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Giving circle helps to provide better beginnings.

In 2015, the then Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills, had just launched the Child Poverty Monitor.

During a radio interview he asked listeners to “not leave it up to the Government alone. Ask yourself, what can you do?" - and this sparked the idea for Better Beginnings Collective.

Better Beginnings Collective is a group of 11 women who want to make a positive difference to tackle child poverty.

"At the start we were not particularly knowledgable on how to do that," says one of the founding members, Suzie Marsden. "We were also time poor, but could all give a bit of money and knew that pooling our resources would make a bigger difference."


The group also wanted to feel much closer to the organisations they would be supporting.

"With traditional giving, you often feel many arm lengths away from knowing what happens to the money you give."

So in 2015 the women decided to set up Better Beginnings Collective as a sub-fund under Auckland Foundation. While the fund was growing, they took the time to educate themselves about the contributing factors leading to child poverty in New Zealand as well as some of the work being done by service providers in the sector.

With most of the group being mums themselves, they were in strong agreement that their focus area would be mothers of young children who need help with life and parenting skills.

Last year they gave their first grant to Ohomairangi Trust, a Kaupapa Māori Early Intervention Service in Māngere, for a healing wananga pilot.

"The group are so excited to have given our first grant and to such an amazing organisation. One of the initiatives run by Ohomairangi is a successful, parenting programme. We’ve funded the pilot for an innovative extension to that programme that would be outside the guidelines for established funders,” says Suzie.

"It feels real now. We’ve even had the leaders of Ohomairangi round to ours for Christmas drinks. That’s not arms length giving, and we love it!"

If you want to know more about Giving Circles, or are interested in setting up a Giving Circle of your own, please get in touch.

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