King’s Birthday Honours 2024: Dan Allen-Gordon made Companion of the King’s Service Order

Source: NZ Herald (can also be found in SunLive)

Dan Allen-Gordon says it’s incredible to be honoured for helping young people, which he considers a privilege.

He has been made a Companion of the King’s Service Order for services to youth and charitable governance in the King’s Birthday Honours.

“I feel quite blessed to be able to help our young people in our long-term programmes and to continue long after they’ve graduated,” Allen-Gordon said.

As Bay of Plenty regional manager and top regional manager for the Graeme Dingle Foundation nationwide, Allen-Gordon has raised about $13 million, which has helped more than 49,000 young people in long-term programmes across the Western Bay.

He joined the Graeme Dingle Foundation, then known as the Project K Trust, in 2002, initially as a fundraiser in Auckland before establishing the Graeme Dingle Foundation Bay of Plenty in 2004.

After becoming chairman of the Bay of Plenty Kiwi Can Charitable Trust in 2002, he introduced the Kiwi Can programme into the region in 2005. It is now taught in 10 Western Bay of Plenty schools.

He also helps run the Foundation’s Kiwi Can, Project K, Stars and Career Navigator programmes.

His team delivers these programmes to nearly 4000 young people in the Bay of Plenty annually, empowering them at a personal level to succeed in their lives under difficult circumstances.

“What made it possible is having a family that supports me to do it,” Allen-Gordon, who is married to Josie, said.

The couple have two adult children, Larissa and Sam, and a grandson, Carter.

He said what he does is his life’s work.

“I’ll never stop doing work for the trust. There is such a growing need for what we do for young people and I wish I had another 20-odd years to do it, or find more people to do it.”

He mentors young people, often after the programmes are over to ensure the young person is on the right track.

Research completed this year has found there is a $10.50 return for every $1 invested in the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Youth Development programmes.

With a 30-year history, the foundation’s programmes have long made an impact on youth, enhancing wellbeing, engagement, and commitment to society through increased aspirations, positive trajectories, and pipelines to the workforce – ultimately benefiting our country’s economy long-term.

“With a return of $10.50 for every dollar invested, supporters of the foundation and its programmes know that, for example, for $100,000 invested, their organisation is providing over $1,000,000 return to New Zealand’s economy.”

Allen-Gordon is committed to working to reduce at-risk behaviours – such as truancy, bullying, suicidal ideation and other risks – for young people to succeed.

“We see change every day.

“I have a dedicated team passionate about what they do for the kids. We also have people who support kids as mentors.

“All a young person needs is someone who supports them, cares about them and doesn’t judge them, and that’s what makes a difference for transforming our kids so they can be happy and successful in their lives.

“That’s why we provide caring non-judgemental people for 3800 kids in the Western Bay of Plenty.”

He recognised that times were tough for funders trying to spread the dollar.

“We are in a financially challenging time and we’re not sure how we can sustain the numbers in the financial market at the moment.”

His efforts have also been recognised through the Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards for Most Significant Contribution.

He has been a member and office holder with Rotary Club of Tauranga Sunrise since 2008, directing the New Generations youth programme. Before moving to Tauranga, he was a Jaycee for seven years, and refereed junior rugby in Tauranga from 2004 until 2019.

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