A newly released report has found The Warehouse Group (TWG) to be one of the country's most generous corporate givers.
Taken from a sample of 15 “leading corporates”, TWG was revealed to give 1.11% of its annual pre-tax profits (financial year ended August 2021) in donations or community investment.
This was the second greatest proportion of profits donated, with only Z Energy surpassing it at 1.28%.
TWG’s donations were made up of $513,435 in cash donations and $1.2m of in-kind donations, according to the Corporate Support Report published by JBWere.
The group is partnered with 11 charities: Variety, Life Education Trust, Women’s Refuge, Parenting Place, Youthline, Plunket, Salvation Army, Hillary Outdoors, Got To Get Out, The Period Place and Sustainable Coastlines.
Its relationship with The Salvation Army was highlighted in the report as a successful, long-running corporate-charity relationship and said its stability and longevity can be advantageous over shorter-term links with private foundations.
The group claims to have “raised and distributed more than $76 million in donations since 1982”. This would represent an annual average of $1.81m, strikingly close to the most recent $1.75m distribution, suggesting a steady level of giving over the decades.
The same consistency can't be applied to the Warehouse Group Foundation. Set up in 2011, after the Christchurch earthquake, its charitable outgoings fluctuate a lot. TWG told BusinessDesk this was because the foundation was set up on a needs basis, where employees going through “unexpected hardship” can request help.
At its peak in 2015, it paid out more than $3m in grants.
Last year, it distributed just $14,045 and for the year ending July 2021, it donated no money at all, according to the foundation's filings with the charities regulator.
“As a large employer, this is an extra way we can support team members when they find themselves needing immediate financial support,” a TWG spokesperson said.
They added: “In FY21, The Warehouse Group donated $1.7m which includes in-kind donations of $1.2m, including thousands of books, lunchboxes and period product donations.
“We’re proud to be able to support Kiwi communities and, since 1982, more than $76m has been distributed by The Warehouse Group, with $4.3m raised through various initiatives in FY21.
“Money is raised through initiatives such as the sale of our $1 reusable bags where 100% of the proceeds are donated to local charity groups; ‘add $1’ at checkout to support community partners throughout the year; as well as through our team member payroll giving programme.
"The Warehouse also donated $250,000 from the sales of our Mega Toy Month to Women’s Refuge.”
Shares and distribution
The totals do not include the money that is distributed to The Tindall Foundation (TFF) as dividends.
The foundation was set up in 1994 when TWG was floated on the New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX). Margaret Tindall, the wife of founder Stephen Tindall, gifted her 21% stake in The Warehouse Group to the foundation.
Last year’s (year ending July 2021) dividend totalled $4m – down a lot from the $12.8m distributed the year before.
Since 2011, the foundation has donated more than $100m, with typical annual donations of $10m to “help families, communities and the environment”.
The Tindall Foundation has no direct relationship with The Warehouse or its own foundation, but the financial ties to TWG mean the foundation’s asset wealth fluctuates a lot.
Between 2020 and 2021, its available-for-sale financial assets reserve increased from $81.7m to $217.7m – a 166% increase.
Of its nine employees, the foundation’s two most senior management personnel were paid $350,000.
Stephen Tindall’s philanthropy predates the family foundation. He set up the Alay Buhay Foundation in Manila in the 1980s, which delivers education and enterprise development projects.