand’s philanthropic sector is the large number of statutory trusts which have an explicit statutory or legal imperative to give. They include community trusts, energy trusts, licensing trusts, gaming machine societies and the Lottery Grants Board.

There are currently 12 community trusts, 25 energy trusts and 19 licensing trusts. In 2014 statutory trusts gave a total of $905.3 million – 32% of all giving.

Governance of trusts and foundations

Trusts and foundations are governed by trustees who may be an authorised trustee company, family and friends of the benefactor, qualified professionals, or a mixture of the above.

Trustees for the community trusts are appointed by the Minister of Finance. Trustees for the energy and licensing trusts are elected.