The Million Dollar Mission, part of The Trusts West Auckland, has opened applications for Auckland charities to apply to be allocated with part of a one-million-dollar fund. The enterprise returns profits from retail sales of alcohol and its hospitality business to the community and allows the public to vote to decide which charities they deem most deserving of the funding.

Since 2016, sixty charities, schools and other various local organisations have been given $2 million in donations from The Trusts West Auckland’s online platform. Again, this year many organisations in need will be provided with the opportunity to apply for funding for a range of community initiatives.

Previously, Zeal, a not-for-profit charity providing creative opportunities for young Kiwis in West Auckland, Hamilton, Kapiti and Wellington benefited from the Million Dollar Mission. The manager of the organisation said over 8000 people backed the charity and voted which helped the charity receive $41,380 in funding.

“Zeal West is an initiative specifically for West Auckland, it benefits us and what we care about as a community. There are no limitations or boxes that you have to squeeze into other than it benefiting our West Auckland people. Thanks to the Million Dollar Mission funding, we have been able to give more hours to our youth workers who operate our youth centre and work on the streets of the Henderson CBD. We have also been able to renovate the Zeal youth centre, which has stayed largely the same for the past ten years. We’ve also purchased new equipment for young people to use during our afternoon hangs programme,” said Hadleigh Pouesi, Zeal West manager.

“I think our mission resonates with our community, we have become a fixture in West Auckland, and the community understand and trust who we are and what we are about.”

The Million Dollar Mission project has received a huge amount of interest already with money set to be allocated in half the amount of time as the first year it ran.

“The profile of the Million Dollar Mission has increased significantly since the first year it launched. The first year it took 29 days to give away $1 million, and in our second year, we saw this reduced to just 13 days. The organisations which are seeking funding are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and using social media to solicit large numbers of votes so they can meet their funding targets within days of the platform going live,” said Simon Wickham, CEO of The Trusts.

“We are immensely proud to support the valuable work these groups do in the community – often without a voice or chance to tell their story. The increased public awareness that the public voting process brings to each organisation will make it easier for them to secure funding in the future.”

Applications are now open for this round of Million Dollar Mission funding and will close on Thursday the 15th of November. Finalists will be selected by a panel of elected members and members of the public in February before public voting begins on March 1st, 2019.