SUPPORT: Prefects and Year 13 students are leading Dio’s fundraising and service efforts for the Waikato Women’s Fund.

When the call went out for students to help with meet-and-greet and waitressing duties for the Waikato Women’s Fund launch in July 2018, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls stepped up, beginning a special connection that now sees the two organisations supporting the women of the Waikato.

Each year, the Anglican girls’ school supports a major local charity or organisation with fundraising, service, and awareness building.

“We support these giving traditions without question and enjoy doing so,” says Dio Head Girl, Holly Mills. “As students, we are encouraged to be involved in many social services initiatives and these activities are embedded in the teaching and learning programmes, the annual calendar, and student leadership structures. It is satisfying to offer assistance and support to others who do not enjoy the same advantages as we do,” she says.

The Waikato Women’s Fund-Te Ira Waahine o Waikato is a unique concept that exists so that women and girls, and their communities, can achieve their aspirations.

Fund Establishment Committee member, Natasha Harvey, says that their mission is to grow a fund, make grants, and celebrate women and girls.

“We know that women and girls are worth it and they are at the heart of everything we do and we know that they are experts in their own experience. They can identify their own needs and develop their own solutions.”

It’s not a unique concept – the idea of philanthropy, community foundations and giving circles are becoming well established within New Zealand. And this, says Natasha, is at the heart of the vision on which the Waikato Women’s Fund is founded.

“But this fund is unique,” she adds, “because it is specifically to support women and girls and as a result embodies so many of the amazing qualities that are often associated with women – collaboration, accessibility, vision, and inclusiveness.”

The Momentum Waikato Community Foundation has provided the infrastructure and guidance to get the fund off the ground.

“We are at the start of our journey,” says Natasha. “We have a huge ambition to bring people together to make a difference in the lives of women and girls across the Waikato. We are super excited that Waikato Diocesan School for Girls has chosen the Waikato Women’s Fund to support in 2019. Their call to action is similar to ours - of actively engaging in our community, contributing what you can, telling others, and sharing in a vision for a better Waikato for women and girls.”

The Dio students have started gathering ideas of how they can support the fund both financially and in a more hands-on way. They will present their ideas to the Fund's Establishment Committee next month.

To learn more or to donate now, visit the Waikato Women’s Fund website.