Engaged donors back teen mothers’ retreat

Published on 23 Oct 2019


An engaged and informed community of donors have led the Waikato Women’s Fund’s decision to support a retreat for teen mothers.

The House of Grace Trust have received $2,000, the third grant from the Waikato Women’s Fund (WWF), a giving circle ‘powered’ by Momentum Waikato.

The trust’s newest facility, The House of Grace Hamilton, is a private retreat able to host four young women aged 12-23 years old as they prepare for childbirth and plan for a bright future. It is managed by ‘house parents’ Tracey and Bruce, who live onsite with their own two children.

"We are proud of our work to make New Zealand stronger by equipping and empowering pregnant teens to flourish and make a positive difference in the communities around them,” said The House of Grace Hamilton Supervisor Michelle Torckler.

“We believe in the potential of every young woman and we are so thankful for this grant from the Waikato Women’s Fund."

Activating it’s granting policy for the first time since its July 2018 launch, the WWF sought its members’ views and feedback on which organisations and initiatives most closely aligned with its strategic priorities of ‘keeping women safe’ and ‘keeping women well’.

The resulting suggestions were considered by the WWF committee, who then nominated two organisations for a full membership vote to determine the grant recipient.

WWF Committee members Melissa Gibson and Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau visited The House of Grace Hamilton to give Michelle the good news that they had been chosen. Following a house tour and meeting with the staff and a young mother, Rachel noted that many worthy organisations deliver services in the region for teen mothers, but the intimacy and support provided by The House of Grace was “very special and unlike any other service we know of”.

The WWF giving circle actively invites its members to participate in how its income is to be distributed to achieve the Fund’s vision. It’s a unique approach to charitable grant-making and a drawcard for donors who want to be involved and informed in their giving.

Whilst the scale of the WWF’s grants are modest as it nurtures its fledgling endowment fund, the active participation of donors and their ability to influence where grants will make a difference is proving effective and popular.

Donor Raewyn Kirkman says she was quick to support the Fund when it launched and was delighted to be invited into the granting process this year.

“To me this Fund feels new and really engaging. It’s so far from the feeling of dropping a coin into a bucket without ever knowing whether you really helped or not. The Waikato Women’s Fund ask me what I think, I get to share my view on where a grant goes, and then I will get to hear about who receives the money and what that organisation is doing in my region for women and girls. I want to know how the story ends and this fund allows me to see the impact of my donation.”

Anyone of any gender interested in joining the Waikato Women’s Fund and being a part of future grant-making can donate and join online at www.waikatowomensfund.nz/donate.



The House of Grace Hamilton, Michelle Torckler - michelle@thehouseofgrace.org.nz

Waikato Women’s Fund - empower@waikatowomensfund.nz

More information: www.waikatowomensfund.nz and www.thehouseofgrace.org.nz.