Karen Shea, Aotearoa Gaming Trust

Contributing to a medical fund that makes a difference is awesome, but so too is supporting an initiative that nurtures young people in the region.

So says the Aotearoa Gaming Trust CEO Karen Shea, who's organisation funds the Otago Medical Research Foundation's Summer Scholarship Programme along with Annual Grants.

The Aotearoa Gaming Trust is a community-focused gaming trust based in Dunedin, which provides funding to a diverse range of organisations and communities right across the country including amateur sport, education, community purposes, welfare organisations, arts and culture.

The Trust has long been a supporter of the Foundation; in fact, Ms Shea says the relationship's gone from strength to strength as they appreciate just how much it benefits the community. "The foundation does a great job of building relationships in the region and identifying what funders need; it's an asset we should all be proud of," she said.

Over the last few years the Trust has focused on supporting the Foundation's scholarship programme. "We feel it is a really good fit for us because the benefits for the wider community are significant – for the students, the University, the Otago region, and for contributing to medical knowledge. It's been extremely worthwhile."

"Sponsoring a student through a scholarship helps University staff develop their research ideas; this seed funding can potentially take a project a long way. We are in awe of some of the projects we have supported over recent years."

"And for the student, having a scholarship over summer is more than just holiday employment. It provides an incentive in what is a highly competitive study environment and opens student's eyes to the opportunities. We're retaining knowledge and brain power, developing careers, and showing students that Dunedin has opportunities for long-term employment.

"To me, that is a very positive and a proactive way of community support for both the Foundation and for the Trust."