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Bequests - a donor's perspective.

Since its small beginnings in Dunedin in 1970, the Rua & Clarrie Stevens Charitable Trust has grown to be a lynchpin for many young, dynamic community organisations.

Founded in memory of his community-spirited mother following her untimely death from leukaemia, Lee and his wife Penny continued to manage the trust until 2015.

After they resettled the Trust with Auckland Foundation, they were freed up to focus on the joy of giving, and to continue building relationships with community organisations they support.

Recently Lee and Penny's thoughts have turned to succession planning, and how the Trust - and the memory of Lee's parents - will be looked after once they are gone. 

Lee and Penny have chosen to entrust this legacy with their community foundation, and we asked them a few questions about this important decision.

Q: Auckland Foundation is very proud of its relationship with the Rua & Clarrie Stevens Charitable Trust, and with both of you. Can you explain why you decided to resettle the fund with Auckland Foundation? Did you have an “a-ha!” moment, or was it a more of a thought-out process?

A (Lee): It was a very long thought out process! If I’m being honest, we initially approached it with some reluctance (because of the thought of no longer managing the Trust)… but in the end we felt it was the best course of action. The fact that Auckland Foundation is itself a not-for-profit was a major influence in our cementing the relationship – which has developed into a most enjoyable and meaningful partnership.

Q: A bequest is an amazing gift for a charity, and we are incredibly fortunate that you have both decided to leave a gift to us. Why have you decided to trust Auckland Foundation with your legacy?

A (Lee): After 47 years of devoting ourselves to a “family” oriented partnership with our grantees, the ethos of Auckland Foundation resonates very strongly with us both. As time has passed, our decision has been reconfirmed with our ongoing philanthropic activities alongside Auckland Foundation.

Q: Do you have any advice for anyone who may be thinking about leaving a bequest to charity?

A (Lee): I would encourage any potential donor to meet with the staff of Auckland Foundation, whom we have found to be exceptionally accommodating. For me, the key determinant has been the building of a mutual trust – which sadly is becoming very rare in our current society.

Q: And finally, what has been your proudest moment as a Trustee of the Rua & Clarrie Stevens Charitable Trust?

A (Lee & Penny): It's given us a lifestyle of great joy, and taught us the true meaning of giving.

We've gained a greater insight into our diverse communities and how they work, and learned first-hand the very real challenges of the not for profit sector. There are some exceptional and talented folk that manage these organisations!

There have been many moments of celebration, and we feel very privileged to know that we have made a difference with small ongoing grants.