The Donna McDermid Memorial Fund is an initiative of Australian Relief & Mercy Services Ltd (Australian Mercy). The fund has been set up to help address issues of gender injustice and sexual abuse in women in the Developing World. Through it, Australian Mercy seeks to perpetually fund projects it identifies as being within its funding guidelines. The fund operates inside of Australian Mercy aid and development framework and donations to it are tax deductible. The Donna McDermid Memorial Fund is subject to the provisions of Australian Mercy annual audit.
This fund is named after the late Mrs. Donna McDermid a great supporter of the work and ministry of Australian Mercy and former missionary to India who was passionate about these issues. It is the view of the Board of Australian Mercy that having known Donna for many years, that the naming of such a Fund after her is a most appropriate thing to do.
Object of the Fund
The object of the Donna McDermid Memorial Fund is to provide funding that will help in the reduction of sexual abuse and improvement of the status of women in the Developing World through the funding of education programs, empowerment programs or intervention programs.
Governance of the Fund
The Donna McDermid Memorial Fund is the legal responsibility of the Board of Australian Mercy. The investment of funds donated to the Fund will be overseen by the Australian Mercy Board in accordance with its policies and procedures.
Disbursal of funds that are accumulated in the Fund from interest and other investment income will be passed over to an Advisory Board which will have the responsibility of identifying worthy projects whose criteria match those of the DMMF and disbursing funds accordingly in line with the stated objects of is document and the financial policies of Australian Mercy.
Special grants which are outside of the normal scope of the Fund can only be made by the Advisory Board after it has gained approval from the Australian Mercy Board.
Funds for the DMMF will be raised through public subscription. The Fund will operate from specifically designated bank accounts that are within the scope of the Australian Mercy Audit.
The Donna McDermid Memorial Fund has two main components; an investment fund and a financial appeals mechanism, these components work in this way.
Australian Mercy through the Donna McDermid Memorial Fund solicits donations which are invested with reliable conservative financial institutions. These investments are under the direct control of the Australian Mercy Board. Dividends from these investments are distributed according to the following formula;
70% of dividend is distributed to projects that fit the funding criteria at the discretion of the Australian Mercy Board
20% of dividends are reinvested back into the fund to promote fund growth and to lessen the impact of inflation
5% of dividends are used to cover Donna McDermid Memorial Fund operational costs.
5% of dividends are given to Australian Mercy to cover audit and administration cost
Financial Appeals Mechanism
From time to time the Board of Australian Mercy will fund raise through the Donna McDermid Memorial Fund in order to assist an approved project or cause. In such cases an appeal target is set. Funds are distributed according to the following formula:
95% of funds raised are sent to the appeal target
5% of funds raised are used to cover admin costs.
Funds that are in excess of any DMMF appeal target are donated to the Donna McDermid Investment Fund.
Donations to the fund are invested in ethical and conservative investments according to the Boards investment guidelines. Dividends from these investments are distributed in accordance with the above formula.
An advisory board has been set up for the Donna McDermid Memorial Fund. This board is made up of members from the Australian Mercy Board and the McDermid family. The advisory board will administer the distribution of funds.
Beneficiaries of the DMMF
Beneficiaries of the DMMF are defined as development projects or individuals involved in development projects that fulfill the following criteria;
In order to receive funding for the DMMF a project must fulfill criteria 5.1 (a) plus either 5.1 (b) or 5.1 (c) or both.
If the project seeking funding is not linked to either Youth With A Mission or Australian Mercy but has a Christian basis for its work and fulfills criteria 5.1 (b) or 5.1 (c) or both then the Advisory Board can make a special grant to such a project as long as it has ratification from the Australian Mercy Board for that disbursal to be made to that organization. Such disbursals will be minuted in the Australian Mercy Board minutes.
Funds from the DMMF can be used for a variety of purposes which include salaries and wages, general running costs, capital purchases, and in some cases where the Advisory Board is convinced that it is in the best interests of those who the Fund is seeking to help, i.e. victim of sexual abuse and women whose status is demeaned who are living in the developing world funds from the Fund can be used for the purchase of buildings, or land on which suitable buildings can be erected.
Funds from the Fund can also be used to pay for the costs of travel and course fees for workers who are training to work in the area of sexual abuse in the developing world or with projects that are seeking to improve the status of women in the developing world.
Funds may also be used to give grants to women, who are resident in the Developing World, who in the view of the DMMF Advisory Board are suffering because their status is demeaned or who are victims of sexual abuse, who are seeking to educate themselves.
Special Grants are one off grants made to projects that do not fully fit the criteria of 5.1 (a). These grants can only be made with the approval of the Australian Mercy Board and must be minuted in the Australian Mercy Board Minutes. Funding through Special Grants are one off only, no organization or project can receive continuous funding through a special grant.
Winding up of the Fund
Should circumstances arise whereby Australian Relief & Mercy Services Ltd ceases to exist then the Australian Mercy Board and DMMF Advisory Board or company administrators shall place the funds of the Donna McDermid Memorial Fund into the safe keeping of ANZ Trustees and form a new entity of the same name and instruct ANZ Trustees that the new entity should be based on the outlines found in this Memorandum of Understanding with the McDermid family and in the operational guidelines of the DMMF.
Donations to the Donna McDermid Memorial Fund can be made by Credit Card, PayPal, cheque or bank deposit. All details can be found at the Australian Mercy giving page. US and Canadian donors who are seeking tax deductibility for their donations will also find information about how to do that at Australian Mercy giving page.