Meet some of our Donors
The work of Advance Ashburton is only possible due to the generosity of our donors. Whilst some donors chose to leave a bequest in their will, other donors choose to donate during their lifetime, thereby sharing in the joy of philanthropy and seeing the added value that their donation is contributing to our community.
Bob and Alan Johnston
A fulfilling way to give
Brothers Bob and Alan Johnston grew up on the family farm in Carew, Ashburton. After running a sheep farming business, they eventually sold the farm when it was converted to dairy around 2008, and they went into semi-retirement.
The brothers remain living on the farm and today, even in their 70’s, still help out at the busy times of the year. “We still get called on to shift cows from time to time,” says Alan.
Upon the sale of their farm, Bob and Alan found themselves in a new financial position with some discretionary income and, around this time, Advance Ashburton Community Foundation was in its early years.
They really liked the concept of a Community Foundation, where their gifts would be invested, grown, and given back to their community forever.
The brothers decided to give in three ways through Advance Ashburton: providing scholarships for promising young medical students, direct funding to current community needs and, eventually, through a gift in their will.
They have a scholarship fund which pays income every year to medical students in the district. “We started with one scholarship per year and now there are six, each paying around $3,000 a year. The great thing about it is that we know a lot of these families and it’s wonderful to see how it’s helping young people with big aspirations,” says Bob.
The recipients are very grateful, and the brothers enjoy hearing from them as they progress through their studies.
The brothers also get involved in other community initiatives, such as funding training equipment for Ashburton Hospital or other immediate needs such as Kai for Kids. Bob and Alan are appreciative of guidance Advance Ashburton brings, helping them make informed giving decisions. “We thought food for kids wouldn’t be needed in Ashburton, but we are all hearing real stories of how it is needed today,” says Bob. “We are happy to give to that, when you hear about and can see the real need.”
Bob adds, “It was put to us early that not only could we leave a bequest but also do something in our lifetime. And we get real pleasure from seeing what our money is achieving today, so we put it to others – ‘Why don’t you do something to see your money working while you are still here?’ We have found it very fulfilling to give in this way”.
“Our old Dad used to say, ‘If you are in a position to help, you should’. That’s how we’ve always felt about this. The Foundation is so well organised and has always brought in the right people to look after the money, it’s a great organisation and we are happy to be a part of it.”
Bob (left) and Alan with the SimBaby they generously purchased for the Rural Health Academic Centre, based at Ashburton Hospital.
Hear Bob and Alan speak in a podcast prepared for the Farmer's Weekly What is your Rural Legacy series below.
“You can see the positive difference Advance Ashburton Community Foundation is making in our community, and I feel very comfortable knowing that my legacy is in very safe hands”.
Graham Gunn is a man of many talents - a horticulturist, organist, choir singer, and a dahlia enthusiast, national judge, and patron. Graham is also passionate about the Ashburton District, and says,
“I was born, raised and lived all my life in Ashburton, and I feel very fortunate to have done so. It gives me great satisfaction to know that through Advance Ashburton Community Foundation, I have set in place an effective, lasting way to give something back to the community that has been so good to me.”
Through a gift in his will, safeguarded by Advance Ashburton Community Foundation, Graham will be enabling scholarships to encourage, foster and support talented students in all things musical. The remainder of the income from his gift will provide for general purposes in the Ashburton District, and will support – forever - the greatest needs in his community.
Dr Dale Abbott
"Since moving to Ashburton for work in 2016 I have been consistently impressed by the community spirit I see all around me here. I have also been impressed by the good works you folks do at Advance Ashburton, and when I donate to the Foundation I see results directly. New Zealand has been very good to me, both personally and professionally, and I feel fortunate that I can give a bit of that back.
Please keep up the good work."
“I am single and have no children but felt I could give back to the community I have lived and worked in.
There are many young people who are in need of support to further their tertiary education and I have had great pleasure meeting some of these talented young people and seeing my money working for good.
My fund helps give deserving young people a ‘leg up’ in their tertiary studies.”
Hi, my name is Sue, and years ago I became aware of the Foundation and what it achieves through my work as a legal secretary at the then named firm, Russell Moon & Fail. As my interest and understanding of the Foundation grew it soon became a priority of mine to keep any donations I made from my hard earned dollar local. I am not opposed to supporting charities such as the Westpac Helicopter, St John’s, or Plunket (the list goes on), but I am opposed to a large percentage of my donation being absorbed in administration/promotion fees.
Because the Foundation has approved donee status with the IRD, employees can make regular donations direct from their wages. If you visit the IRD website and search Payroll Giving you will find the process very simple. The Foundation receives immediate and regular funds, and the donor receives immediate tax credits in the form of reduced PAYE so no more waiting until the end of the year to hand in your little receipts.
For example, a weekly payroll donation of $6.00 costs the employee only $4.00 because the rebate of one-third is immediately credited against the tax to be deducted for each week. Over a five year period, 15 people donating $6.00 per week will result in $23,400 being donated to Advance Ashburton Community Foundation, and tax rebates for the employees totalling $7,800.
By making small donations over time, you are going to make a big difference to what the Foundation is able to do for our local community. Your money stays LOCAL. Like me, I believe most of you have charities that you have donated to, probably still donate to, but are concerned about the amount of your donation that actually gets used for the reason you give your donation for. For this reason, keep it local. I think the team idea within any workforce makes it so easy for people to give affordably to a worthwhile local charity. The challenge is to “Give where you live”!