2020 was the “year of extreme challenges, but also many graces”, according to Catholic Caring Foundation (Auckland) manager Ann Marie Parker, as the foundation was able to give out grants of more than $1million.
“When we reflected back on 2020, the team at CCF felt honoured that we could play our part in responding to the increased demand for our grants,” Mrs Parker said.
The team is made up of Mrs Parker, vicar for social impact and communications Lorraine Elliott and coordinator of grant and donor administration Tofa Pereira.
“There were days when the phone was red hot and our email inboxes were full, but through that we had such great support from donors who wanted to help,” Mrs Parker added.
She observed that the problems of many families brought on by the pandemic will be carried over into this year.
“We know there will be a new layer of vulnerable families this year,” she said.
She said that, during the lockdowns, she was struck by how these families were living on the knife’s edge, without reserves to fall back on once they lost their jobs.
She said the CCF is closely monitoring how the foundation can best support social service agencies and organisations that work with these families.
“At the end of this month, we’ll be receiving our social impact accountability reports from our partner agencies. That would give us even more insights into how our agencies managed, and all of that crucial information that we can use to help us frame how we are going to give out grants this year,” she said.
Mrs Parker said they know that, out of 10,000 jobs lost during the pandemic, more than 9000 were jobs lost by women.
“That has a really huge long-term impact on the families. That is an area that we have to look at and really take a deep dive. We have to look at that really clearly, and in more depth, so that, when we go into our grants round this year, we have got some really good solid information behind us,” she said.
Mrs Parker said that one of the advantages they had, as a philanthropic institution, was having connections to the grass roots through the parishes, marae, St Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Social Services. This meant they were able to target the neediest in terms of giving food parcels and counselling support.
“Once we were able to communicate to our supporters that the most vulnerable are the ones that are going to be affected the most, [and to] please help us to support them, all kinds of wonderful support came through,” she said.
The Tindall Foundation gave them extra funding, over and above what they usually donate, to help respond quickly to the situation.
“One thing that we are so grateful for is the level of support that we
received. Our donors really show their faith in action,” she said.
Mrs Parker said that, throughout the philanthropic sector, there was an expectation that donations would dwindle.
“If anything, we gained more donors once they saw the type of help we did,” she said.
Covid-19, she said, “allowed us to forge stronger relationships with some of our partner organisations, so that we could collectively work together to make head-way on some of the emerging problems that were surfacing for our families.”