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Merle Cooney

Laurence and Merle Cooney Fund, supporter of BOOST literacy programme | Ashburton

My husband Laurence was a lawyer in Ashburton for over 40 years. He had a great affinity for the town and was very involved in a number of community organisations. He was a founding trustee and Deputy Chair of Advance Ashburton and strongly supported its aim of improving the quality of life for those in the district.

Following Laurence’s death in 2012, the Laurence and Merle Cooney Fund was established with Advance Ashburton. Together, Laurence and I strongly believed in the importance of education and the ability of young people to access it.

The Fund worked closely with Advance Ashburton to find an initiative that reflected that belief. The BOOST literacy programme does just this, and our family is delighted to be supporting it in five schools in Ashburton.

We get a great sense of pride seeing the objectives of the gift realised. It’s wonderful knowing the programme is reaching those children who will most benefit.

As a former teacher I understand the challenges some children face learning to read and how this can affect many other facets of their lives. I am thrilled that BOOST is giving children the confidence and skills to encourage a lifelong love of learning.

Charitable giving is clearly a personal choice but in my experience giving to a Community Foundation has been very rewarding. I get great comfort in knowing the gift is going directly to the project it is intended for and that Advance Ashburton is efficiently managing the fund on our behalf. I also appreciate the regular reporting of results and opportunities for ongoing involvement.

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