CHAIR’S REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1 OCTOBER 2016 – 31 JULY 2017

Over the past year the Rule Foundation has continued its focus on its charitable purpose: the health, wellbeing, and visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in New Zealand. This report covers the ten months since the chair’s last report in September 2016.

Finances

The Foundation’s capital base was $1.78 million at 31 March 2017; a $40,000 increase on the previous financial year. The Foundation donated $37,028 in the year, and operating expenses were $2,669 (7% of total spend).

Since the last report we have supported:

  1. Transgender health inequalities research. $8,000 over three years ($3,000 in 2017) to Dr Jamie Veale at Waikato University.
  2. Student Christian Movement Aotearoa. $5,000 for promotion of GLBTI inclusiveness in campus faith groups.
  3. Rainbow Youth. $5,000 for training and mentoring a queer and gender-diverse group co-ordinator in Otago-Southland in collaboration with Q-Topia Canterbury.
  4. OUTLine NZ. $4,000 for volunteer training courses in March and November 2017.
  5. Q-Topia, Christchurch. $3,000 towards a youth Mardi Gras.
  6. Women’s Centre, Christchurch. $2,500 for lesbian support services.
  7. Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch. $2,500 for FAFSWAG South Auckland LGBTQI Pacific Arts collective artist fees at the Making Space exhibition.
  8. Pink Health Otautahi. $1,500 towards Christchurch Pink Pages website development.
  9. Wakatipu Youth Trust, Queenstown. $700 towards costs of Spectrum Club members’ travel to an LGBTI youth hui in Dunedin.
  10. Pride Tennis. $500 towards a tournament held during Auckland Pride.

Big Gay Out & Out in the Park

The Foundation had booths at both the Big Gay Out in Auckland and Wellington’s Out in the Park again in 2017. This is the second year in a row that the Foundation has had a profile- raising presence at these major annual events in the rainbow calendar. While the Foundation may not attend these occasions every year, we appreciate the opportunity it gives trustees to connect directly with locals, and hope to have a presence at similar events in other centres in future.

Donations to the Foundation

Over the years the Foundation has chosen to focus on growing its capital base to provide an ongoing source of funds for distribution, rather than appealing for financial support from the community. Despite this approach, several generous donors have continued to support the Foundation and its mission. For this we are truly grateful.

Looking ahead, trustees intend to actively promote the Foundation, particularly aiming at those considering bequests. There are significant needs and opportunities for rainbow communities nationwide that the Foundation is only partly able to address. We work to keep aware of the needs of the community throughout New Zealand, and are confident that distributions are targeted to make a real and positive difference to people’s lives. We also know that there’s so much more that can and should be done.

The Foundation has developed a robust, prudent and reliable approach to financial management. This has resulted in growth of the capital base that has ensured ongoing distribution of funds throughout New Zealand. We believe that this – along with our history of stable stewardship – might appeal to people who wish to find a home through their wills for funds that they want directed to help the community.

Reflections on Peter Rule’s legacy

Peter Rule died in November 1987. In the 30 years since then the gift he left in his will “for the benefit of gay people” has grown significantly. It provides the capital base that has enabled the Foundation to distribute approximately $300,000 since 2009.

Peter would have been very pleased to see the impact of his gift. At the time he died this was not a sure thing. In the aftermath of the acrimonious passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986, it wasn’t inevitable that his legacy would be assured. Nor was it apparent that the profound progress and social and legal changes for GLBTI people that subsequently happened in NZ would occur.

While Peter would have been envious at what’s been achieved since his death, he would also have despaired that such enormous gains aren’t shared universally. Over- representation of LGBTI in mental health and suicide statistics remain a blight locally, while internationally the recent savage public beatings and humiliation of a gay couple in Banda Aceh, and the evil inquisition afflicting gay men in Chechnya, remind us of our continued and all-too-easy marginalisation. Peter had seen enough of the world’s conflict zones to understand that advances in civil and human rights are usually hard fought for, are then something to be guarded jealously, and can never be taken for granted.

Rule Foundation trustees

I became one of Peter Rule’s trustees almost 30 years ago. As I retire from the role, I wish to thank my co-trustees, present and past, for their support for the Foundation. It has been hugely reassuring that whenever a trustee vacancy has occurred at the Foundation there has been a truly impressive range of applicants willing to step into these volunteer roles. This tells me that the purpose of Peters’ legacy resonates widely and that the Foundation will be around for a long time as it continues to advance the health, wellbeing and visibility of New Zealand’s rainbow communities.

Ngā manaakitanga

Stephen Park, Chair

29 July 2017