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Chair's Report to 2009 Annual General Meeting

It has been my pleasure to reside as Chair for the past year and today to present my report for year ending 31 December 2008.


2008 was always going to be a year of challenges to maintain the Trust's steady progress in achieving our goal of $5 million, and I believe 2009 should again be steered on a cautious path taking into consideration the responsibility of managing these funds and their allocations.


The Financial Position of the Trust's performance and commitments during 2008 has left us with a small surplus of $45,057 given that the year began with $3,923,415 and ends with $3,98,472 Capital. Commitments for Scholarships as at 31 December 2008 $103,500, Future Leaders Programme $12,000 and Instep $10,000.


The Millennium Scholarships have increased to $5750 per student with an increase in the first year's allocation to $2000 with the three remaining years at $1250 each. The Scholarships have also been increased to two per college of over 1000 pupils at the discretion of this Trust giving consideration to the financial situation of that year. Numerous personal representation to Ruatoki College which has fallen on deaf ears, gives me cause to wish to offer this opportunity to another college rather than to continue with Ruatoki in the hope that the Millenium Fund can assist in the manner in which it was intended rather than lapsing into the Educational Purposes Fund.


The Future Leaders Programme has been hugely beneficial to the few students who have been selected or elected to take part. Student participation has always been disappointing, and the future of this programme in consideration of the funds required to maintain it may outweigh the beneficial advantages. I encourage all members of the Board to attend some of the sessions which Phil Laurence co-ordinates and I ask the question to the Trustees - can our funds be better utilised?, or are we presenting the Future Leaders Programme correctly to the schools? It is noted and has been acknowledged that this programme is also supported by the Acorn Foundation.


We chose to continue with the Future Leaders Programme under the guidance of Phil Laurence and allowed $15,350 in our 2008/2009 budget.


The Trust has enjoyed a greater public awareness by employing Monica Balvert-O'Connor as our Publicity Officer.


2008 has seen fewer presentations made to the Board than previously experienced. One of which was Priority One and we agreed to continue our support to the value of $10,000 towards the 2008 programme as presented to the Board by Mr Coker.


Sadly during the year we lost a valuable member of the Trust's Board namely Bob Addison. Bob had always been a major contributor to the ideas, philosphies and direction of the Board since February 1996. His passing was acknowledged and he is sadly missed at our meetings.


Planning is underway for celebrating the tenth year of the Millennium Scholarships and the 25th Anniversary of the Trust in February 2010. In consideration of the economic climate and our caretaker role of accummulated funds, these functions will not be lavish.


The Trust revitalised its contact with Patron, Doug Bull, who expressed his pleasure at being invited to our Christmas function.


I would like to thank all Trustees for their contribution in empowering youth in our regions and for the time and effort put into the Trust, also for being patient with me as your Chair during the past year.


I want to thank especially Peter Wood and his staff for their assistance during this year as Chair.


Ses MacKinnon


25 February 2009