Our Response to COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 is starting to be felt far and wide, affecting how all of us work, socialise and plan for the future.

We continue to follow Ministry of Health guidelines and are operating with an abundance of caution to protect our people and the communities who we serve.

We would like to share what the team at TECT is doing to ensure our work can, and will, continue as we deal with the fast-changing COVID-19 situation.

Looking After Our People

Our primary concern is the health and safety of all who we are connected to and we have implemented some guidelines to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19. These include:

  • Following best practice around self-isolation and social distancing. All staff have the ability to work remotely from home and are well placed to continue on in a business as usual manner.
  • Restricting non-essential travel
  • Being selective around attending events, and cancelling all TECT events.
  • Ensuring stringent policies are in place at The Kollective, and following the Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday 21st March we ask those wishing to visit or meet with us to please refrain from coming into our office, unless previously arranged with our staff.
We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to follow the advice of health authorities and abide by any Government directives that are issued.

Our Investments

There is no doubt that the last few weeks have had a significant effect on the investments that TECT holds. However, our long-term investment approach means that in the current (COVID-19) conditions, our funds, and our ability to make grants from the returns on our investments, are resilient to the current situation.

Our ability to distribute funds direct to the Trust beneficiaries through the TECT rebate and through our grants programme depends on our investments. We have a 'diversified' portfolio, and we will continue to take expert advice. Fundamentally this means not all our eggs are in one basket.  In current conditions everyone is going to see their investments drop in value, and we are no different. 

We are a “long term” investor, and this means we will have good years (like last year) and we will have bad years (like this year), but our portfolio is designed to allow for a fairly constant level of distributions over time, at least for the next two years.  The Trust holds enough cash equivalent investments to continue to pay distributions without having to sell growth assets (shares etc) at deflated prices. In the end, the Trustees will make the call but there is no intention at the moment to change distribution levels. In fact, the Trustees signed off the 2020/21 Distribution Plan last week confirming $40M to be distributed, in what is largely a business as usual approach.

TECT has the ability to ride out the current volatility and in fact the prudent investment approach over the past few years has put us in a position where we can potentially benefit from short-term market movements.

TECT Rebate

The TECT rebate has been signed off for 2020/21 ($31M) and as such we will commit as previously planned to pay two rebates (one in July, and one in December).

Granting

The TECT office remains open and our team are available to answer any questions you have regarding funding and our protocol around this given the ever-changing COVID-19 situation.

We will not be reducing our grant budget for the 2020/21 financial year, despite a challenging investment environment. As such the Trustees signed off the 2020/21 Distribution Plan last week which confirms the funding available for the next year. The plan can be viewed here.

This a difficult time for many community groups. Events are being cancelled or postponed, demand for services is likely to increase, and anxiety is high around an uncertain future. We are here to support our community and are doing everything we can to ensure we are both flexible and fair in regard to our approved funding, and future funding throughout the year.

Longer term, our granting depends on our investments. Through good years and bad years, our investment policy takes a long-term view and is designed so that we will have a consistent ability to grant at current levels for a sustained period of time.

Due to the restrictions on public events and mass gatherings, it is more than likely that recent grants approved to support events, and future grant request to support events, may be impacted. In these instances, we'll communicate directly with you.

Funders Collaboration

Given this is an evolving situation, we recognise the need to be both nimble and collaborative in response to our community’s needs. We have met with other local funders to discuss how we can best fill the gaps not addressed by the government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Package. We believe that working together to provide assurance and support to our community is essential during this difficult period. To learn about the Rapid Response Fund established to support community groups who are experiencing increased demand and/or funding shortfall as a result of COVID-19, click here.

Working Together

We are in uncharted territory, but in order to support the communities that we serve we will look to increase the range of non-contact options for connecting with our office staff. If you were planning on visiting our office, please call first on 07 578 5094.  Alternatively, you can email us at info@tect.org.nz

While the Trust office may not be as open as it has been in the past, we will still be available by phone or email, and also have the ability to hold video conference meetings via Zoom. Indeed if COVID-19 means a new set of issues for your organisation please don’t hesitate to contact our Grants Manager Paula Hudson at  paula@tect.org.nz 


 

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