Kidicorp owners give childcare firm to charity

BIG CHANGES: "We were very successful financially younger in life and money has never been of much interest to us. Were just interested in making a difference," said Wayne Wright, who founded Kidicorp with his wife Chloe.

BIG CHANGES: “We were very successful financially younger in life and money has never been of much interest to us. We’re just interested in making a difference,” said Wayne Wright, who founded Kidicorp with his wife Chloe.

The owners of the country’s biggest childcare company, Kidicorp, are ditching the corporate name and giving the whole operation to charity.

Wayne and Chloe Wright, whose family trust has owned Kidicorp since privatising it in 2007, have transferred the company to the Wright Family Foundation, a new registered charity.

Wayne Wright said it was their passion to make a difference to the lives of children.

“We were very successful financially younger in life and money has never been of much interest to us. We’re just interested in making a difference. There’s not too many people that have that view – in fact I’m regularly surprised at the way people want to hang on to their money. We’re just not like that.”

The company, which runs 256 childcare centres up and down the country, has been renamed Best Start Educare. As a company wholly owned by a registered charity, Best Start will benefit from tax-exempt status.

Its services will continue to operate under current brand names, including Top Kids, ABC, First Steps and Edukids. Collectively they look after about 19,000 children and employ more than 4800 people.

Wayne Wright said although the operation would have been valuable to outside investors, “we wanted to protect the quality features and community-centric approach we’ve built up over the years.

“We’ve accepted the reality that commercially driven owners would be focused on returns to shareholders and likely compromise what Best Start stands for – improving children’s lives across New Zealand.”

The Wrights have previously flirted with an overtly corporate model, listing KidiCorp through a reverse takeover in 2003. 

The move was not an outstanding success and the family bought Kidicorp back in 2007 in a deal valuing it about $42m.

In an interview with the Sunday Star-Times last year, Wayne Wright said the public markets were difficult for a childcare-focused business.

“It’s just an impossible situation. You can’t satisfy parents who want to hold fee costs, the teachers who want a raise and the shareholders that want a dividend. That’s why I reprivatised it. We just couldn’t survive in that scenario.”

Chloe Wright said moving ownership into a charitable foundation was a natural progression.

“Profit and returns have never been a priority for us, so this seemed to be the natural and right thing to do. We wanted to make our not-for-profit structure clear and official.”

The Wright Family Foundation was registered as a charity in August last year. Its officers are Wayne and Chloe Wright and Tauranga solicitor William Holland.


 – Stuff

Source Article from http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/67519913/Kidicorp-owners-give-childcare-firm-to-charity
Kidicorp owners give childcare firm to charity
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/67519913/Kidicorp-owners-give-childcare-firm-to-charity
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