During the past year the Trust received $15,399 in donations which was a substantial increase on the year previous ($3,750). As at 31 December 2019 our investment portfolio was worth $750,063 compared with $650,420 at the start of the year. The continuing decline in earning rates occasioned, in part, by the very low official cash rate (OCR) remains a concern. In order to address that and following discussions with the Trustee it was agreed that donations can now be credited to our income account (as opposed to the capital account) thus increasing the funds available to meet the 'here and now' need.
I acknowledge and thank NZ Post for their continuing support by way of their Community Post scheme.
Since its inception the Trust has made 588 grants worth in excess of $274,000. In 2019 we awarded 25 bursaries with an average value of $431. The assistance given continues to be wide and varied encompassing the whole gambit of education, sporting and cultural endeavour. 84% of the bursaries awarded went to first time applicants; 88% went to applicants resident in New Zealand; 88% of awards went to the grandchildren of Vietnam veterans; female recipients were ahead of their male counterparts 52% to 48% while 68% of recipients were aged <20 years of age with the remainder split between those aged between 20-30 (20%) and those aged 31> (12%).
Our website continues to attract a lot of attention and I thank our webmaster, Wayne Cribb, for his work. It can be accessed at www.evsayouthtrust.org.nz While the domain name is outdated it is well known within the Vietnam veteran community and we will not be changing it.
In December we launched our 25th Anniversary Essay Competition. It was very well supported and I congratulate all those who took the trouble to tell us their stories. I particularly acknowledge the entry of Awhi Bristowe, the winner of the senior section. Her story was an intensely moving one and a triumph of self over adversity. It features on our website. I acknowledge and thank Revera Cloud Services New Zealand for their generous sponsorship of the competition.
There have been no changes to the membership of the Board over the past twelve months. Can I thank my colleague Board Members; Kate Leys, Echo Lillicrap, Louise Mullane, Peter Roberts and Keith Miller as well as Anita Killeen, our Honorary Legal Advisor, for their professionalism and support. I thank Perpetual Guardian (the Trustee) for all their work and their preparedness to engage constructively with the Board.
The Trust is in good shape. We can face the future with confidence.
Ross Miller, MNZM, JP
28 March 2020