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Give and Be Happy

Stephen Tindall is one of the wealthiest men in New Zealand and also one of the most generous. The Tindall Foundation gives away millions of dollars every year. Stephen says the satisfaction he gets from the Tindall Foundation is greater than what he received from turning The Warehouse into one of New Zealand’s most successful companies.

As well as giving directly to charities, the Tindall Foundation provides core funding for Community Foundations so funds can be channeled according to the needs of each community as determined by local trustees. There are currently eleven Community Foundations through New Zealand (see www.nzcommunityfoundations.org.nz).

Community Foundations play an important role. They provide a means by which people can make a gift to their local community either during their lifetime or through their will. The funds received are invested in perpetuity and the interest is used to support local charities. Donors can specify the charities they wish their funds to go to. Run by voluntary trustees, Community Foundations have very low operating costs, making them a cost effective way for people to leave a lasting legacy for their community.

Bill Holland of the Acorn Foundation advocates using what I call “The 90/10 Principle” for bequests. When you are writing your will, consider leaving 90% of your estate to your family and 10% to your local community. After all, your children have benefited from the charities in your local community while they have been growing up. Bequeathing 10% of your estate is a way of paying them back and ensuring that the next generation will continue to be supported. If your estate is worth $500,000, will your children really miss $50,000?

According to Kevin O’Connor, Chairman of the Nikau Foundation, “the happiest people are not those who get more but those who give more”. I agree.

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