Turning 1% into 100%

When UpsideDowns told us that your 1% donations have helped introduce a new 100% subsidy option for families in need, we had to learn more. Here's the exciting update!

UpsideDowns started in 2003 with a handful of Auckland families. We’ve grown a lot in the last 15 years and now we fund over 140 kids with Down syndrome throughout Aotearoa. While we try to get through our wait list as quickly as possible, we haven’t been able to go out and encourage whānau of children with Down syndrome to get in touch with us. As a result, we were worried that some of the families who needed us most weren’t getting through. Until now…

Thanks to our generous donors at One Percent Collective and a major grant from the Hugo Charitable Trust, we are finally in a position to look into this. Towards the end of last year, we did some research into who our members were. The results were worrying but unsurprising. Only 5% of our members were within the most disadvantaged fifth of New Zealand. Why was this?

One barrier for New Zealand’s most disadvantaged families is that we only subsidise 80% of the cost of speech language therapy to a maximum of $2,000 a year per child. There are a few reasons why we have to do this. First, we know how much funding we need to find each year. Second, it means that we can share our funding fairly amongst as many families as possible in order to give many more kids with Downs a voice.

But what if you can’t afford the extra 20%?

An average speech language therapy session costs $100, which means about $20 per week or fortnight for our members. Some of our members are paying up to $3,000 a year in addition to what UpsideDowns can afford to fund. That’s a lot of money for most Kiwis, and completely unattainable for others. We know that speech language therapy gives a child with Downs their best chance for an independent life. There’s no way that a child should miss out on that opportunity for any reason, least of all because they belong to one of our most vulnerable families.

That’s why UpsideDowns is thrilled to announce our third subsidy option, specifically for kids living in financial hardship – 100% of therapy costs up to $1,300 per year.

Any family receiving Jobseeker support, Sole Parent Support, Young Parent Payment or similar is eligible, and the Board accepts any other applications for consideration.

We’re currently approaching a number of other organisations and agencies to try and make sure this option is embraced by our least privileged families. It’s part of our mission to make sure every child with Down syndrome in New Zealand has a voice.

Thank you for giving your 1% – we’re turning it into 100% for the kids who need it most!


Words by Sarah Paterson-Hamlin.

If you’re just learning about the brilliant work UpsideDowns do to empower kids with Down syndrome, check them out here and back them with 1% of your income on the regular now by hitting that huge blue button, thank you!