Here at WIO, finding the funding we need for our programmes certainly keeps us on our toes – we try to be as adaptable and creative as possible looking for opportunities wherever we can and also looking for ways to make what we do sustainable in the longer term. Currently we apply for grants and contracts and have some income from participant fees, however the demand for our programmes is greater than the resources we have available so we have been working on innovative ways to bridge this gap. To this end, we recently added two complementary strings to our bow in addressing this issue and you may have already heard a little about them.
The Whenua Iti Foundation is the new philanthropic arm of WIO. It will encourage donations and support the wonderful people who support our work. We hope to make this a two way process – if you know a gap that needs to be filled (maybe an age group that is not currently accessing WIO programmes) tell us and we can work together to find funding. If you want to support one or several people in attending programmes or help us buy much needed equipment , we can work with you to develop a project to support. The Foundation will also deliver events and other activities that make WIO more open to the public so people get a better idea of what we are up to. This is also a great way to fund programmes and equipment that are otherwise hard to gain funding for. The Foundation will also offer scholarship placements on some programmes making WIO accessible to everyone.
Secondly, ExpedNZ is the new, international division of WIO and encourages people from overseas to spend time with us – this could be international students studying at a New Zealand school, an American on a Gap Year, a UK school student on an overseas trip… proceeds from these trips go directly into the Whenua Iti Foundation to provide funding for scholarships and programmes for our local community. The other aspect of this opportunity that we think is fantastic for our local youth, is that we can build opportunities for example for internships, so that the young people who are on or who graduate from our programmes have another step to gain experience working with visitors from overseas. This is exactly what they need to turn their learning at WIO into a successful career in the tourism industry.
An example of how this will work is that in May and June we have American students visiting from the Universities of Portland and Oregon which provides the perfect platform for our Manaaki Tāpoi Level 3 students to practice their new skills and knowledge in welcoming and teaching the American students about the Māori culture right in the middle of the Abel Tasman National Park. The American students get an authentic Aotearoa experience, get to mix with local youth and get to give back to the community they are spending time in. The Whenua Iti Foundation will channel funds received from the trip into programmes for our local youth. We hope you agree this is a winning combination!
We are excited about what this could mean for us in future and we hope you are too. We’ll put up more blog posts with more information in the coming weeks and explain more about how you can be involved including events here at WIO, opportunities to sponsor a programme and also information about new scholarships you can apply for. In the meantime, if you want more informtion contact [email protected]
And if you want to know… WIT – Whenua Iti Trust – the registered name of our charity WIO – Whenua Iti Outdoors – the operational base of WIT WIF – Whenua Iti Foundation – the philanthropic arm of WIT ExpedNZ – the international division of WIT www.wio.org.nz