Haere mai, céad míle fáilte and welcome to the Hugo Charitable Trust

As I write this the world is in the grips of a deadly outbreak of Coronavirus that is devastating the world’s populations and economies.

In an attempt to contain the virus, the New Zealand Government has imposed a four week lock down as well as providing unprecedented financial support to the thousands of businesses and individuals who will see their income stream suspended. Regardless of the success or not of the measures to contain the virus, our economy if not devastated will be hugely damaged.

In our view the resources and the expertise of the Hugo Charitable Trust will be needed more than ever in the aftermath of COVID-19. We expect businesses will fail, unemployment will rise, and unmet social need will be abundant. We expect there to be a gap between the needs of many of our people and what the Government is able to provide. That gap will need to be met at least partly by funding from philanthropic groups.

With that in mind I have asked our donations team to focus on the essential needs such as food, shelter, healthcare and access to education for the immediate future. At Hugo we pride ourselves on being nimble and so we acted quickly when approached for $50k seed funding to establish the Wakatipu Greatest Needs Fund. The fund will be used to support immigrant workers, which in itself is pleasing considering Hugh Green was once an immigrant worker.

And now for the good news – Hugo is nearly three years old and during that time we have given our first $10m of funding to 288 great charities.

Our conservative investment strategy has served us well and we still have our initial capital base of $75m despite the market turmoil we have seen. Support provided by our founder has made it possible for all of the income from our investments to be available for charity, with nothing taken out for costs for another year.

I would like to thank our donations team of Julia, Aoibheann and Kayleigh for all of their hard work over the last year searching out and researching many worthwhile charities and making a big difference to so many peoples lives. Thank you also to Kerry for managing the trust funds to allow the donations to be paid.

Everyone in the Hugo Team knows that the next twelve months is going to be demanding and everyone in the Hugo Team is up for it.

Mark Owens