Lion Foundation are really helpful in terms of disclosure. Check their website out: they make it super easy to see who was funded by Territorial Authority, AND they also show who did not receive funding. If I had a criticism, it’s the gap around the WHY (and that’s where Pub Charity’s disclosure is pretty good).
And the other thing that separates Lion from many of the gaming trusts… they actually have women making decisions around where the funds go. I know! What a crazy idea.
In their financial year to 31 March 2016, they spent a total of $1.6m in grants, and in a wide range of places. Of course, 40% to sport… and of course rugby union and cricket got the largest amounts. Health and Wellbeing are a surprise, but looking at the data that’s driven by $200k to St Johns – probably for some capital spend. Nice to see a complete balance of spend.
One comment however: cost to serve. They made 205 grants in Canterbury. Some 117 of these totalled less than $5000. My (admittedly wobbly) numbers on cost to serve from last year suggest they have costs of over $4k per grant. So… it’s costing more to get the grant out than the grant actually being given. And it’s is before the cost of applying for the grant by the not for profit is taken out.
Now, one concept I have been hearing a bit about lately is Middle Class Capture – which I guess means that the folks who actually don’t need stuff get stuff. A slightly uncomfortable concept in a so called egalitarian society. This can be seen at universities, where scholarships are set up for post grad study – when actually the desire was for getting the poorer but able kids into higher education. I can see this as well with grants.
Using the Phil Twyford methodology to identify “middle class” groups, and looking at the Lion data, some 59% of money is going to those “middle class” organisations, 32% to the wider community (ie, anyone) and the balance to poorer communities. Included in the Middle Class group are arts groups such as the Sweet Adelines, sports clubs such as Bowls and Marching (and of course rugby and cricket), some schools, such as Rangi Ruru. Now, us middle class are perfectly entitled to ask for support, but this entitlement can sometimes mean that what is to all intents and purposes a hobby can become a leech on the philanthropic dollar. If you want to get together as a group and sing then that’s great. Just not quite sure why you expect that the community should subsidise you to do that. And if the group is getting funds because it drinks at the local gaming venue… well, I do suspect that behaviour may be frowned upon by DIA.
Now, you can argue my categorisation and methodology: after all, I have no basis for the categorisation other than my own bias. But regardless of the numbers: it’s an important conversation for us to have. What is the public benefit of some of this stuff vs the private benefit? How can we reduce the transaction costs?
Would love to talk with you if you think this is just a little bit interesting.