Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough celebrates 10 years

skydiving particiapnt


A foundation is celebrating 10 years by pushing more Marlburians out of planes – all for a good cause, of course.

The Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough’s Kiwi Can programme has been teaching children about life skills and values for a decade.

And to celebrate, Marlburians are being challenged to skydive from 10,000 feet (3048m), with a fundraising goal of $1010, to support the foundation’s next 10 years of mahi.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough general manager Kelvin Watt said the foundation was on track to get 100 people to take the plunge, in Drop For Youth 2024.

“We are so heartened by the level of local support for our work with thousands of local young people each week,” Watt said.

In its early days Drop For Youth was called Drop Your Boss, and involved dropping businesspeople from the top of Blenheim’s Alfred St car park to abseil down the side.

In a review recently completed by NZ economic consultancy firm Infometrics, the foundation’s youth development programmes were found to have a $10.50 return back into New Zealand’s economy for every dollar invested.

Using data from 2022, the study was able to quantify the social, financial benefits and values of the foundation’s services, and followed prior analysis undertaken by Infometrics in 2019 and 2013.

The results were derived from the link between education and earnings, plus a productivity spillover that captured the impact of all the different ways that the presence of a better educated population could improve wellbeing across the country.

“For our Drop For Youth droppers and their donors to know that every dollar raised has a tenfold impact, that’s outstanding,” Watt said.

Given the number of people expected to plunge this year, Watt said “when you do the calculations”, the money raised would have an impact on the community worth more than $1 million.

Hortus Ltd managing director Aaron Jay said the company would continue to support the foundation “100%”.

The seasonal labour company was a platinum sponsor and long-term supporter of the event, and often contributed jumpers from countries such as Vanuatu.

“I wish all investments could return 10-1 like Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough,” he said.

“They’re smashing statistics and changing lives along the way.”

Every week the team worked directly with more than 3200 young Marlburians from 20 schools and colleges, with the aim of empowering them to overcome life’s obstacles.

The programmes included Kiwi Can for children aged 5 to 12 to learn about respect, resilience, positive relationships and integrity, while the Stars Teina programme for children in years 7 and 8 encouraged them to be positive role models to younger children.

The foundation’s challenges in 2023 included covering some of Marlborough’s most well-known faces with gunge, and encouraging Marlburians to “paint the town green,” challenging businesses and schools to come up with green-inspired fundraising ideas.

Nearly 30,000 young New Zealanders participated in the national foundation’s programmes each year, which included initiatives such as Career Navigator, a course connecting young people with career pathways.

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