It is my privilege to present this report on the activities of the Vietnam Veterans (Neville Wallace Memorial) Children’s & Grandchildren’s Trust for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022.
During the past year the Trust received $2,000 in donations (c/w $14,210 in 2022). At the end of the year the Trust’s equity stood at $746,278 (c/w $825,923 as at 1 January 2022) due, in part, to the decline in value of our investment portfolio which reflected the volatility of the market-place over the last little while and also the decision by the Board to charge off fees against the capital account as a means of the increasing the amount in the distribution account available for bursaries. This enabled us to reverse (1) the decision placing a hold on the acceptance of applications from repeat applicants and (2) that overseas applicants would be afforded a lower priority compared with applicants resident in New Zealand.
In November the Trust concluded a strategic alliance/partnership arrangement with the New Zealand Vietnam Veterans and Their Families Trust which is likely to result in an increase to the value of bursaries awarded. I extend our thanks to Lindsay Pope and his Board for positive way they approached the discussions. Great outcome.
Since its inception the Trust has awarded 668 bursaries worth more than $322k. In 2022 we awarded 27 bursaries with an average value of $567 (vs $550 in 2021). The assistance given continues to be wide and varied encompassing the whole gambit of education, sporting and cultural endeavour. All of the bursaries awarded went to first time applicants (81% in 2021); all but one went to applicants resident in New Zealand (same as in 2021); 89% of awards went to the grandchildren of Vietnam veterans (85% in 2021); female recipients were ahead of their male counterparts 63% to 37% while 63% of recipients were aged <20 years of age with the remainder split between those aged between 20-30 (26%) and those aged 31> (11%). Education continues to be our focus with 74% of grants directed there.
During the year it became clear that our website was no longer fit for purpose. We have worked to replace it with a far more user-friendly version which was activated late February 2023. It can be accessed at www.vietnamveteranschildrenstrust.com. I commend it to you.
There has been one change to the Board with Jenny Couchman replacing Louise Mullane. Jenny is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran. Can I thank my colleague Board Members, Kate Leys, Els Brown. Jenny Couchman, Peter Roberts and Keith Miller as well as Anita Killeen (our Honorary Legal Advisor) for their professionalism and support. I thank too Perpetual Guardian (the Trustee) for their work and their preparedness to engage constructively with the Board.
The Trust is in good shape. We can face the future with confidence.
Ross Miller, MNZM, JP
16 March 2023