This article was first published in the November 2016 issue of the FMC Bulletin. It is written by long serving FMC executive and trust member Phil Glasson. To donate to the Trust, visit its the Trust page on the FMC Website.
The first mention of a trust for FMC is recorded in the AGM minutes of 1977 when the meeting resolved “That the incoming Executive investigate the establishing of a Mountain Trust Fund”. The minutes show that this was moved by Arnold Heine and seconded by Nick Jennings so it is reasonable to regard them as the “Fathers of the Trust”. Arnold later joined the Trust Board in 1995 and served as a Board member for 18 years.
The gestation period was prolonged and it was not until July 1985 that a deed was finally prepared. The original deed is dated 14 July 1985 but it was a further four years until, on 16 May 1989, the Trust was registered with Registrar of Incorporated Societies and IRD as a Charitable Trust. The Trust came into being to provide an alternative source of funding to help meet the objectives of FMC and to enable people to make donations which would in turn attract the tax rebate for charitable donations. The first funds came from an appeal to FMC Clubs and a donation from the Fletcher Challenge Trust. The 1987 accounts show an equity of $3700, by 1989 it was $17,000 and 10 years later it had reached $65,000. Over the first 15 years of the 21 st Century donations and bequests have continued to flow in steadily and in 2012 the Trust benefited from a substantial bequest from the estate of Michael Taylor who met his death in a climbing accident in the Southern Alps. At June 2016 the Trust is now managing $1 million dollars.
What the Trust spends it’s income on
The first grant was made in 1990 just 5 years after the Trust came into being and it was to help fund a Walkways Conference. Since then there have been over 55 grants totalling in excess of $200,000. Grants have been to support the work of FMC, conferences, books, research projects, films and huts. In addition to this, since 2011, the Trust has funded 37 Scholarships to young people as part of the FMC Youth scholarship scheme.
The Trust is managed by a Board of 6 appointed by Federated Mountain Clubs. The Board meets twice a year in May and November. [To see who is currently on the Trust Board, visit the Trust page on the FMC website] In 2013 the Trust took advice from Investment experts and established an Investment Policy which it follows to ensure wise management of the Trust’s equity. The Trust Deed was rewritten completely in 2014 to reflect best practice and modern terminology.
The future of the Trust
The Trust is now securely established with sound governance and an experienced Board. In order for the Trust to continue to meet its Objects and to serve the membership of FMC it is still dependent on donations and bequests. The main source of these are FMC members. The Trust is thrilled with the support it receives from Individual Supporters many of who willingly add a donation to their annual FMC renewal but the Trust does not yet get the same level of support from FMC Club Members. This is a challenge for the Board and for FMC to address over the next few years. A steady donation stream will add to the Trust Equity and expand the ability of the Trust to make more grants in the future.
To donate to the trust, apply for a grant or enquire about bequests, please visit the FMC Mountain and Forest Trust page on the FMC website.