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Small gifts making a huge difference.

When four women from the University of Auckland’s Business School decided to get together and form a giving circle, little did they realise the impact their collective generosity would have.

"I know my $15 or $20 a fortnight is not going to do much. But when you add that together with others giving the same amount, suddenly you can make a big difference," says one of the founding Fabulous Ladies, Amanda Stanes.

Established with Auckland Foundation in 2014, the now 10 member-strong Fabulous Ladies Giving Circle focuses on alleviating poverty through education. Annual scholarships, which are applied for through the Auckland University Students' Association, help student parents with childcare and after school care costs so they can continue with their tertiary education.

Within five years, the Fabulous Ladies had granted just over $43,000 and supported 25 students.

The difference made to those receiving the grants is huge – both financially and to their wellbeing.

As a previous recipient says,

"Having the childcare grant meant the world to me. At the time I was in the midst of financial chaos at the hands of my abusive ex-husband. He didn’t see why he should help me with childcare costs (even though he is a high wage earner) and called our son and his care whilst I was at Uni ‘my problem’. He wanted me to fail."

"If I didn't have this grant, I wouldn't have been able to continue my degree in the hope of building a better life for me and my son. I'm so very grateful and hope that this generous grant can continue for other parents."

And one of this year's student recipients has been able to focus more both on his studies and his family, thanks to the grant.

"The decision to return to University was a difficult one, given we have two children and there was a great deal of despair and anxiety in making this work. This was until I came across a post about assistance through the Fabulous Ladies."

"A great load has been lifted off our shoulders, not just with the financial assistance, but also the compassion and genuine concern for our wellbeing. The grant has helped take away the stress of child care costs, which gave me both peace of mind and time to focus on my studies, which has been a very positive experience."

"Both my wife and I are deeply grateful and forever indebted to the kindness of AUSA, the Fabulous Ladies and the Auckland Foundation for helping us through this time and most importantly helping me build a better future for our family."

If you're interested in finding out more about giving circles, or would like to start one of your own, we'd love to hear from you.

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