I last looked in any detail at the Air Rescue and Community Services grants a year ago as part of my mega update for One Voice, which culminated in a presentation on three years of grant funding (all this one the website). Before that was in October 2017 where I looked at where the money goes… turns out not much has changed. But as a glutton for punishment I still am keen to act as a vigilant eye for the community in analysing where these grant making bodies put their community money. I've also figured out that my work might be more interesting to more people if I look beyond Canterbury in the data, so I'm looking at some different stuff.
Now, once I had updated the spreadsheet there was something which stood out: namely the increase in giving between 2017 and 2018. The chart below looks at three full financial years, and half of the 2019 financial year (they have published data up until 31 December 2018, which is in the June 2019 financial year).
The other sector to get a bit more is Sport: football amounts have gone up considerably over the past few years, as has basketball. I’ve then looked at WHO received the funding. The average grant is just over $8k (excluding the Air Rescue grants), but in 2018 seven Third Sector Organisations received over $100k from this grant maker. Canterbury Regional Basketball Foundation got $185k, Cashmere Technical $149k, Mainland Football $129k, Ole Academy $123k, Ferrymead Bays $117k, Coastal Spirit $107k, and Theatre Royal $100k. What I have not done is look to see how that money has been applied: it’s not disclosed in this grant maker’s publications. A little head scratching for me is the $77,500 to Manakau Indian Association, which is Auckland based. This grant maker has no Auckland machines.
The total number of successful applicants leapt from 534 in 2017 to 650 in 2018. There is another big change in the data for this gaming trust: geographic spread.
I then went to the DIA website to look at changes in the management of gaming machines. There is lots of information there looking at pubs, location, pokie operator and numbers of machines. The data tells me that in two years the number of machines under this group’s control has increased by an astonishing 46! Over that same time, the national number machines REDUCED by over 860, driven in part by local government policies. This growth has largely come from the Wellington region (four new sites, two each lost by Pelorus and Infinity). So those organisations applying to Infinity or Pelorus could well have been left out in the cold this last year.
There has then been a growth in grants into Wellington: football got around 38% of the Wellington grants given, and rugby 11% and golf just under 10%. Indeed, if we EXCLUDE the Air Rescue grants from analysis, Wellington based organisations received 24% of the grants, with 15% of the machines. Who is missing out? Canterbury and Horowhenua. At least that’s if we assume, as Air Rescue does, that the Air Rescue has benefits over the whole country: however I personally think that, given the business is based in Canterbury, and there are different providers in other parts of the country, I suspect the main beneficiaries are those in Canterbury and the West Coast.
Air Rescue now publish their declines and partial approvals, and reasons for that. So, in the financial year 2018 they gave away $11.1m. They were asked for $21.8m. On the face of it, that a reasonable strike rate… however if we back out the Air Rescue requests and donations (as being a For Purpose Class 4 organisation, they are really set up to fund those organisations) we can see they were asked for $14.2m and gave $5.5m… so just over 38% of money given versus requested. Break this down by sector and it’s a different story: if you are in the Health and Wellbeing game, then that’s a 13% grant to request ratio. Community and Economic Development was pretty good at 41%, and Sport was a 39% ratio. The most common reason for declining, either in full or in part, was due to No Funds Available. No surprise here, but to my mind that means those round the table making those decisions decided other groups were more worthy.
I write about this stuff as believe that as need to understand where funding comes from, where it goes, and how it gets there. These organisations are legal. Third Sector organisations are perfectly entitled to ask for money from them. However, the potential for conflict of interest is reasonably high when we are talking money. As a citizenry we allow both those supplying money and those asking for money to operate, and as a community we need to ensure we have oversight over the organisations they choose to fund. There is an awful lot of spin in this game: a recent piece on Radio NZ talked about how pokies are funding kindies. However, when you look at the data, in 2017 gaming trusts gave $239k to preschools – less than 1% of the total given to all organisations. I reckon it’s a more informed conversation when we know more. Love to talk with you if you think this is at all interesting, and if you want to dive into the data a bit more then happy to do so. Check out my website http://www.delfi.co.nz/