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Polish Charitable & Educational Trust

Historical Background

In early 1980s Mrs Józefa Konieczna approached  a Christchurch solicitor, Mr Zbigniew Maciaszek, about setting up a small fund aiming to support students of Polish origin.

Konieczna_1.2The Konieczna Trust was established after her death in 1982 with a fund of $10,000. Meetings were held annually by the Trustee Zbigniew Maciaszek who co-opted two members of the Polish Association over most of those years, namely Mrs Lidia Janiec and Mr Józef Kubiak. In these annual meetings, they considered applications from students who qualified under the criteria and grants were made of the net interest from the trust fund (in effect several hundred dollars every year).
The grants were exclusively made to tertiary students and were linked expressly to the tertiary fees incurred by them. The grants were made both on educational and hardship grounds.

In 2005 Mr Stefan Musielinski died. Under his will, his entire residuary estate was to pass to the Trust. This comprised more or less the sum of $550,000.00 which, when added to the $10,000.00 already held by the Trust, created a fund of $560,000.00. That capital sum will remain unchanged as the trustees can only apply interest to the purposes of the Trust.

The Trust was formalised and a more structured governance and administration process was put into place. In summary, Mr Zbigniew Maciaszek formally appointed three additional trustees – Józef Kubiak, Alina Suchanski and Peter Maciaszek. The Trust was registered under the Charitable Trust Act 1957 and its powers, duties and responsibilities were recorded in a more modern form of trust deed. However, the objects and purposes necessarily remained the same.

The trustees then, considered how they should continue to meet the objects and purposes of the Trust. In the first instance they resolved to continue to focus on the provision of grants to university students. This had been the sole application of the grants in the preceding years and the trustees recognised that, in the future, the great majority of grants would continue to be to university students. The trustees however also considered how grants might be made pursuant to the other objects and purposes of the Trust and resolved to address these aspects as they arose.

Given the focus on tertiary education grants, the trustees resolved to meet twice a year and to establish two funding rounds in each year. These funding rounds were focused entirely on the circumstances of funding for university students. The first funding round was to occur in the month of April in each year with a final date for applications to be 31st March in the year (recognising that by that time university students would have committed to courses for the year and would have certainty as to the amount of their course fees and text book charges. The second round involved a meeting in August of each year with a final date for applications being 31st July. This again was to recognise that some students may begin courses during an academic year or may for some reason not have been able to provide a full application for the purpose of the first round.

Since 2006, pursuant to the new procedures, the trustees have, with a few exceptions, almost entirely applied the funds available to them (net accrued interest) by way of grants to tertiary students in payment of course fees, books and materials.

In August 2009 Mr Zbigniew Maciaszek resigned from his function as a trustee and appointed Mr Mariusz Talaska as his replacement. Mr Zbigniew Maciaszek remains on the Board of Trustees as an advisor.
 

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