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United Way New Zealand Annual Community Grant Applications Open

Applications for United Way New Zealand’s 2020 Community Grants open today for Manawatu, Whanganui, Canterbury, South Canterbury, Otago and Southland. (Please note: A separate Grant Application is required for each region and amounts per region are subject to funds available). A key funding channel for small to medium charities across New Zealand, United Way New Zealand has distributed approximately $12 million dollars to about 650 charities across the country since the grants were launched 45 years’ ago.

United Way New Zealand CEO Teresa Moore says funding is directed to a range of small to medium community-based charities and not-for-profits across the country which are generally New Zealanders’ first port of call when they need help.

“Our aim is to empower every New Zealander to support their communities by making it easy and safe to give” says Moore.

United Way New Zealand donors include philanthropic funds, corporate donors and employees who contribute via workplace giving. A total of 160 individuals and organisations have contributed to this year’s Grant.

“We distribute the generous contributions of our donors to community-based charities without large marketing or fundraising resources inhouse, so it makes a significant impact to their ability to help New Zealanders in need.”

With Covid-19 showing no signs of going away anytime soon, the funding this year is need more than ever. Research conducted by United Way New Zealand earlier this year showed 98% of New Zealand charities have been affected by Covid-19, managing significant rise in demand for their services coupled with a reduction in funding.

Moore says you don’t have to donate a great deal to make a real impact.

“A team of people diverting the cost of a cup of coffee every week through United Way New Zealand’s payroll giving programme adds up to deliver a significant impact to a range community charities across the country, she says.

Applications close on 31 October. Application criteria and to apply for this year’s Community Grants can be found here.

You can find more about United Way New Zealand’s regular or payroll giving options here.


How many years has UWNZ done this? 

Since 1976

How much funding has been distributed over the years? 

Approximately $12 million

How many charities have received support via this funding? 

Approximately 640 charities

Where does the money come from? 

We have been donation managers for The Tindall Foundation since 1998.  Other donations are from corporates, workplace/payroll giving and individual donors

How much money was distributed last year? 


How much money will be distributed this year?

Approximately $490,000 ($240,000 has already been distributed this year from United Way's Covid-19 response fund)

How many people/organisations have contributed to this year's grant amount? 

Approximately 160

How does UWNZ choose grant recipients? 

United Way does an initial check to make sure the charity meets eligibility, if not it's declined. Then we have regional volunteers who visit and assess the remaining charities in November/February then the charities are advised in March.

How do charities apply? 

Apply here


Shimano keeps it local to support Kiwis through Covid-19

Several frontline community charities the length of New Zealand are supporting a greater number of New Zealanders manage the effects of Covid-19 thanks to the ingenuity and community spirit of Shimano New Zealand Ltd.


When United Way New Zealand launched our #Unite20 campaign in April to get emergency funding directly to community charities managing a surge in demand for services alongside a reduction in funding channels, Shimano New Zealand stepped up with an exciting proposal. In the spirit of Kiwi mateship and ingenuity, the team decided to donate 5% of all sales across the country during May and June to the #Unite20 Appeal. Just like that, Shimano’s Support your Local initiative was quickly launched.

United Way New Zealand CEO, Teresa Moore says Support Your Local represented everything United Way New Zealand stands for.

“United Way New Zealand’s vision is to provide every New Zealander with the ability to support their community, whether through volunteering, regular payroll giving or one-off donations. By designing a giving initiative including its national customer and stakeholder community, Shimano truly brought our vision to life.”

Shimano New Zealand Marketing Manager, Yvette Johnson, said the team was inspired by United Way New Zealand’s #Unite20 campaign as it directed funding quickly into many frontline community charities across the country.

“We’re a business which operates in communities of all sizes across New Zealand. We were pleased to find a partner with a firm track record in the community sector, which could get funding to the smaller charities working in communities all over the country.”

Shimano’s funding has been distributed to charities and not-for-profits supporting struggling New Zealanders from Kaitaia to Dunedin.

“Our research showed that 98% of New Zealand charities and not-for-profits have been affected by Covid-19. Thanks to the generosity of both individuals and corporate partners such as Shimano, we have raised over $240,000 which is enabling community charities all across the country to continue their critical work at a time when our communities need them the most,”

“Small actions when combined together result in very significant impacts,” says Moore.

The United Way New Zealand #Unite 20 Appeal has been extended until November. If you’d like to join those helping community charities support New Zealanders doing it tough, you can read about the charities and donate here.

Ensuring Kiwi children have something to look forward to this Christmas

United Way and New Zealand businesses partner to ensure more Kiwi children have something to look forward to this Christmas

Christmas is a firm date in the calendars of children the world over. However, not every child looks forward to Christmas. United Way New Zealand is once again partnering with businesses to make sure that’s not the case for a few more young New Zealanders.

According to Statistics New Zealand, about one in eight New Zealand children lived in households reporting material hardship in the year ended June 2019. And with Covid-19 resulting in job losses, financial pressure, interruptions schooling and social routines, this Christmas will be particularly hard for many New Zealand children.

United Way NZ CEO, Teresa Moore says this will be the second year United Way has run its Christmas Shoebox Campaign and it is looking to increase the number of families it can help this year.

“Last year we partnered with 28 groups to make sure 1022 children didn’t wake up with nothing to open on Christmas morning. This year we want to double that number.”

Moore says organisations are now looking for activities to re-engage employees following a very fragmented year. 

“Community impact activities are an often under-utilised employee engagement tool, and in a year where so much is out of our control, the simple act of filling a shoebox to help a child enjoy Christmas a little bit more, injects a real sense of achievement.”

Moore says organisations that participated last year reported really positive results, with increased engagement and positivity at a time of year where people are often running out of steam. Businesses also enjoyed the fact that participation is easy, with United Way New Zealand delivering boxes to workplaces, then distributing them to community groups across the country when they were filled.

And while participation injects some Christmas spirit into the workplace, the impact on recipients and their families is significant. Moore says every parent wants to give their children a good Christmas and the relief and gratitude expressed by families knowing they had the support of their community was quite often life-changing.

“Last year our shoeboxes went to children in refuges who had left everything behind to escape domestic violence, they went to families struggling to put food on the table and to those spending their first Christmas in New Zealand, separated from their own culture and family.”

“Thanks to people all over New Zealand just filling a shoebox, 1022 children and their families, were able to enjoy a little bit of Christmas magic. We think every child deserves that.”

For more information on the 2020 United Way Shoebox Appeal please click here

Sally O’Brien joins the United Way New Zealand team

At United Way New Zealand we’re partnering with an increasing number of New Zealand businesses looking to maximise the impact of their CSR and community engagement activity. So, we’re excited to announce that Sally O’Brien will be joining the United Way New Zealand whanau as National Partnership Manager.


Sally brings a wealth of experience working in both large private sector organisations and the not-for-profit sector. She began her career in the public sector, moving to roles in managed funds in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Following time out to grow her family, Sally was appointed as Volunteering Auckland’s employee volunteer coordinator where she assisted organisations with their corporate volunteering projects.


Sally is hitting the ground running at United Way New Zealand, getting stuck into helping us and our partners achieve our goal of doubling the number of children who will receive gifts this Christmas via our annual Christmas Shoebox Project. We’re sure you’ll be chatting to Sally soon, but in the meantime here’s the lowdown on United Way New Zealand’s newest team member.


How do you like to start your day?

With tea and a good morning cuddle from my kids. 


What is the best thing about living in New Zealand?

The freedom to roam around different landscapes and the understated kiwi sense of humour.  


What attracted you to United Way NZ?

I was fortunate to spend time with Teresa at a couple of workshops and cross business meetings and was impressed with United Way’s enthusiasm for partnerships with business and the not-for-profit sector. I like how United Way New Zealand has an all-encompassing approach to CSR and a ‘can-do’ attitude.


What is your favourite place in New Zealand?

Garston, Northern Southland 


How do you think organisations can best help New Zealand community charities?

Partnership is a great way to help not-for-profits and charities. Mainly because the benefits gained by both sides, leveraging skills and resources, and impact are best gained through this unique arrangement. It's also the best kind of business where doing good and doing well can work in harmony. 


What is the best advice you ever received?

“Always leave the party when you are having the best time”. My late Mum told me that years ago and, as usual, she was right. Thanks Mum


What was your best day at work ever?

Helping a group of volunteers run a Special Olympics Basketball competition. A lot of the corporate volunteers didn't know the first thing about the rules of basketball and were asked to referee. Once they got over their fear they just jumped in and made sure the kids got their competition day up and running. I think the volunteers actually got more out the day than the kids. It made me realise just how important the helping of others does so much to lift spirits. Something that resonates in the world right now I reckon.  


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am learning how to garden having no real success in the past so starting with apparently ‘no brainers’ like succulents.  This is from someone who can’t grow mint so wish me luck!!


 I like running in the Auckland  Xterra events. My husband and I also enjoy live music and we are looking forward to getting back to seeing bands from New Zealand and abroad soon.


Tea or coffee?

Both! Tea first thing in the morning and coffee before lunchtime



Youthline NZ is changing lives

Youthline works with young people, their families and those supporting young people. The organisations are made up of volunteer and paid staff members - and has centres based across the country. 

Youthline was established in 1970 and forms a collaboration of youth development organisations across the country. They were created to ensure young people know where to get help and can access support when they need it. At the core of Youthline’s work is the development of leadership and personal skills in young people. We do this by involving young people; both those who seek assistance and those who wish to develop themselves.

Youthline have 10 centres around New Zealand. They are located in:

  • Invercargill
  • OamaruNZ map
  • Dunedin
  • Central South Island (Office located in Christchurch)
  • Wellington
  • Palmerston North
  • Manukau
  • Auckland Central
  • West Auckland
  • Albany

Youthline works collaboratively to provide a free, nationwide Helpline service. Locally, they all provide different services, programmes and training for our communities.

They have an extremely supportive team that works at making the quality of life for New Zealand communities better. Their team is comprised of partners, volunteers and community helpers that give their time to Youthline.

To find out more about the centres and what each centre provides, Click here

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CRESCENDO Trust of Aotearoa

Crescendo is a visionary, unique and professional social enterprise that grows young people between the ages of 12-24 across various satellite hubs across Auckland. They provide services such as sound production, band and music groups and other creative areas. As a social enterprise, Crescendo works to provide opportunities for young people in Aotearoa through a range of commercial services. They generate income through gigs, event management, video and sound production, and integrate this into their programmes. Not only does this provide Crescendo with revenue, but also real-life work experience and income opportunities for their rangatahi. 



To Join Crescendo:
  • Crescendo's programme is called the "Link Up." The LinkUp allows you to pick the modules that will benefit you in your journey to being a more self sustained artist. The music industry has multiple pathways. Crescendo recognise that there are different creative areas people want to explore and hence, compiled different pathways into specific units and broken down each unit into modules. Their units cover beat making, production, song writing, live performance, radio broadcasting, how to promote yourself and more!

  • Each module in the LinkUp is taught weekly. The weekly group sessions are run two times a day (11am-3pm with time for lunch and 4pm-6:30pm), Monday-Friday. Crescendo recommend each young person book for 1 of these sessions only 1 day/week.

  • Advanced students have the option to book in for additional solo sessions any available time 11am-7pm Mon-Fri, where they are making all the music and pushing all the buttons (with a mentor floating around for help as requested).

  • Crescendo also offer 2 hour 1:1 mentoring sessions for those looking for intensive sound recording and radio teaching and or want a way to ease into group work.

  • Each week rangatahi will progress through learning modules, until they complete and receive their certificate. The learning modules are set up to run from 1-6 weeks in length and are designed so that you do not need to take the sessions consecutively, allowing for the rangatahi to book in their learning to suit their schedule.




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Life Matters - Dedicated to reaching zero suicide in the health system.

Life Matters is building a community that supports young people around New Zealand suffering with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. 

Navigating the mental health system can be complicated.Research done by Life Matters have found that there are 5 key issues for individuals trying to reach out for help in New Zealand

  • Difficulty Accessing Services - Finding a service that has enough room, especially during the spike in mental health issues during the Covid-19 lockdown is a problem for people all around New Zealand


  • Lack of Compassion - Many mental health professionals are volunteers and can be overworked, meaning that people needing treatment for mental health do not get the correct attention needed to help overcome mental health issues. 


  • Lack of Follow-up - Often, after seeing a mental health professionals, people are just left to go on with life by themselves. Follow-ups are just as important as treatment. 


  • Inadequate support for families and loved ones - The mental health system provides no guidance to families who have lost a loved one to suicide. After a suicide, comes grief. Huge, monumental, incomprehensible grief. While navigating this grief a family is also then confronted by the vicious bureaucratic realities of death: funeral expenses, tying up loose ends, debt collection agencies, legal matters and, too often, questions of culpability.


  • Stigma - seeking health can be difficult for anybody, especially when there is a stigma around mental health issues and seeking help. We should be committed to ending the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness. If we, as a society, can talk loudly about these issues that affect so many of us, then these barriers to support can be broken down.


Each of these key issues have been identified by Life Matters as reasons for individuals not truely getting the help they need. 


Man in sun


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Just Zilch is New Zealand’s longest running free store

Last week we called Rebecca from Just Zilch to have a chat to her about how Just Zilch has grown from its outset to become the biggest free food store in New Zealand!


How did Just Zilch Start?

Just Zilch started because I was volunteering at another organisation that had leftover food. I got permission to give that food away around town. I found I was always really busy and people were responding to it. I then found out about the concept of a food store and though that was a great idea seeing as that was what I was basically doing! I took that idea and over the next 9 months developed it and found a team that were wanting to work with me. In June 2011 we opened?


How has Just Zilch changed?

The growth has been unbelievable. In the first year we were serving around 80 people a day. Now, we have over 300 people come through the shop a day. The sheer numbers have drastically increased. This has meant we rely on a whole lot more on volunteers.


What challenges have to Covid-19 lockdown presented?

Because we were not clarified as an essential service, we worked with other social services such as the Salvation army and Methodist food banks and gave them the food we collected, and they put it into packs that were then delivered to households. This provided some

 relief to families that were low on food.


What are your plans for the future of the food bank?

It has been really amazing because, over the lockdown period, we got more food than we ever had before. Particularly in terms of non-perishable food. This is very exciting because we have been able upscale the other part of what we do which is keep food in our warehouse which we acquired last year. This meas. We have been able to give food to other community organisations. Whanganui, Levin, Rotorua, Hawkes bay and even the South Island! We have had the help of very generous transport companies such as PBT helping us with this.

What are the guidelines around donating food?

There are no rules really. We are set up to take perishable foods. If people have food from their garden like fruits and vegetables, we are able to take them. If people are cleaning out their cupboards and are able to donate it, we will take those kinds of things too. Even if businesses want to donate bigger lots of food we are able to take that too!

What is your volunteer process?

It is really, really easy! We now have a volunteer coordinator as we have to many volunteers!

We ask people to email or come in and see the volunteer coordinator.


What are the volunteer’s responsibilities?

It depends what they’re doing. We have around 110 volunteers every week. We have a shop so in the morning some duties include cleaning, collecting food. When the shop opens, we need shopkeepers/servers.


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Corstorphine Community Hub's mission to promote wellness

People smiling

Corstorphine Community Hub is a place set up by the community for the community. Operating in Dunedin the hub opened in 2013 with a community garden, but today they have grown to become a centre where whanau can access a broad range of free health and social services, attend workshops and classes, collect free food or just come along to meet people and enjoy the company of others.

The hub provides a food share on Fridays to around 130-140 whanau in need each week. The food is delivered to Corstorphine team, unpacked, repacked and put into family boxes for those who need it to pick up. With the help of Kiwi harvest being their main providers, Corstorphine was considered an essential service throughput the lockdown period, and they were able to provide a sense of relief to the families they support.


We spoke to Dale at Corstorphine Community hub:

“As recipients, we had the pleasure of meeting one of the providers of Kai to Kiwiharvest and discuss with them the issues whanau face when shopping for our most basic necessity, food. Countdown staff recognised the increase in declined eftpos transactions and wanted to talk to a community group to find out how we work with whanau to support them and what were the most unaffordable items for whanau, that was simple, fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and cleaning products.. This is a first for us all, recipients meeting providers through the awesome mahi of the KiwiHarvest team.... Kia manuia koutou and thank you for your constant support."

“At the end of the day its all worth the smiles, tears and relief to whanau.” - Dale Pene-Smith, Corstorphine Hub Coordinator.

If you would like to donate to Corstorphine community hub;

Click Here


3M and United Way New Zealand joined forces recently to help community charities and support services across New Zealand experiencing increased demand for their services due to Covid-19. On behalf of 3M, United Way New Zealand has distributed NZ$89,975 (US$59,000) in emergency funding to 16 community charities across New Zealand which are on the frontlines of supporting New Zealanders with the effects of the global pandemic.

A total of 98% of community frontline charities have been directly affected by Covid-19 according to research conducted in April  by United Way New Zealand, managing a surge in demand alongside reduced sources of income. United Way New Zealand Chief Executive, Teresa Moore said small to medium community charities are acutely affected as they are the first port-of-call for those in need and do not have in-house marketing or fundraising resources.

“While there’s no doubt that Covid-19 is impacting everyone; young people, the elderly and those living with mental health challenges, economic hardship and family violence are disproportionately affected, says Moore. 

“Thanks to 3M we were able to get funding straight to those charities on the frontlines, so they could help those most affected by Covid-19,” said Moore.

Community charities are also being approached by increasing numbers of people who have not needed support before. Food banks across the country have reported daily demand increasing more than 20 times. A charity supporting the elderly received over 1200 calls in three days as shopping for groceries online became necessary, and mental health charities, particularly those supporting youth require funding to bring in additional counsellors to support a growing number of young New Zealanders in crisis.

Charities are expecting demand to continue to grow for another three to six months, and not drop for quite some time. Many are bracing for the wage subsidy scheme which is coming to an end next month.

“Since the outbreak began, 3M has addressed the COVID-19 pandemic from all angles and across all stakeholders, and this includes supporting our community partners around the world,” said Chris LeBlanc, Managing Director, 3M Australia and New Zealand. “It’s important that 3M holds true to its core values during this pandemic by supporting our communities and improving lives. Throughout this global crisis, we will continue to look for ways to help in the fight against COVID-19.”

United Way New Zealand works alongside donor organisations such as 3M to maximise the impact of their CSR by designing and executing bespoke workplace giving and volunteering programmes which align with that organisation’s people, values and the communities they work within.

"It's rewarding to know our funding is going to where it is needed most," said LeBlanc.

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