$3 million of generosity

$3 million of generosity

14 May 2015

More than $3 million has now been donated to hundreds of charities and schools around New Zealand by Spark New Zealand employees, through one of the country’s most successful and long standing payroll giving programmes.

The Spark Foundation’s payroll giving programme enables all permanent and fixed term Spark employees the opportunity to donate to any New Zealand registered charity or state and state integrated school, directly from their pay.

Each employee also receives dollar for dollar matching from the Spark Foundation on the first $1000 of charitable giving, and a separate $1000 matching cap for donations to schools, which is renewed annually.

Since the programme’s initiation, more than 780 charities and schools have benefited from around 28,000 Spark employee donations, and matching donations from the Spark Foundation.

General Manager of the Spark Foundation Lynne Le Gros says this milestone is a reflection of the generosity of Spark’s people and she’s delighted that this programme is making such a positive difference in the community.

“We often hear about the ways these donations are helping the charities and schools that our people choose to support,” she says.

“For example, the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation recently told us that donations from Spark people helped to fund valuable research through a Radiation Therapy Honours Scholarship for a student at the University of Otago.”

Principal of Mana College in Porirua, Mike Webster, says his school received donations from a past student through the Foundation’s payroll giving programme earlier this year, and the unexpected money was a huge bonus that will create real benefits for the children and the community.

"The donations will be put towards the highest need," says Mr Webster. "At this stage we're thinking it might be used to support children that need a bit of extra help by getting a teacher aide on board for a few extra weeks.”

“Or it may be used to help fund essentials items, such as shoes or jumpers in winter, for children whose family are struggling to afford these items."

Payroll giving was introduced in New Zealand in 2010 and the Spark Foundation has been operating the programme since it began in July 2011.

Payroll giving also offers employees an immediate tax deduction so for every $15 donation, only $10 is deducted from the person’s salary.

Quick facts

  • 784 schools and charities have received donations through the Spark Foundation’s payroll giving programme
  • 28,274 individual donations have been made through the Foundation’s programme
  • 2138 Spark people (past and present) have participated in payroll giving since it began in 2011
  • The current participation rate among Spark employees is 16.4% (financial year to date). International benchmarking shows participation rates of greater than 10% is commendable.
  • The average donation for the current financial year (to date) is $68
  • Breakdown of the $3 million milestone (latest figures): $1,884,064 donated by Spark employees and $1,134,437 matching by Spark

Notes to editor:

The Spark Foundation (formally Telecom Foundation) is a charitable trust funded by Spark New Zealand. Key activities of the Foundation include:

  • Owning and operating online crowdfunding platform Givealittle.co.nz as New Zealand’s only zero fees fundraising platform, enabling generous New Zealanders to donate almost $2 million dollars each month to deserving causes with the confidence every dollar will get through.
  • Powering pledge-based crowdfunding programme Spark My Potential (www.sparkmypotential.co.nz) to help talented New Zealanders achieve their ambitions – with selected projects receiving top up funding from Spark New Zealand.
  • A key funding partner of the Manaiakalani Education Trust, which is focused on using revolutionary digital learning methods to improve learning outcomes and student engagement in economically-challenged communities. The Manaiakalani programme began in Tamaki, Auckland, and is now being extended into other communities across the country.
  • Operating a best practice payroll giving programme that has benefited schools and charities with donations totalling more than $3 million, through the generosity of Spark employees and donation matching by Spark New Zealand.
  • Organising volunteering programmes under which Spark New Zealand employees can spend a workday helping in the community each year.

For more information please contact:

Geraldine Ramirez
Marketing and Communications Manager, Spark Foundation
Spark New Zealand
+64 27 635 8308
Geraldine.Ramirez@spark.co.nz

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