Liz Greive sees superannuants as heroes who can help stop child poverty 26 May

Liz Greive sees superannuants as heroes who can help stop child poverty

It was a letter in the post that galvanised Liz Greive. The letter advised she was now entitled to claim superannuation. Her first reaction: “Oh dear, am I really that old?” was followed by, “I don’t need this to continue living a comfortable life.”

She pictured physically taking the money and handing it to someone who did need it, but that was hardly practical.

“I realised I could not be the only person whom fortune had favoured” – and from there Spend My Super was born. Spend My Super enables people to easily support charities by donating some or all of their superannuation toward vital work for Kiwi children living in poverty. Spend My Super’s supporters show what it means to be part of a society that aims to give all children a fair chance.

Life has changed, but what’s important has not

Baby boomers have a reputation for being selfish and self-serving. “Certainly some of us have benefited enormously from the prosperous times we worked and lived in. However, many of us care very deeply about the issues the world is facing and are keen, and generous philanthropists.

There are many needy causes, but the most important for me is child poverty. A lack of opportunity means many children fail to reach their potential and continue in the poverty trap.

When I arrived in New Zealand in 1977 as a newly qualified social worker, I worked with families and communities, mainly in south Auckland. I learnt much from the Pakeha, Māori and Pasifika communities, the strength of their cultures and the struggles they faced.”

Tackling child poverty demands a team effort

Liz knew she couldn’t do this on her own. The most important person in driving the charity forward is the formidable CEO, Sarah Trotman ONZM. Liz and Sarah have created a website where people can donate part, or all, of their pensions to the charity or charities of their choice. Importantly, Spend My Super does not take a percentage of any donations. Every dollar donated goes towards the charity. Spend My Super is privately funded to ensure this.

Sarah has created key relationships with charities that have child poverty as a focus. Due diligence has been done on these organisations, ensuring that they are worthwhile and effective.

Sarah points out that, according to research by the Tindall Foundation, roughly 3% of superannuants do not need their super to live a good life. In addition, there may be many who can easily live without a portion of this benefit, or their Winter Energy Payment. Can you imagine, if these ‘silver dollars’ combined to change the face of philanthropy in New Zealand, to give all our children of Aotearoa, a fair chance, creating, yet again, a great model for other developed countries,

Let’s leave a legacy of a better future

“I have a vision of this great multitude of people who are living well and comfortably in their later years, reaching out to give back to those whom life has not given an easy start. Let’s give these babies a fair chance to thrive.”

With many hands, each doing our bit, we can really change the future. By each helping a little bit, those of us who have managed to set up stable lives can give others in society an opportunity to do the same. Together we can be proud to know we’re helping leave the state of equality in Aotearoa better than when we found it. After all, if it’s not us, who will it be?