New Plymouth Riding for the Disabled is the latest community group to set up a fund through Te Karaka Foundation and within a matter of weeks of being established the fund has received a $5,000 donation. 

“We’re looking to the future and we hope over a period of time to build a reserve endowment fund to provide greater surety for years to come and the security to plan ahead. The fund is already off to a good start,” says RDA President Kevin Nielsen.

Like most charitable organisations, RDA relies on a combination of grants, community fundraising and user fees to maintain their services.

“It’s a year-to-year process and even though we’ve been going for more than 40 years raising funds doesn’t get any easier,” says Nielsen.

Through his former role leading Hospice Taranaki, Kevin was aware of Te Karaka Foundation: “I like the model – it gives people an opportunity to leave their assets or estate to Te Karaka to manage benefiting Taranaki people and charities well into the future.”

The community foundation model sees donor funds pooled and invested forever with only the income granted.

“By keeping the capital intact generation after generation can benefit from an annual distribution of income,” says Te Karaka Foundation Chair Ken Horner.

RDA provides goal-based riding activities that increase the ability, independence and confidence of people with physical, intellectual, emotional and social challenges.

“Horse riding has enormous therapeutic, educational and recreational benefits which helps young people with their independence and flows through to all aspects of their life,” says Nielsen.

Nielsen has seen the benefits in his own grandson, Zac, who attends regular riding sessions.

“I’ve seen Zac’s confidence and physical strength grow, which benefits him outside of riding too – initially he leant forward clutching the horse and now he has the core strength to sit straight and hold the reins.