Emergency grant giving at its best
Featured image: La’auli Sir Michael Jones KNZM, The Village Community Services Trust

Six months on since the launch of the Milford Foundation, we could not have conceived that the decision to ensure that the Foundation would always have the capacity for emergency granting would already have been called upon, twice.

The Auckland Covid-19 lockdown, now weeks since enacted has been absolutely brutal to many Auckland communities. Having a roof over your head and being able to put food on the table is a basic fundamental that we expect in our country. In Auckland, not far down the road from the more affluent suburbs, many communities have been battling.

This is especially true in Pasifika communities where a large part of the workforce is either self-employed or in casual work, Milford Foundation Trustee and the Chief Executive Officer of Pasifika Futures Limited (PFL), Debbie Sorensen told us.

Manukau Urban Māori Authority’s Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Favona, which operates a foodbank in partnership with the Auckland City Mission, public health provider The Fono’s Feleoko Food-Hub, and West Auckland-based The Village Community Services Trust each received $80,000 from the Foundation to help them continue to provide food for families in need.

The Foundation initially granted them $40,000 each in September, however just a few weeks on, the need had increased further and the decision was made to grant each foodbank a further $40,000. The Government has signalled $62.1 billion for the Covid-19 response and recovery so far, but that money doesn’t necessarily always reach those who need it most and it hadn’t when the Milford Foundation released funds to these charities.

Sir Michael Jones, Chairperson and founding trustee of The Village Community Services Trust, said “his organisation was fielding requests for help from people and families we have never seen before or expected to see. This lock down is different and harder, families are struggling.” He went on to say that they have been continually under the pump since lockdown began in August, with the need increasing by the day.

Wyn, the CEO of Manukau Urban Māori Authority (MUMA) said that approximately 2,000 food parcels were required every week and that they were struggling to fund them. He went on to say, “the timing for the grants was basically perfect. They would now be able to improve the quality of the boxes content (e.g. fresh vegetables) and/or increase the number of boxes”. The Fono’s Feleoko Food-Hub shared similar sentiments.

Our three granting pillars are closely aligned with the Foundation’s purpose: Investing in the future of Aotearoa, creating opportunities for generations to follow. However, the Foundation had always intended to complement its work in those areas with targeted relief for cases of urgent need.

Our vision is about creating a sustainable and viable way of life for generations to come – but if we don’t deal with the problems confronting us here and now, we have no hope of achieving our long-term objectives. One of the most pressing problems our community faces right now, is people not having enough to eat.

Sir Michael Jones said the Milford Foundation’s support would not only help put food on the tables of families in need, it would remind people who felt isolated and desperate that they were part of a community that cared for and about them.

For the Milford Foundation to be in a position to help alongside others, is about more than meeting people’s immediate needs for food and other essentials, as important as that is. It is also about maintaining people’s sense of worth, and enabling them to have hope.

To understand the difference that granting like this can make for so many families. To not only receive but feel the intense gratitude from those working at the coal face has enabled us to know that our ability to provide grant money so quickly, makes their lives just a little bit easier in being able to meet the intense demand they are constantly facing.

All this affirms to us that we are on the right track. This immediate impact experience empowers us to work harder
to ensure our ability to make a meaningful impact for the future of this country continues.     

Our vision is about creating a sustainable and viable way of life for generations to come – but if we don’t deal with the problems confronting us here and now, we have no hope of achieving our long-term objectives.

Sarah Norrie – Trustee,
Milford Foundation

Sarah Norrie

This article was originally featured in the Impact magazine, click here to view the magazine online.