The Gemini Trust was set up in 1995 to support the work of CCS Disability Action Waikato, the local branch of New Zealand’s largest disability support and advocacy organisation. CCS Disability Action supports disabled people 0-65 years old, with impairments of any type.
Its Waikato Local Executive Committee recently established the ‘Fund for CCS Disability Action Waikato’ at Momentum Waikato by transferring over its investment portfolio. This has allowed the Gemini Trust to be wound up, while ensuring its mission continues forever.
The work of CCS Disability Action Waikato makes a huge difference in the lives of disabled people and their whaanau across the Waikato, Coromandel and King Country.
A heart-warming example is that of Lexy and her foster parents Maree and Dave in Te Aroha.
The kind and generous couple have opened their home to many children in need over the years, mostly on a short-term basis. One day they received a call about a 15-month-old toddler called Lexy, who came to live with them soon after and is now 12.
“She’s a complete social butterfly,” says Maree.
“At school – which she loves – she likes to walk through all the classes and give everyone a big wave. She just brings so much love and laughter into our home. She’s a joy to have in our lives.”
Lexy has a wide range of support needs, as she lives with physical, learning, and neurological impairments. Maree acknowledges her care is demanding, particularly as Lexy is very curious and likes to be busy.
“She does need one-on-one support almost all the time. She certainly gets us out of bed in the morning and often has us running to keep up with her,” she explains.
The family is supported by CCS Disability Action’s Waikato branch. They have had several team members in their lives and Maree describes the team as “brilliant”.
Getting behind the family with whatever they need, support is wide-ranging but largely involves behind-the-scenes support, for example, tracking their support allocations and budget, or working with Oranga Tamariki and other agencies.
“She amazes me every day,” says Maree. “Some of that is her and who she is, and some of that is down to the team of people around her.”
This wrap-around support has in part been enabled by the support the Gemini Trust has provided to CCS Disability Action Waikato over the years – since 1995 it has passed across over $1 million.
The Trust’s grants fund the tailored support for people like Lexy across the region, and provide scholarships for disabled people to attend The University of Waikato.
In its early years, the Gemini Trust’s focus was on traditional fundraising activities such as an annual ‘bucket appeal’. For some years this was supplemented by income from its ownership of The Christmas Heirloom Company, which it sold in 2007, with the proceeds later being invested with Craigs Investment Partners.
CCS Disability Action Waikato Local Executive Chair and Gemini trustee Mike Garrett says the same challenges faced by many charitable trusts led to their decision to move to a new Fund at Momentum Waikato.
“A key reason for our move to Momentum is to ensure the long-term sustainability and income growth of the investment fund we’ve managed, so as per its original intent, it continues to benefit disabled people locally,” says Mike.
“Also, with pressures on peoples’ time and resources, it had become increasingly difficult to recruit trustees with the right level of skill and stewardship to ensure the funds are well managed and distribution benefits are realised in accordance with the trust deed objectives.
“We also appreciate that Momentum Waikato actively connects with a wide range of people across the community, so are pleased to now be one of the giving options they can offer to the public,” says Mike.
Momentum Waikato welcomes the establishment of the Fund for CCS Disability Action Waikato (FCDAW) and is proud to be playing a part in providing the resources needed to ensure that people like Lexy and her family get the support they need.
You too can support this mahi by donating to the Fund for CCS Disability Action Waikato, just visit momentumwaikato.nz/ccsdisabilityactionwaikato.