Council supports new fund for Canterbury environmental projects

A new charitable fund will help speed up the delivery of environmental projects in Waitaha Canterbury.

"We have established the Green Philanthropy Fund to help support the innovators in Canterbury," Chief Executive of the Christchurch Foundation Amy Carter said at the fund's launch at Riccarton Bush/Pūtaringamotu on Thursday 17 November.

"We believe that, in order to protect and enhance our natural environment while ensuring our rural sector can thrive and we can enjoy the environment for generations to come, we need to achieve more, faster. Our goal is to make it easier for businesses and individuals to give to science-led innovation, and to increase the pool of funding available to those individuals and groups striving to improve and protect our ecosystems.

"Canterbury's unique landscapes are something to treasure. We know that Cantabrians, both urban and rural, are passionate about our whenua/land, awa/water, and rerenga rauropi/biodiversity. As we look to the future, ensuring our ecosystems thrive is critically important."

Less than 4 per cent of money gifted in Aotearoa last year went towards the environment.

The fund will support:

  • projects that will make a proven ecological impact
  • innovative ideas that could be game-changing on farms and elsewhere
  • individuals and organisations leading ecological support and recovery.
Environment Canterbury Council Chair Peter Scott

Environment Canterbury Council Chair Peter Scott

Our role in fund

The fund is backed by a partnership between Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch Foundation and represents a long-term commitment to support evidence-based projects and organisations across all ecosystems in Waitaha.

"By contributing to the establishment and administration costs, all donated funds will be directed to charitable projects," Environment Canterbury Chair Peter Scott said.

Alternative models such as philanthropic funding provide a way for those who are able to contribute extra to do so, accelerating the delivery of projects and driving innovation, he said.

The Council will contribute $150,000 in the first year to establish the fund and for administration, then $100,000 for each of the following two years, adjusted for CPI (Consumer Price Index) changes.

"The Christchurch Foundation is an established organisation with a track record in philanthropic funding and we are excited to join them for the good of the environment. We think this fund will appeal to a range of people, including businesses looking to achieve some positive impact within the local community," Chair Scott said.

Download the report from the 21 October 2021 Council meeting (PDF File, 5MB).

How the fund will work

Donations can be made to the fund via the Christchurch Foundation website. Applications will be called for in 2023.

Eighty per cent of funds raised annually will be distributed the following year, with the other 20 per cent used to build an endowment fund. These funds will be invested with some of the income distributed annually and the remainder reinvested.

A panel of technical experts from across Waitaha will advise the Foundation on what projects and organisations to back. This group will be appointed in early 2023.

"We would like to particularly acknowledge Arapata Rueben, Professor David Norton and Madeknown for their support to date," Amy Carter said.

Former All Black Andy Ellis excited by ambassador role

Andy Ellis is looking forward to working to improve the ecosystems in Waitaha. The retired All Black grew up working on his parent's tomato farm in Canterbury and studied landscape architecture before rugby took over. 

"I am passionate about Canterbury and its ecology. There is something special about our place and I am excited about this fund and what we can collectively achieve," said Ellis.

Ellis is an advocate for taking a team approach. 

"I know from my own experience that most landowners, whether they are large or small, are always looking at ways to improve what they are doing, and I am particularly pleased that this fund will support farmers as well as environmental groups."

Ellis will help raise the fund's profile and is excited to share the stories of innovative solutions that come from it.