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Website story by Brenda Ward
When two of New Zealand’s oldest trustee institutions, Perpetual Trust and Guardian Trust, came together in 2014, the new company, Perpetual Guardian, took a fresh approach to giving.
With over 130 years’ experience of looking after other people’s trusts, Perpetual Guardian set up its own charitable foundation designed to support the everyday philanthropist.
Says manager of philanthropy services, Kirsten Taylor: “What we were seeing was that charitable trusts were requiring a large investment to ensure their future in perpetuity.
“New Zealanders are among the world’s most generous people. We asked, how can we use our experience to help facilitate the generosity of a wider range of New Zealanders? So we set up this low-cost model.”
Taylor says The Foundation is a single access-point to help everyday philanthropists to give, with a range of options.
“We respectfully manage significant donations made by those who wish to focus on a specific issue close to their heart or through existing legacy funds for, say, mental health, cancer research, the environment, or even the SPCA.
“You can become part of the community of donors linked to the existing legacy funds by donating any amount, from five dollars to five million dollars.”
Legacies in particular are powerful tools for giving, says Taylor. “Many people are considering charitable giving in their wills, after they’ve looked after family and friends.”
Perpetual Guardian walks the talk, says Taylor, offering its staff the chance to donate to charity through automatic payroll-giving – and matches all contributions. Staff members choose a recipient charity once a year.
“We identified that there was a stumbling block for companies if everyone gives to a different organisation, so we all give to a sub-fund of The Foundation.”
Perpetual Guardian takes care of research, reporting, administration, and maintaining tax-exempt status for donors. Says Taylor: “That leaves the donors to get on with all the fun stuff – the interaction with the people who benefit.”
The company also works with insurance company Partners Life on an innovative life insurance policy, which pays out to a charity after your death, rather than to your estate.
Partners Life general manager Naomi Ballantyne says she discussed with Taylor the issues that arise when people leave an amount to charity in their wills.
“It’s fraught with difficulties. Sometimes family members contest the will and there are legal costs which take away from the legacy. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what happens.”
The new Partners Legacy Gift Plan means someone could gift $50,000 after their death, but pay only a small monthly premium during their lifetime.
“Say you want to leave $50,000 to your church. You don’t want it to come out of the house your family will sell, so just a small monthly commitment can have that result.
“You simply pay premiums as your donation to charity, and there are no ifs, no buts, and no miscommunications at the end.”