Charity Funding Shortfalls at Record Levels - Data

Allan Pollard. Supplied image.

Hundreds of charities and community groups are struggling to meet multimillion-dollar revenue shortfalls as the impact of Covid lockdowns continue - according to new figures.

A local initiative which offers $1m in funding to charities and community organisations has had applications for over six times the amount of available funds this year.

New funding data shows the need is greatest amongst charitable organisations which provide social services on the front line of Covid - with community support groups making up over half (52 per cent) of those that have been allocated funding this month.

Many of these groups require urgent financial support to cover operating overheads such as power, rent and insurance.

Local sporting organisations made up a fifth (21 pe cent) of those who will receive critical funding, with environmental initiatives accounting for a seventh (14 per cent) of applications and cultural groups making up the remaining 13 per cent.

A record 259 charitable organisations and groups applied to receive a share of the million-dollar fund, a 50% increase over any previous year in the fund’s history.

Allan Pollard, CEO of The Trusts, which established the Your West Support Fund, says that many of these organisations have relied on revenue from gaming foundations and other sources which have been heavily impacted by the lockdown.

“The volumes of funding applications we have had in recent months is far in excess of what we have experienced before.

“We know many of these organisations have relied on funding from gaming machines to help them meet the needs of those in the community they support, and the extended lockdown has effectively cut off this source of revenue overnight.

“As a result, the shortfall between what we can offer these organisations and what they have applied for is around $5.6m - with significantly more unmet need in the wider community.

“Our understanding is one of the reasons for the unprecedented need for funding is the impact of Covid and the greater demand by our community for support from these charities,” he says.

Pollard says his organisation set up a $1 million fund, made up of profits from the business, to provide dozens of community groups with up to $50,000 each towards projects which support those living in West Auckland.

He says while there is greater recognition of their organisation as a source of financial support in the region, the deficit among these groups this year is significantly greater than their resources can support.

“But what we are faced with is a substantial number of charities now wanting to access this resource with the total need much higher than we can meet as a single organisation.

“Along with charities which support our most vulnerable residents and sporting clubs there has been a significant increase in the number of applications from environmental and arts groups needing our support this year over previous years,” he says.

Pollard says it is concerning to see the need jump sixfold in just one year and says the ongoing effects of Covid are continuing to impact these charities and the communities they serve.

He says they expect to be able to distribute the million-dollar fund to the 130 successful applicant groups later this month and have focused on supporting local community groups that have few other funding sources.

“We have worked to allocate funding to help ensure the continuity of as many groups as possible.

“The impact of Covid it has seen a shift away from funding capital projects, events and those organisations with access to government funding and instead, helping our essential local groups meet their immediate day-to-day expenses so they can weather the ongoing impact of lockdowns in our region,” he says.

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