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Otago Polytechnic Charity House A Success for the Community

Otago Polytechnic Charity House Auction a success

Otago Polytechnic’s 16TH annual Charity House Auction, held on Saturday 19 November, raised $110,000 for a range of community groups,

Around 50 people attended the 15th Charity House auction at Otago Polytechnic’s Carpentry facility, at which a fully furnished four-bedroom home was sold for $405,000, eclipsing the previous record (set in 2021) of $365,000.

At the conclusion of the bidding process at Otago Polytechnic’s L Block, Dr Megan Gibbons, Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive, presented Catalytic Foundation Chair John Gallaher with a cheque for $110,000.

“We are proud to play a part in a project that provides benefits to many others,” Dr Megan Gibbons, Executive Director Otago Polytechnic, said.

The Charity House project exemplifies the applied learning approach that Otago Polytechnic provides, highlighting the skills and work ethic of all the many learners involved, along with the passion and commitment of our teaching staff.”

Catalytic Foundation Chair John Gallaher said the organisation would distribute the proceeds from the sale of the Charity House to small to medium community-based charities.

“The Charity House project has demonstrated the power and impact of individuals and organisations joining together and using their particular skills to support those in need in their community.

“We would like to thank Otago Polytechnic staff and carpentry students as well as all the local businesses who contributed so generously to the fit-out of the houses. Strong and resilient communities are built from the support of those who ‘can’, helping those in need.”

Charity House sponsors: Active, Allison Carey Architectural Designer, Aotea Electric, Bayley’s Metro, Carpet Court, Design Windows, Dimond Roofing, Dulux, Foleys, Gib, HN Makeovers, Ideal, Kitchens For Less, Mammoth Insulation, McNeilly Heavy Haulage, Mediaworks, Oakleys, Otago Design, Philips, Placemakers, Schneider Electric, Serene Living, Spotless, Timeless, Viridian, Vision, Windsor Brass.

Donate to the Catalytic Foundation Community Fund

In 2024, we have already supported 113 endorsed community charities across Aotearoa. These are the charities who are visible in communities. The ones you can walk in to and ask for help with things like food parcels, support dealing with government departments, parenting advice and support, and upskilling. They are also the charities you go to if you need some general companionship and support.

This support is possible because ordinary New Zealanders regularly contribute a small, tax-deductible amount to our donation pool, which is distributed annually.

How to make regular donations

  • To help us reduce our credit card fees, you can donate directly to the Catalytic Foundation's bank account: 12-3067-0187344-00. Please reference the cause and region you would like to support.
  • Use the form on the left to make regular donations using the secure e-commerce platform called Stripe

  • Set up donations at work through your payroll. Click here for a form to give your payroll operator.


✅ Choose the region or social issue you would like to support

✅  Donations over $5 are tax deductible - you will receive a tax receipt that enables you to claim 33% of your donation back from the IRD.

✅ Receive regular newsletters so you can see the impact your donation is making


2022 Community Needs Survey

The Catalytic Foundation are asking community organisations for 4 minutes of their time to complete this quick community survey. This is a check on community organisations well-being and resource requirements in 2022/23. The results will be collated by the Catalytic Foundation to help us advocate for organisations with donors wanting to help their communities.

All charities that participate in this survey will be in the draw to win a DELL laptop to help with IT needs.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank community organisations who participated in our three previous community needs surveys, we obtained very important feedback about the affect of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising costs on community organisations and their social services. This 4th survey will provide further insight into the challenges faced by our community in 2022 and over the coming year.

Click here to start the 4 minute community needs survey

Youth Mental Health

#Youth2022 - Catalytic Youth Mental Health Campaign

Mental health services are in a poorer state than they were four years ago with clinicians struggling to care for the sickest patients, a top doctor says, raising serious doubts about pledges to dramatically improve the service in the face of increasing demand. 

Through our accredited community organisations listed below, we have seen the direct ways young people with mental health concerns can be supported in a way which meets their immediate needs. These frontline community organisations are working to provide professional, direct help along with ongoing community support for young people.

Choose from one of the following charities and 100% of your donation will go to providing their vital mental health services to our young people:  

  • Youthline - Nationwide call centre
  • Youth In Transition - Wrap-around support in Rodney, Auckland
  • AMPSS101 - Mental health and housing needs in Timaru
  • Life Matters Suicide Prevention - Dunedin



"Donations received ensure we can continue to help our young people create a life worth living, and provide them with the ongoing wrap-around support they and their families need".
Tina Jones, Co-Founder and Director of Youth in Transition

Thank you to Urban Bounty who are donating $5 from every purchase over $50 from their online garden soul store in September.  Customers just need to put YOUTH in the order notes to support. 

Sell my cell - a new and easy way to donate

Does your organisation regularly change over its mobile phones? Did you know your old phones can help support local charities? Sell my cell is a company that buys and resells old mobile phones. Their process is simple. You package up your old phones and send them to Sell my Cell. They then provide a non-obligation quote stating how much they are willing to pay for your old phones. If you are happy with this quote, you can accept it. If by chance, you are unhappy with the quote, they return the phones to you free of charge.

There are two ways to donate the money to us:

  1. You can have the money paid for the phones to your company and then donate this to the Catalytic Foundation’s bank account 12-3067-0187344-00 with your company name as the reference. This has the added advantage that you can claim one-third of the donation back in tax credits.
  2. Alternatively, you can simply elect to have Sell my cell pay the proceeds from the phones directly to Catalytic Foundation.

What a great way to put your old technology to use!

Find out more about Sell my cell at

Pitney Bowes volunteering day 2022

I would like to say thank you to the team at Pitney Bowes for making me feel very welcome at my first-ever volunteering day as a member of the Catalytic Foundation team. The volunteering day, held in early July 2022, supported both our Edu2022 campaign and our Warm Winters campaign. Pitney Bowes team

The day started with the team forming a very enthusiastic assembly line to fill backpacks with school supplies like pencil cases, stationery, books, lunchboxes and drink bottles. Each bag was assembled taking into consideration what a child of that age would like and need. We assembled 40 backpacks in total. We had quite a few laughs as we passed the backpacks around and it was a lot of fun.

After a quick break for morning tea, we moved on to sorting through a massive pile of clothing donated by the NZ Olympic Committee. We ensured all clothes were in excellent condition (they already were!) before sorting them into summer and winter piles. We then neatly folded them and packed them into bags ready to donate to De Paul House.

Once we had loaded the cars we headed to De Paul House in Northcote where we were met by Lesley. Lesley told us that often families turn up to De Paul house with nothing because they have urgently had to leave a domestic violence situation or they have been displaced from their housing with little notice and no option to return to collect their belongings. For the children in these families, this means they do not have the necessary equipment to go to school. We gave all 40 backpacks to De Paul House. The Social Workers were very excited about them because they would help the kids in De Paul house settle into school and feel more secure with a daily routine. De Paul house also offers parents courses, like cooking and budgeting, during school hours so the whole family can be supported and helped towards a better life. Finally, we had a tour of the facilities in De Paul House and learnt quite a bit about the type of support they both give and need.

Pitney Bowes assembly lineDe Paul house was also thankful for the very warm jackets and winter clothes donated by the NZ Olympic committee. With the weather starting to turn icy, they were going to work to get them out to their community straight away.

We finished the volunteering day with a relaxing lunch at a local café, which was kindly funded by Pitney Bowes. We talked about what we had gained from the day, and more specifically, about the work of De Paul House.

The summer clothing will be kept for another campaign when the weather starts to warm up.

Pitney Bowes is an American based company that specialises in mail technology solutions, like letter folding machines and envelope printers, support and encourage their staff to be involved in giving back to the community by matching pay-day giving and giving staff paid opportunities to do volunteer work. We know that these are important factors in encouraging staff job satisfaction and retention. If you would like to know more about how the Catalytic Foundation can help your organisation establish an environment of corporate social giving, please contact us.

I am looking forward to being involved in more volunteering days like this. 

By Jacqui Barker, Communications and Administration, Catalytic Foundation

Com2022 - Winter Warmer Campaign

Housing and financial needs were the two priorities that came through in this year's community charities survey and research. We've made them a focus for the next quarter and have identified two main ways you can help this winter to build Healthy Communities in Aotearoa. 

1. Donating quality winter items

Many community charities that we support are working with people without housing, in transitional housing or financially can't afford to heat their house. Comfortable warm housing is very important to achieving healthy households as we move into winter time. Please consider donating quality resources such as:

  • Blankets
  • Curtains
  • Hot water bottles
  • Warm clothing

Donating these items can really make a difference to a family in hardship. The items listed above were specifically requested by community charities supporting those in need. 

Click here to Donate

2. Volunteer your time

Our community environments also need a helping hand. Do you have a volunteering day available to help in local community gardens or cleaning up beaches and waterways? We have charities in locations around Aotearoa that would like to work with you to help the local community. Please contact us for a bespoke volunteering opportunity

EDU2022 Celebrating Diversity

April is Autism Awareness Month, so there is no better time to experience a different way of thinking and open our eyes to Autism! 

As part of our Education and Diversity #EDU2022 Campaign, the Catalytic Foundation are supporting Xabilities to co-ordinate a special Art Exhibition, featuring the skills of many autistic artists. 

One of the biggest “strains” of being neurodiverse is other people’s perceptions, says Tamara Grant who lives with autism. “You’re put into a category of ‘you look normal, so you should act normal’,” she said.

“[Autism] can be a gift because if everyone learnt to accept autism, everyone would learn to accept anyone who walked through the door, no matter what differences, because no two people with autism are the same.”

These quotes are from an article in STUFF, about Tamara Grant, a 22-year-old artist, public speaker and founder of Xabilities, a social enterprise with a focus on advocating for neurodiverse people. 

During Autism Awareness Month, with help from Pub Charity, we are supporting Xabilities to co-ordinate a special Art Exhibition so people can experience a different and inspirational way of thinking. 

This Autistic Expression Event opens on April 4th at 4pm will run for the month of April, at the Estuary Art Centre in Orewa, Auckland. The opening of the event and featured artists can also be seen online via Xabilities and social media pages.

“I want just autistic people to know that it’s OK, and that we can have a life of independence and joy,” Tamara said.

Click here 

To support this Autistic Expression - Art Exhibition Event 

Thank you Pub Charity for your support of this very special event.

EDU2022 Education Campaign

Working together to get children back to school is so important. Too many of our tamariki and mokopuna are not yet at school as more often than not, their families cannot afford back to school costs. 

Rising back to school costs are hurting our struggling and needy whānau. This is why this type of donation is so very much appreciated! Let us together help get our children back to school and give the education they both deserve and want!

The Catalytic Foundation started the EDU2022 campaign this year to help schools and families in desperate need of digital devices and school resources for their children to learn with. 

"Families are struggling to put food on the table, let alone provide stationery. Glen Taylor School are helping with providing meals for children so they can learn while at school" Johanna Wrack, Vice Principal, Glen Taylor School  

The following is a message we received from two boys whose family has been in transition due to domestic violence...

" Thank you so much we were struggling to get our school work completed on the school computer and have been held back without a devise. I just can't believe that we have one each and they are brand new. This is the best gift we have ever had. Things like this don't ever happen to us it's so incredible."

With the help of Rockwell Automation and generous individual donations, the Catalytic Foundation have distributed 80 backpacks filled with school items, including 25 stationery packs and 22 new Chromebooks for children to have at home and school. However, more Chromebooks are needed.

Thank you to our donors and businesses who have supported this campaign. If you can help please go to this link. 


 Donate to the EDU2022 campaign









Rockwell Automation volunteers

Edu2022 volunteering at Rockwell

The Catalytic Foundation would like to thank the team at Rockwell Automation for their donation and volunteering time putting together backpacks for our EDU2022 campaign, assisting children in need with resources to help with their education.

Each backpack contained necessary items for school including: Lunchboxes, drink bottles, pencil cases, pencils, rulers, glue sticks, erasers, and notebooks.

The backpacks were distributed to families in desperate need of these supplies via our schools and community charity network. These include:

  • Glen Taylor Primary School
  • Woven Earth - helping families affected by domestic violence
  • Budgeting and Family Service - helping families in South Auckland (Tuakau, Otara and Manukau)