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Young Philanthropists Contribute to Community

Young philanthropists have blazed a trail in Queenstown with their pilot Generation Give programme at Wakatipu High School which has been so successful its leaders are now rolling it out in Auckland and Christchurch this year.

Youth Philanthropy New Zealand (YPNZ) was set up last year under the umbrella of the Wakatipu Community Foundation (WCF) by three former Wakatipu High School students – Beatrice Onions, Hugh Taylor and Chris Belmont.

Beatrice and Hugh already had a history of contribution notably with Wakatipu High School’s Cook for a Cause World Vision 40-hour famine fundraiser in 2017. They led a team that cooked 6,000 meals for families in need around New Zealand, raising $14,000 to support Syrian children.

“We came back together last year, with Chris, to establish the Generation Give programme and we knew that with the support of the WCF, Queenstown was the ideal place for the pilot,” says Beatrice. “It was always our intention to roll the programme out nationally and it is exciting to be doing that after our first year with both Auckland and Christchurch also involved through their community foundations.”

Interest was high amongst students when they called for applications to join the inaugural programme last year.

“We recruited 19 young people from different year groups which gave us a quite diverse range. Some knew about philanthropy, others didn’t but were keen to learn. The students then set up a board and once a week conducted a board meeting followed by an inspirational speaker from the community. While as mentors we helped facilitate sessions, everything was basically student led.”

Generation Give’s aim at the outset was to donate $10,000 to charity and with sponsorship from Roost Mortgage Brokers, Craig Investment Partners, the Dick and Diana Hubbard Foundation and the Tindall Foundation they had the ability to make grants to deserving community groups.

Beatrice says the students themselves also raised $5,000 through a raffle – “ to make them feel they were contributing to the wider mission of Generation Give”.

The first grants were made at the inaugural Spirit of Wakatipu Awards held in September last year with funds going to six non-profit organisations. To the group’s surprise, the Hugo Charitable Trust  matched their grants and later invited Generation Give students to present to them about their specific charities, granting another $15,000 to three of the organisations which took their total contribution to $35,000.

‘’That support from the Hugo Trust took our pilot programme from being simply a success to something so much more than we could have imagined,” says Beatrice.

This year’s Generation Give programme looks to be every bit as well supported by Wakatipu High students and it will run beside an advanced programme catering for many of last year’s participants who are so committed to the philanthropic culture, they want to continue their work.

WCF CEO Jennifer Belmont says the programme is all about “youth leading youth” and the achievements Generation Give has made in just 12 months are quite outstanding.

“It has been so rewarding to help guide the students through the process and the skills they learn through the programme will give them the tools to continue to contribute to and make a difference in their communities in the future.”

Renowned American philanthropist Carrie Morgridge met the Youth Philanthropy Trust during a recent visit to Queenstown with other members of the Colorado based Morgridge Family Foundation. Trust spokesperson Beatrice Onions says –“the Foundation has a similar programme helping young people  become community leaders and philanthropists and it was amazing to be able to exchange ideas with them.”

Pictured: Helena Hornbacher (student) Beatrice Onions & Chris Belmont (YPNZ) & Carrie Morgridge