Benevolent Fund doing well in the face of global downturn

Issue date:

Managed by dedicated volunteers for all members

Saturday 14 November saw the Trustees and Chair gather for the Benevolent Fund AGM. All trustees are volunteers and include UFBA Past Presidents; Graeme Booth, Alan Burgess, Alan Cockburn (Chair), Bryan Styles, Ray Topia and former-UFBA CEO George Verry (ex officio). Apologies were sent from UFBA President James Walker, Vice-President Jason Prendergast and UFBA CEO Bill Butzbach.

UFBA Accountant Stephen Malanchak was welcomed onto the team as an advisor, being able to bring his sound accounting expertise. The compassionate and confidential support provided by Jane Davie as the main point of call for applicants, was also acknowledged.

Maintaining good financial performance

Established as a separate entity in 1990 with its own charity number, the UFBA Benevolent Fund provides financial grants to firefighters and their families in times of significant financial need. Today it maintains a healthy share portfolio of around $436,000 managed by Craigs Investment Partners. Each brigade member contributes $5 per annum (taken from brigades’ grant) and every member is entitled to apply to the fund.

Despite the financial markets being hit globally the fund value was only down by $15,000. This is much better than anticipated. It was also recognised that the dedicated $250,000 Covid-19 fund, supported by Fire and Emergency, would potentially be required for some time yet as long as Covid-19 remains a risk and impacts people’s livelihoods.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Having provided $103,000 worth of grants this past year alone has seen the fund at its busiest ever. One issue that is sometimes encountered is that members may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable asking for and receiving financial support.

Trustees discussed non-monetary ways of supporting members eg having a direct link to a person in Work & Income NZ (WINZ). Applicants may not be aware of other financial support available to them outside the Benevolent Fund. This is being researched further.

The Trustees also approved two more applications – situations so heart-rending that they remind us all exactly why this fund exists; to help firefighters and their families when they need it the most.

Please, don’t ever suffer in silence. While a grant can’t pay your mortgage or rent we can provide an important stepping stone to help get you through. Contact 0508 832 269 - applications must be made by an OIC or CFO on behalf of recipients.

UFBA Benevolent Fund AGM 2020

Pictured L-R : Alan Cockburn (Chair), Alan Burgess, George Verry, Bryan Styles, Stephen Malanchak, Graeme Booth and Ray Topia.