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The J R McKenzie Youth Education Fund

“To assist in the betterment, education, advancement and physical welfare of the youth in the community particularly in cases where bereavement, sickness or family disturbances leave the children in the need of assistance if they are to continue their studies”.

The late Sir John McKenzie, himself a member of Rotary,  appreciated the success of the McKenzies Department Stores and the support given him by the people of New Zealand, founded the Youth Education Fund in 1938 to help deserving young people to receive education. Since its inception, thousands of young New Zealanders have received assistance.

The J R McKenzie Youth Education Fund is one of the trusts established by the McKenzie Family. It is funded from dividends and interest, and an annual grant from the J R McKenzie Trust, which is a philanthropic trust providing grants of around $5 million annually to organisations working towards a socially just and inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Youth Education Fund is administered entirely by  Rotary who receive and consider all applications from individuals, Rotary clubs, community organisations, school principals, ministers and social workers. After considering the degree of hardship and seeing evidence of a degree of self-help, they distribute grants to the most deserving cases through the nearest Rotary Club, who can discuss problems and offer advice, if requested.


Since its inception thousands of young New Zealanders have received assistance by way of school uniforms, clothing, footwear, spectacles, epi-pens, hearing aids, some therapy, school stationery and text books.

The Fund wishes to help where death, sickness, family breakup or economic hardship causes difficulty for young people and their caregivers to meet the costs of their primary or secondary education. Applications must be related to a young person’s education. The Fund will not cover general tuition fees unless there are unusual circumstances. Applications will be accepted from such organisations as schools, NZ Police, Health nurses, NGOs, Budget Advisory Services, medical professionals and various trusts assisting families in need. Local Rotary clubs hold application forms and will be able to advise you as to eligibility and offer advice.

Depending upon circumstances, grants may cover:

  • School uniforms and clothing and footwear.

  • Special tuition or course fees.

  • Text books and stationery.

  • Special grants especially for glasses or to help students with special needs.

Grants are available to individuals not organisations.
Please note, additional information may be requested.

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