The Gift Trust has developed a new donations policy to ensure that its donors’ funds are not channelled to organisations engaging in ‘hate speech’ or ‘hateful activities’. The new policy has been developed partly in response to the Christchurch mosque attacks and the discussions in Aotearoa around hate speech that followed. The Gift Trust has also been inspired by the “Hate Is Not Charitable” campaign launched in the USA earlier this year. This campaign encourages philanthropic trusts and ‘donor-advised funds’ who work on behalf of donors to have proactive policies to ensure that funds do not flow to organisations that promote hatred.
While we do not want to restrict the causes our donors can support, we have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the funding we distribute is used for charitable and educational purposes that promote the public good. Supporting any group who promotes hate speech would undermine this. We want to emphasize that The Gift Trust has not made any donations in the past to organisations that have engaged in hate speech, but we think it is important to have a proactive policy for the future.
We define “hate speech” as activities that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats or defamation, targeting an individual or group based on their race, colour, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
The Gift Trust already checks each donation request from our donors to make sure the charitable cause they want to support is legitimate and charitable, before we make the donation. This new policy will mean we now also screen for hate speech. The Gift Trust staff will check resources such as the Charities Services regulator, the recipient organisations websites and social media channels, public news sources, the Human Rights Commission and others.