Ask Greg Alford, ANZ’s Director of Institutional Relationships, why he supports YMCA’s efforts to empower young people and he doesn’t have to think long for an answer: “We all benefit from helping young people prepare for their future. Giving them the opportunity to develop leadership and other life skills is a great way to build strong communities.”
Greg is on the advisory board of the ANZ Staff Foundation – a charitable trust supported through payroll giving by more than 2,000 of the bank’s employees. Their donations are matched dollar for dollar by ANZ, and so far the Foundation has distributed over $4 million to more than 550 charities nationwide.
Recently the Foundation threw its support behind a YMCA initiative to empower young people by providing a $15,000 grant to the YMCA’s youth development programme – Raise Up.
Raise Up is run by youth, for youth and helps young people aged 13 to 18 realise their full potential by fostering a sense of pride for themselves and their local communities. Operating since 2002, Raise Up crews regularly plan and deliver youth-led activities that make a positive difference to young people and their communities. The programme encourages youth to develop leadership and organisational skills, as well as confidence and a sense of connection with community and issues affecting their generation.
Greg says the ANZ Staff Foundation chose to support Raise Up because of the crucial skills youth develop through the programme, as well as a strong belief that all New Zealanders deserve opportunities to achieve economic and social independence.
“Helping young people develop their confidence and find their voice results in everyone playing an active role in society, leading a rewarding life, being good people and achieving their potential.”
In 2016, Raise Up youth crews contributed 24,994 voluntary hours and delivered 49 events for over 29,700 young people across New Zealand
YMCA’s Community Development Manager and Raise Up coordinator Adam Brown-Rigg sees first-hand the impact Raise Up has on youth. Adam says Raise Up crew members often report increased self-confidence, and greater teamwork and leadership skills as they progress through the programme.
“None of this would be possible, however, without the generous support of funders such as the ANZ Staff Foundation.
“It’s often said that an investment in young people is an investment in the future, and that’s definitely true when you look at the personal development of Raise Up crew as they come through the programme.”