I am pleased to present my sixth report as Chair of the University of Auckland School of Medicine Foundation (SoMF) and to share it with all our supporters from the last few years. SoMF had its best year ever, with gifts of $7.8 million, distributions of $6.6 million, and investment income of $2.1 million.
This year SoMF received support for a wide range of medical and health sciences activities and made grants for an even wider range of research projects and scholarships. Many of these grants were funded by donors who have been long-term supporters of the Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences at the University.
Most notable among these was the magnificent gift of $2.2 million from Freemasons New Zealand to partly endow a Chair in Neurosurgery. A new donor, the Buchanan Charitable Trust, pledged an extraordinary $2.4 million to create an Ocular Therapeutics Unit; this generosity was acknowledged by a wonderfully moving speech by Charles McGhee, Professor of Ophthalmology, at the Chancellor’s Dinner in late 2013.
Evelyn May Steer’s bequest of well over $0.5 million has been quickly put to work for research into lung diseases and Lynette McHale’s bequest of $150,000 has also been committed for research at the Centre for Brain Research. The importance of gifts to SoMF is clearly illustrated by these examples.
I would like to thank my fellow trustees and SoMF staff for their commitment and hard work during the year. To all our donors, I hope you will continue to support SoMF as you have in the past. It is a privilege to steward your gifts and put them to work in medical research and education for the benefit of us all.