Denise Dent

An embryonic community fund is seeking donors.

The West Otago Community Fund will eventually support local projects in the area with vital funding, through a permanent endowment overseen by the Clutha Foundation.

Similar funds already exist in Kaitangata and Owaka, and the Clutha Foundation also donates money directly to local good causes, in alignment with the wishes of benefactors.

Clutha Foundation donor and community engagement manager Denise Dent said the West Otago Community Fund had been kick-started with a $20,000 donation from a furloughed project.

‘‘Gloria McHutchon was instrumental in setting up the West Otago fund in 2021, with $20,000 residue from an early years fund that was no longer functioning.

‘‘Once the capital in the fund passes $50,000 the income will be paid out to local causes every year in perpetuity.

‘‘The larger the fund, the greater the payout.

‘‘These endowments have been set up by local people who are keen to establish a forever fund for their community, and there are already many examples of funds being disbursed to local projects.’’

One such endowment in West Otago, funded by the Clutha Foundation, was a $1000 donation to the KidzWay Early Learning Centre in Tapanui last year.

‘‘The donation allowed the centre to complete a larger project to improve its indoor area, purchasing quite a few new pieces of children’s furniture and soft furnishings to make it more homelike,’’ Ms Dent said.

This had increased opportunities for the children to ‘‘engage in the environment’’, and broadened their use of social language.

Teachers had reported improvements in social interactions and a greater ability for children to relax in a more familiar, homely setting.

As it was established by the West Otago community, disbursements from the community fund would remain in West Otago, she said.

‘‘These funds provide a wonderful way for generous people to ensure their gifts and bequests remain dedicated to the local communities they care about.

‘‘The fund is open for anyone to donate any amount to and donations made in a person’s lifetime receive a 33% tax refund.’’

Ms Dent encouraged interested parties to visit the Clutha Foundation website for further information, at