The Sutherland Self Help Trust was conceived in 1941 by Arthur Sutherland, son of Ben Sutherland. The Sutherlands owned and managed New Zealand’s first major chain of grocery stores – the Self Help Co-op – and it was their wish to create a trust fund to further community welfare in New Zealand.
The Sutherland family donated property to form the capital for the Trust. After a period of 20 years the income generated by this capital was distributed to causes judged worthy by a Board of Trustees.
The board of trustees is made up of two Sutherland Family appointments, and one appointment each from the Law Society, Medical Council and The Institute of Chartered Accountants.
The first distribution was made in 1962. In that year $41,360 was distributed to 17 organisations. Since then over $25 million has been distributed with a present day value of over $70 million.
Today, the Sutherland Self Help Trust provides grants to community organisations throughout New Zealand. Its current policy specifies the areas of interest for each year.