Tauranga-based Wright Family Foundation has made a 13-year commitment worth more than $1.4 million to the I Have A Dream programme, funding support of 100 students from four low-decile schools from Year 3 until the age of 20.
The I Have A Dream Charitable Trust is a ground-breaking long-term programme inspiring Kiwi kids growing up in material hardship to navigate their own path to academic and life success.
Its aim is to create positive role models who add value to their communities.
The Wright Family Foundation's major investment will allow the programme to provide long-term support for an entire school Year-level of children in four Northland schools over 13 years.
The foundation's support will fund resources and the salary of a full-time I Have A Dream navigator who will coach and guide this group of children until they are aged 20.
The programme's outcomes are being researched by the University of Auckland's School of Education and Social Work. The results will be used to inform changes in educational policy, social policy, youth development and community care.
I Have a Dream Charitable Trust chairperson Scott Gilmour says the dedication and support of the Wright Family Foundation for this programme will make a real difference to the lives of these children and, in turn, the community.
“An I Have A Dream navigator provides a full-time caring, consistent adult who works with these kids to do whatever they need to do to stay in school. Our programme works closely with the schools and other agencies that work with each child and whanau.”
The vision is that the programme will ultimately be put in place in more locations around New Zealand – including Tauranga.
Chloe Wright, CEO of the Wright Family Foundation, says I Have A Dream is aligned with the foundation's aim to ‘grow the good' in New Zealand.
“The Wright Family Foundation shares I Have A Dream's belief that every child has potential. The programme's mission is to help uncover and develop that child's dream and unique capabilities,” says Chloe, who lives in Omokoroa.
“It is not a ‘quick fix' and makes a very real long-term difference to individuals and therefore their entire communities, offering a pathway towards the best outcomes for our young people.
“The empathy these children will come to feel through the love and support of another human being is hugely powerful and leads in turn to more empathy, which changes communities for the better.”
The Wright Family Foundation is a not-for-profit registered charitable trust that is dedicated to making a positive difference by advancing education and spreading knowledge, supporting individuals to achieve their full potential.
Belinda Wright-Hainge, a trustee of the foundation, says the I Have A Dream programme does just that.
“Its outcomes are proven, and we're delighted to be able to support such a visionary organisation,” says Belinda.
In 2017 the Wright Family Foundation created the Love Grows Brains campaign to inspire New Zealand families. A series of 20 clips feature real families and are designed as public messages to show the critical importance of talking, reading, singing and interacting with babies and young children.
The I Have A Dream programme was launched in New Zealand in 2003 with a pilot programme in Mt Roskill, Auckland. The results were clear – 80 percent of those students, who are now aged 22, went on to tertiary study, compared with 30 per cent in the comparison group.
The programme was launched in Northland in 2016, and will involve 1500 children as it rolls out from Year 1 to 15.
Based on the results achieved in the Mt Roskill trial, the programme will have a return on investment (ROI) of 20:1. For every $1.5 million invested, personal earnings will increase by $20 million and tax payments by $10 million.
The programme's long-term objective is to create systemic change. It is hoped the programme will eventually be rolled out across New Zealand and be funded by the government.
I Have A Dream is based on a US initiative that has been running since 1981, delivering significant improvements in educational outcomes and life success for more than 17,000 children.