The Waikato Medical Research Foundation Research Fund Appeal

The current situation

The Waikato Medical Research Foundation (WMRF) is a registered charitable trust formed in 1986 with the primary purpose of supporting, teaching and encouraging medical and other health research in the Waikato. The foundation is based at the Waikato Clinical School at Waikato Hospital. 

The foundation's ultimate aim is to improve the medical care available to everyone in the Waikato and beyond. 

Since its inception, the foundation has promoted and funded more than $2.3 million in significant medical research throughout the Waikato. The foundation is a Registered Charitable Trust governed by a Board of Trustees comprising leading scientists, medical, clinical and business professionals.

Research projects supported by the foundation include studies of leukaemia, stroke, diabetes, head injury therapy, medically useful natural products, antibacterial properties of human breast milk and honey, asthma, breast cancer and coping with disability.

Over the years, the research has included close collaboration with major Waikato institutions including Waikato Hospital, Waikato University, WINTEC, AgResearch Centre Ruakura and the Waikato Clinical School.

The Waikato is a major centre for the training of health professionals. This is only possible because we have a cadre of research active health professionals based in the region. Local medical and health researchers are involved in training the next generation whether it is medical, nursing, allied health or psychology students.

Research is a genuine recruitment tool for attracting quality health professionals to the region. In addition to the benefits of the critical thinking of those professionals, patients chosen for studies often benefit from participation in research projects. 

Each year the foundation invites research proposals from local researchers related to health and medical issues. These are carefully considered by the Foundation Grants Committee and projects are selected in line with set criteria. This multi-disciplinary committee is able to provide feedback on ranking and how grant applications can be improved.

In addition this committee can assist other groups when evaluating the worthiness of research funding requests. Innovative research projects that have the potential to significantly benefit the health and well-being of the wider community are also considered. The next stage in development of medicine in the region is a sustainable research programme.      

The strong attraction for funders and supporters of the foundation over the years has been the local status of the trust which supports and promotes local medical research via the provision of annual research grants throughout the Waikato. The impact of the research the foundation has funded over the years is felt across many fields of the medical profession.

The need for increased funding

The WMRF trustees administer a fund of $1.3 million. These funds are carefully managed via a conservative fund management philosophy focused on capital protection. Most is invested in local and national fixed interest, Local Government Bonds and a variety of major local and national corporate bonds. The balance is invested in conservative international bonds. 

The fund is insufficient to meet the ever increasing demand for medical research funding. For example, in the 2013 funding round the foundation received applications for more than $340,000 but given its limited resources and even with generous assistance from Trust Waikato (which matches the foundation dollar for dollar) was only able to fund just over $147,000.

Each year the number of funding applications received by the foundation increases, as does the amount applied.

It is also important to note that there is no Government funding available for the foundation trustees to call on for research projects they support.

These factors, combined with significant growth in the research potential of the Waikato, have led to a strong call for a considerable increase in the funds available to provide medical research funding.

Medical research, which improves health standards in general terms 'for everybody', is costly and needs adequate funding to be conducted effectively.


In order that we may more effectively answer the call for increased medical research funding, we have commissioned a major gift fundraising appeal aimed at lifting the available funding to at least $5 million.

WMRF trustees are delighted that Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher have agreed to be joint patrons for the appeal and Waikato Times editor Jonathan MacKenzie has kindly agreed to support the appeal via the Times media suite.

The appeal will target all sectors of the wider Waikato community including the medical profession, current and past foundation supporters and recipients of research funding, trusts and funding agencies, businesses and corporates, individuals and the general community.

The trustees are taking this endeavour very seriously indeed. Planning is well underway and a corporate fundraising team has been brought together comprising a number of influential local identities whose responsibility will be to guide the appeal to a successful conclusion. The fundraising team is chaired by Mr Peter De Luca, Senior Partner of Tompkins Wake Hamilton. 

Feasibility research conducted prior to launching the appeal indicated that for such an appeal to be successful it would be advantageous to have the significant financial support of and endorsement from the Waikato medical fraternity.

Accordingly a fundraising team has recently been brought together comprising senior medical professionals across all disciplines. This team is charged with assisting the Foundation to reach out to organisations, medical trusts, and individuals in the Waikato to encourage their financial support and endorsement for the research fund appeal. The total raised by the fundraising teams as at November 2013 is just over $1,000,000.

We believe that the fundraising appeal provides an outstanding opportunity to get in behind a true community programme that directly benefits people of all ages and from all walks of life throughout the region. 

The fundraising appeal will be a call to the community to support the trustees' efforts to provide the region with a fund that will support health research funding needs both for today and for many years to come.

How you can help

Personal and community support is vital to the success of the Fundraising Appeal. We ask you to consider supporting us in this project, sharing in the foundation's commitment to constantly add value to the vital medical research programmes it continues to fund. 

There are several opportunities available to you to help us: 

  • Online donations may be made via the donations page on this website or via internet banking to our appeal account number: 030 306 0208170 01 Waikato Medical Research foundation Appeal Account, Westpac Bank, 426 Victoria Street Hamilton 
  • Credit card donations may be made via our website donation page
  • Gifts of cash may be made as a one off gift or may be pledged over three to five years. A pledged gift may allow you as a donor to contribute a larger gift if it is spread over a period of time. Pledge Form here
  • Business and corporate sponsorships
  • Gifts by bequest or legacy

Other ways of giving include providing goods and services (gifts in kind), gifts designated to a specific field of medical research, memorial gifts, assignment of income from rental properties or businesses, assignment of share parcels or by rural agistment.

Naming opportunities will also be available to donors who may wish to link their family or business name with a gift to a particular sector of medical research.

Taxation information

Gifts to the foundation appeal are tax deductible. Any individual who makes a gift of $5 or more can claim one third of their taxable income or one third of the total donations made in that tax year, whichever is the lesser amount.

Also, companies are now entitled to deduct from their net income any donations made to a charitable organisation as an expense. The total amount that can be deducted is limited only by the amount of the company's net income.

If you are in doubt about your gifts taxable status we suggest you either give us a call or contact your accountant or legal advisor.

Other ways of gifting

You may wish to make a gift in a way that is special to you, perhaps in a way we have not covered above. If so, or if there are any other issues you would like to discuss regarding support for our appeal, we would gladly spend some time with you to ascertain the most efficient way to make your gift.

With your help we can make a real difference in improving the quality of life for people of all ages throughout the Waikato.

To talk to us about the appeal please contact:

Dr Noel Karalus, Patron,    2016 / 17  Waikato Medical Research Foundation

Mobile: 021 993 446

Dr Maggie Fisher,  Chairperson, 2016 / 17 Waikato Medical Research Foundation


Mobile: 021 762 935