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Spectrum Foundation funds over $200,000 worth of disability projects

Spectrum Foundation is delighted to confirm the distribution of over $200,000 of funding to seven community organisations, supporting disabled people and their whānau from across Aotearoa New Zealand.

It’s the first time the Spectrum Foundation has had an open funding round and CEO Sean Stowers is excited to see the difference the initiatives will make. “As a large organisation working in the disability space, we know there’s significant need out there in the community. We feel one of the best ways to meet that need is by supporting people doing mahi ‘at the coalface’. By helping those people and projects access the funds they need, we’re confident they’ll make an even bigger impact,” he says.

A previous closed funding round saw funds allocated to Autism New Zealand, Parent 2 Parent, The D-List, and Spectrum Care’s ‘Gig Buddies’ programme. This first open funding round announcement reaffirms Spectrum Foundation’s vision to provide up to $1 million annually to projects and initiatives in the disability space.

“We were delighted to receive many great applications. It’s truly humbling to support some of the wonderful work people are doing,” says Stowers.

Stowers also acknowledged the work of Spectrum Foundation’s funding panel, which approves projects before they go to the Board for final sign off. The funding panel is composed entirely of people with lived experience of disability.

“The panel’s combined unique lived experience provides valuable insight into needs within the community and how projects will make a difference for disabled people. People like us,” says Ann Thomson, one of seven panel members. “All these projects will in some way give choices to disabled people and their whānau. That agency and empowerment is incredibly important when you’re navigating life with a disability, or advocating for whānau,” she says.

The organisations receiving funding are:

Auckland Disability Law Centre – to help provide free legal education and information services for disabled people across New Zealand.

Flying Kites – to develop resources and give advice to disabled people and their whānau, helping them access meaningful alternatives to current service options.

Independent Living Services Trust – to provide a free repair service for people in South Auckland with disability support equipment.

Interlock NZ – to help fund a weekly ‘Café Connect’ group in Cambridge, helping foster relationships and connection in a smaller community with limited activities for disabled people.

Panacea Arts Charitable Trust – to fund specialist weekly art therapy programmes for up to 28 young autistic people.

Project Employ – to fund a ‘job coach’ at Project Employ’s ‘Flourish Café’ programme, supporting participants’ transition into paid employment.

Turner Syndrome Association – to help fund the Turner Syndrome Association Summit 2023, ensuring people and whānau living with Turner Syndrome can attend the conference and access support, networking opportunities, and advice from experts and their peers.

“The Spectrum Foundation whānau is incredibly excited to see the impact these initiatives will have,” says Stowers. “We look forward to funding more projects like this in 2024 and beyond.”

Spectrum Foundation’s next open funding round commences in June 2024 and closes on 1 July.

Applications and enquiries can be made at www.spectrumfoundation.org.nz/funding.


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