Just in time for Christmas, the Ruel Foundation, Papamoa Playcentre and Te Puke Playcentre have all received funding in the final round of Mazda Foundation.

The Ruel Foundation works with local and wider communities to create "a movement of positive interactions" through their Give a Smile programme, which raises awareness of the needs of others, specifically cleft lip and palate in New Zealand and abroad.

The foundation received $3572 to replace worn-out office equipment for their new office space.

The grant was part of the foundation's final funding round for 2017, with more than $110,000 donated to 35 recipients around New Zealand, the largest amount gifted since its inception in 2005.

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Ruel Foundation event and child sponsorship coordinator Eunice Chivers says parents of children born with a cleft are often confused, scared and in some cases, ashamed.

"By providing counselling and support we are able to help the parent see that this is a common occurrence, that there is a corrective solution and supportive community.

"We also help with funding for their surgeries and provide care for malnourished and impoverished families abroad.

The grant will ensure we can continue with our work in New Zealand, Fiji and the Philippines."

Papamoa Playcentre was gifted $1449 to replace the centre's oven. The playcentre is one of the oldest and largest in the Bay of Plenty with 90 children enrolled.

Papamoa Playcentre grants officer Emily Malthus says the playcentre's oven was ancient and wasn't working effectively.

"Our oven was approximately 20 years old. With the grant from the Mazda Foundation our little ones can improve their motor skills by integrating their learning of maths and science through process cooking."

Te Puke Playcentre received $2397 to replace a shade sail that covers the children's sandpit.

Playcentre secretary Lauren Green says the sail had stretched and was repeatedly torn.

"This Mazda Foundation grant is much appreciated as it means we can replace the sail, so
the children can be kept safe from the sun," she says.

Each year the Mazda Foundation hosts three funding rounds to help Kiwis in need, having gifted more than $2.8 million back to the community since 2005.

Mazda New Zealand managing director David Hodge says Mazda is excited to see how the biggest round of funding to date will benefit and help organisations and individuals around the country.

"It's fantastic to see what great work the Bay of Plenty community is doing. "We love being able to make a difference, whether it's for programmes that support children in need or for Playcentre equipment upgrades."

"There are many similar groups and individuals across the country doing great work in their communities that need funding, I urge them to apply for a Mazda Foundation grant.

We love helping communities fulfil their dreams, whether they be big or small. A little can still go a long way," he says.

The Mazda Foundation is funded through a contribution from the sale of every new Mazda in New Zealand.

The closing date for the next round of Mazda Foundation applications is March 31, 2018.

For more information or an application form, visit www.mazdafoundation.org.nz