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Affecting the change we want to see in the most local of ways.

Some of my earliest memories are from Auckland where we holidayed often as children.

The 1970s saw four of us piling into the back seat of an ancient Morris Minor and hitting the road to billows of smoke and long, windy road trips. Early memories include MOTAT and Point Erin Pools, and the hot golden sands of Cheltenham and Takapuna beaches, memories that forever link me to a place, deep in my psyche, a happy NZ childhood.

My parents had come from different sides of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in more ways than one, Takapuna and Mt Roskill to be exact. They moved to Titahi Bay, Porirua (Wellington) when they were first married, in the 1960s.

As diverse as these individual places are, I feel drawn to and an affinity with them all.

Today, in my line of work in the community foundations world, I see many people who want to give to places they hold dear to their hearts. 

Community in a post-Covid world is perhaps more important than ever; most of us have a love for the places where we grew up and for the place where we finally decide to plant our own roots in this world. 

The great thing about community foundations is that they enable a structure that gives to community for the long term, to something as specific as your local church or school, or your local food bank.

And it doesn’t matter if your city is Auckland (population 1.5m) or Porirua (population 60,000); through community foundations you can be as specific or as broad as you wish with your giving.

I’ve come to realise that New Zealanders are mostly discreet about their giving and generosity. While it’s an admirable trait, it can be a bit problematic as we don’t necessarily see giving to communities as a norm, even though it is, increasingly so. 

So I talk about my giving because I hope that it might encourage others to pause and to think about the possibilities of leaving behind their own footprint on the world.

In my case I’ve set up a personal endowment fund through my local community foundation, and my Fund will activate through a gift in my will (10% of my estate). It enables me to give in the way that I choose for the long-term, going towards the alleviation of poverty and educational opportunities in my hometown.

It really does bring me joy to think that I can leave a legacy in this way long after I’m gone, and potentially change people’s lives, and, as a bonus, giving through a gift in my will is so easy.

Everyone has something really unique setting their heart and soul alight, and most often this relates back to their beloved local community.

Community foundations can enable us all to give back to where our heart and soul resides, affecting the change that we want to see in the world in the most local of ways.

Ngā mihi,
Eleanor Cater

Eleanor is Executive Director at Community Foundations of New Zealand. She has spent the past decade working for purpose and impact, marketing for causes, national charity fundraising and is a grant-maker on local boards in her home city of Porirua.


Auckland Foundation enables impactful giving by generous Aucklanders. Please connect with us if you'd like to plan and shape your giving.

Photo of a young Eleanor and family on one of their holiday trips to Auckland.