The best job in the world

The best job in the world

Sandi Wood
Advance Ashburton Community Foundation
14 November 2018

I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to be able to do what I do. Working in the philanthropic world of Community Foundations is a continual feeling of being both inspired and awestruck. Being able to meet everyday people that have such a passion for their community, that wish to be the changemakers and give so generously to causes that they care deeply about, is a privilege.

The concept is amazing and simple: local people are taking charge of transforming their communities by leaving a legacy that will positively impact the community for future generations to come. The impact will reach far beyond the measure of their lifetime; it’s strategic giving with real intent for transformative change.

As George G Kirstein very wisely said, “apart from the ballot box, philanthropy presents the one opportunity the individual has to express their meaningful choice over the direction in which our society will progress.” Here through our local Community Foundations we are helping people to find that opportunity.

When a vacancy arose on the Board of Community Foundations of New Zealand, it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.  This team is inspiring Community Foundations nationwide through strong leadership, guidance, advice and a collaborative approach to lobbying for change.  I can’t help but feel very honoured to be a part of such an inspirational team and I look forward to being able to offer a new dynamic with my hands-on experience.

We live in such impressive communities, with an overwhelming network of generous people, whether it be from volunteering time to donating money and everything in between – it is an unstoppable force that is making positive change everywhere.

Anyone can leave a legacy, and it is my passion to inspire generosity, to enable local people to donate to causes they are most passionate about. This is helping our future generations so they may never know the hardship of what it’s like to have a lack of resource or funding. It’s the best job in the world and I’m honored to be a part of it.

 

Sandi Wood has recently joined the Board of CFNZ, for further details and Board profiles go to the link.

Working together will mean real success

Working together will mean real success

Stacey-ScottStacey Scott
Chair, CFNZ
5 October 2018

Again we saw the incredible sharing of energy and ideas at our national gathering in Wellington this month. It’s a privilege to work with so many gifted people across the sector so dedicated to encouraging people to think personal generosity leading to community transformation.

It’s certainly been an action-packed year for the Community Foundation movement in New Zealand.  Our initiatives, projects and events around the country explored new ways to create lasting impact, for today and for future generations.

When Community Foundations of New Zealand was formed our movement had a vision to bring people together, to foster professional development and to increase our impact through collaboration. Today we have over $110m under managed funds, in the past year 800 grants have been made to local communities, and 80% of New Zealanders have access to their own Community Foundation.  Significantly, hundreds of millions of dollars more are in the pipeline as bequests gifted in Wills to local communities. These really are staggering results from such a young movement in this country.

Just as the number of donors and grants grow each year, Community Foundations of New Zealand continues to grow and evolve.  We do this together with many partners around the country who share our vision of a more community-led future for us all. It has been extraordinary to watch the Community Foundation movement grow its reach, influence and impact from one end of the country to the other… and beyond.

As we look to the future, we see a constantly evolving country. We are getting older, becoming more diverse, more urbanised and are using technology in ways that were difficult to imagine even a few years ago. Part of our responsibility as a national network is to anticipate and respond to such changes to help build stronger, more inclusive communities of tomorrow.

Growth demands evolution and while Community Foundations remain deeply committed to place-based philanthropy, we are increasingly recognising that our community is not just defined by the place we live in. We all belong to many different communities and CFNZ is committed to strengthening and supporting those connections to help create a better future for all New Zealanders. To that end, CFNZ will continue to support all forms of engaged and accessible philanthropy, so our members can support the issues and causes important to their communities.

We saw in Wellington this month again the dedication of our members to continuing the growth of community philanthropy across New Zealand.  We were honoured to have the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Peeni Henare, join us and his message to us was to get organised and to be clear on how we can work more effectively in partnership with Government. And, as always, we appreciate the vision and support for our mission from our partners, The Tindall Foundation and Craigs Investment Partners, both of whom have been crucial to our success so far.

Coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress, and working together will mean real success.

 

A few photos from our national Workshop, 2-3 October 2018

See further photos from our national hui on our Facebook page.

Professional advisors are key

What an opportunity we have ahead of us and professional advisors are key

Eleanor Cater
Community Foundations of New Zealand
3 September 2018

Professional advisors are often surprised to discover how many people get great fulfillment from personal giving.

Gone are the days where giving to charity exclusively means dropping money in a bucket or sponsoring a child. There many options today that allow people to consider structuring their giving to causes that they care about in a more strategic, a more fulfilling way. Knowing what these options are can lead to very meaningful lawyer-client conversations.

Lawyer Bill Holland, who founded the Acorn Foundation in Tauranga in 2003, often says that meaningful conversations about giving or philanthropy can add significant value to lawyer-client relationships. He says that many clients do want to have a warm conversation about their interests and their passions and certainly do want to have a meaningful conversation that goes beyond the technical.

We are certainly seeing in New Zealand more people discovering that they can give back to their communities in a myriad of ways. Once people know their options we find that the giving strategically can be a very appealing prospect.

Conversations on giving are particularly important today as we are poised to see an unprecedented intergenerational wealth transfer from the baby boomer generation about to take place. According to Philanthropy New Zealand the intergenerational wealth transfer in Australia and New Zealand will likely exceed $600 billion over the next 20 years.

What a difference it could make if we can channel a portion of the baby boomer wealth towards philanthropy. Put into effective and professionally managed funds  it could be transformational in communities and change the charity landscape of New Zealand forever.

The Research

Studies from Canada indicate that 76% of clients agree that discussing philanthropy with their advisor strengthens the relationship. 2013 American research has also revealed that such philanthropic conversations would likely improve the client-advisor relationship and strengthen future business opportunities. A 2016 UK study found that the estate-making process can reliably shape whether people leave assets to charity in their Will; yet a 2015 QUT Survey found that only 1/3 of advisors discuss philanthropic issues with their clients. There’s a big opportunity here.

What are the options for giving?

Options for giving are many, varied and can be tailored to an individual’s needs and desires.  Knowing the difference in types of giving can be a real eye-opener and many people are delighted to discover that there are more strategic ways beyond traditional charitable giving.

For example, establishing an endowment fund is like having your own charitable Trust without all the hassle. It enables clients to focus on their giving and the causes that they care about and it enables them to give for the long-term. In fact it enables them to go on giving to causes that they care about forever. It’s transformational, it’s impactful and its reach is so much greater than traditional charity giving.

 

There’s a whole section on this website dedicated to information for professional advisors. You could share it with a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor you know; it could lead to something quite fufilling and, potentially, something quite transformational in the community where your heart resides.

 

See further details in the article ‘Adding Significant Value to Client Relationships‘ in the September 2018 Edition of the NZ Law Society’s Lawtalk magazine.

Investing directly into community impact

Investing directly into community impact

Copyright Image: William Booth / www.photosport.nz

Clive Pedley
Director, Giving Architects Ltd
27 August 2018

Values-based investment is an important consideration for all socially-minded investors, none more so than Community Foundations.  When investment can generate not only the revenue required for our donor-inspired grants programmes, but also generate an intentional measured positive impact, values-based investment takes on a whole new meaning. Welcome to impact investment.

The Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) has released its latest benchmark reports in recent weeks which shows the incredible growth and generally superior performance of responsible investment (RI) portfolios.  In New Zealand RI has grown from $17Bn in 2010 to over $180Bn in 2018.  Within the responsible investment spectrum is a growing and in-demand impact investment opportunity.

Impact investment was described by David Carrington, as UK-based Associate of Giving Architects, earlier this year as: “The investment of funds in an organisation with the deliberate intention that those funds will help to secure a clear, positive and measurable public benefit, while also generating a financial return”.

The New Zealand National Advisory Board on Impact Investment (NAB) was launched in April this year and is scheduled to be approved as a member of the Global Steering Group on Impact Investment in Delhi in October.  The NAB, along with a number of practitioners and early adopter investors in the local market, are working to increase the scale and scope of impact investment opportunities in New Zealand.

While relatively new in its current format in New Zealand (there are many examples of an impact investment approach in Maori culture pre-dating European arrival), in its modern form it is well established in international markets and is also effectively used by Community Foundations, including in Canada, as highlighted in this document.

What makes an impact investment unique from the also good responsible investment option, is:

  • The investor and the investee are both intentional about this investment delivering a blended value social/environmental/cultural/economic return alongside a financial return;
  • The impact intended is clearly defined, evidenced and will be robustly measured; and
  • The investment has additionality features, such as building on existing assets and delivering an impact that would not or could not be achieved otherwise by the market.

In New Zealand most recently, awareness of impact investment has been largely limited to Social Impact Bonds and equity investment into social enterprises.  There are other options, especially social lending, which is significant in more mature markets.  Options here are limited but certainly likely to increase, along with a growing awareness of the complementary relationship between traditional philanthropy and impact investment.

Whether through debt (i.e. social lending), equity (i.e. social enterprise investment) or fixed interest products (under development), impact investment offers Community Foundations an incredible opportunity to move one step beyond achieving socially responsible investment returns through robust investment policies.

Investing directly into community impact is possible, there are trail blazers ahead of us showing the way, and our society will increasingly expect it from us.

 

Clive Pedley is the Director of Giving Architects and on the inaugural Board of the new Community Foundation which will be launching 2019 in the Manawatu region.

Congratulations Clutha

Congratulations, Clutha!

Stacey-ScottStacey Scott
Chair
Community Foundations of New Zealand
15 August 2018

The Clutha Foundation, a local fund to be grown by the generosity of locals, is launching this week, in Balclutha, Otago.

New Zealand’s newest Community Foundation will be one of 16 around New Zealand which is being grown by the power of local generosity. People can give to the Foundation and their money is pooled and invested, with the income being returned to community causes.

The Clutha District hopes to emulate the success Community Foundations are seeing in other parts of the country, where we are seeing growing local funds really transforming communities.

It’s no surprise that Community Foundations are proving to be such a success story in New Zealand. Kiwis love their local communities and our country fosters a culture of giving, and giving back to communities is a really fulfilling. New Zealanders are very generous, they want to make a difference and leave a legacy for the future. It’s empowering for many to discover an easy way to do this, for the long term, is through their local Community Foundation.

And Community Foundations are not just for the wealthy, we see many every day Kiwis who want to give to their community, either in life or through their estate when they leave this world. It’s amazing to see that so many people simply gain so much joy from giving.

Former Prime Minister and the long-serving Clutha-Southland MP Sir William English is the Foundation’s Patron.  He has said he can see the long-term potential of such an initiative, and that increasingly communities need to take charge of their own needs. We agree that giving this opportunity directly to local communities themselves is very empowering. Change can come from within.

We have the right people driving this for the Clutha District and the potential is very encouraging. Congratulations Clutha, both CFNZ and other Community Foundations look forward to playing a part in your success as your local folk give where they live and, over time, enable local community transformation.

See the Otago Daily Times story about the Clutha Foundation launch on 17th August at the link.  Further photos from the launch are on our Facebook page.

Photos from the Clutha Foundation launch, 17th August 2018 in Balclutha, Otago

A new breed of community leadership

A new breed of community leadership

Kelvyn Eglinton
CEO
Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
13 July 2018

People can define themselves, particularly through social media, by being against something. The opportunity is to utilise the medium to define oneself by what we support.

In the four months at Momentum Waikato Community Foundation I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people to support causes that are close to their heart.

I am optimistic for our region. There is a new breed of community and business leadership that is focused on driving an economy that provides purpose to its community and is generous with its skills, funds and vision.

The opportunity for the Waikato (and indeed NZ Inc) is to leverage its strengths to shape a region that has resilience in all areas of economy, community, environment and culture.

This aligns with the government Purpose Economy but importantly enables adaption and meeting expectations of a community to resolve its challenges and build on its strengths in partnership. This requires different localised models of collaboration from procurement, to project delivery and support services that recognises how to connect people, business and natural resources in equal measure.

Value over volume. Leadership that brings that thinking and implementation to the table and understand how to partner thrive here. Bring it on! 

Investing forever

Investing in your community forever

Liz Koh
Deputy Chair
Nikau Foundation
13 June 2018

New Zealanders have always been good at giving to others. Whether it is selling sausages, baking for a cake stall or running errands for elderly neighbours, most Kiwis pitch in at some stage in their lives to lend a helping hand. Our generosity is also to be seen on collection days for charities and in the regular donations made to favourite organisations. Some people are lucky enough to have more money than they will ever spend in their lifetime. For the super-rich, establishing a trust or foundation to make charitable distributions is a way of using surplus wealth to benefit others. The Tindall Foundation, JR McKenzie Trust and Todd Foundation are examples of such organisations which will continue to do good things beyond the lifespan of their founder donors.

Setting up your own charitable trust is an expensive and complex business. It involves preparing the trust deed, administration of the trust, making charitable donations and compliance with regulations for charitable organisations. Smaller trusts often struggle to find trustees once the founder donor has passed away, and poor management often results in funds diminishing over time to a point where meaningful donations can no longer be made.

A simple solution for those with a philanthropic bent but without a massive fortune is to establish a donor-advised endowment fund where funds are invested and the returns distributed in accordance with directives from the donor.  Endowment funds are cheaper to administer, more tax efficient and flexible to operate. They can be established with modest amounts of money, making them accessible to everyone. Community Foundations of New Zealand is a network of sixteen local community foundations which offer donor-advised endowment funds. They provide an easy and inexpensive way for people to invest part of their wealth forever, for the benefit of their local community.

Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser (www.moneymax.co.nz ) and Deputy Chair at Wellington’s Nikau Foundation. 

An example of Endowment Fund growth since 2003:

* Image example from Acorn Foundation

We all have a role to play

We all have a role to play in the prosperity of our region

Amy Carter
CEO
The Christchurch Foundation
1 June 2018

 

Recently New Zealand was named as the second most prosperous country in the world by The Legatum Institute.  The London based think tank released its annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous nations.

New Zealand now outranks Finland – a country we are often highlighted as performing poorly against. Since the index was founded in 2007 our lowest place was fourth and we have taken out top spot seven times.

Given recent newspaper headlines outlining our childhood poverty statistics, the housing crisis and rivers we can’t swim in, this came as a surprise to me. So, I did a little more research and thinking.

The Legatum Institute doesn’t view prosperity as being just the amount of money that a country has.  It compared 104 variables in developing the rankings including personal freedom, natural environment and social capital.

Further reading on their website provides more detail.  It is worth investing some time in, over a cup of tea.

When reviewing these results, it seems to me that all of us have a role to play to ensure that our collective prosperity is spread more.  We are doing ok but can do better. Smart central government policy and investment are obviously key, but these wheels take time to turn.

In contrary a nimble, grassroots engaged, fact-based charity or social enterprise can make an impact quickly, if it is well supported.

That is why we have established The Christchurch Foundation as a vehicle for our region’s generosity. We can connect people who have the means to alter the course of the issues our regions faces. We have the ability to be flexible and to take risks and be responsive to our community needs in a way that is difficult or slow for central and local government.

Christchurch in time could become even more prosperous if we can channel the region’s wealth in a meaningful way.

Reflections on growth

Reflections on growth

Nicky Wilkins
General Manager
Acorn Foundation
May 9 2018

As I reflect on the growth of the Acorn Foundation, it’s an incredible story to tell.  When I started with Acorn we had $96,000 invested, 12 years later our managed funds are at $21.6 million. In addition we have over $160 million in anticipated funds (or bequests) coming in the future. These are staggering numbers, and all dedicated funds for the benefit of the Western Bay of Plenty. Grown by the people for the people. It’s wonderful stuff.

And we’re not finished yet, the growth of the Acorn Foundation, and Community Foundations, is really starting to snowball in New Zealand. In the future we will have very sizeable assets which will be changemaking in communities across the country.

When I started with the Acorn Foundation in 2006, we really were breaking new ground in New Zealand and having to “beg, borrow and steal” ideas for Community Foundations from overseas. We don’t have to do that today as we have developed models that work well here and we are learning from each other all the time.

Over the years I have worked with quite a number of Community Foundation Trustees and staff and it is very exciting to see these Foundations really thriving today.  There is such a genuine attitude of sharing, support and collaboration in this sector and it has been a blessing for me working with many of the amazing people across New Zealand.

It has also been a huge privilege acting as the Funding Manager for The Tindall Foundation since 2003 and Tindall has been generous in supporting national workshops for Community Foundation trustees and staff.  Over time we realised it was essential to have a national body co-ordinating the fledgling Community Foundations, culminating in CFNZ being established in 2013. I was a Trustee on the inaugural board and also acted as Secretary.  After a few years this became too much work (in addition to my Acorn role) and we were delighted when the Tindall Foundation and Craigs Investment Partners agreed to strategically partner with CFNZ. Their strategic vision enabled us to employ our first national staff member, Eleanor Cater, to help to steer the ship and build philanthropic giving in communities across the country.

I’ve been fortunate to attend two conferences in Canada which played a significant part in the introduction of Vital Signs® research to New Zealand. Vital Signs has been an invaluable tool for Acorn in terms of developing our funding and distribution model and has given us added credibility to the work that we do.

No one gets results on their own and with the Acorn Trustees providing excellent governance and stewardship, Margot McCool has played a vital role in supporting me at the Acorn Foundation. It has been a real delight working with someone who is so passionate about our local community.

There have been many highlights in my 12 years with Community Foundations but the most memorable are the wonderful relationships I have built with many of our donors.  These are people I will genuinely miss when I move on in June.

To everyone involved in the movement of growing Community Foundations and generosity in New Zealand, I send a heartfelt thank you. What a difference we will make to our country as we continue to connect generous people who care with causes that matter – forever.

Acorn Foundation

Progressing the Vision

Progressing the vision

Kelvyn Eglinton
CEO
Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
11 April 2018

At recent Institute of Directors conference the Minister of Finance, the Honorable Grant Robertson, noted the aspiration of the Labour Government to define the success of New Zealand, not simply by Gross Domestic Product growth and economic data, but by also including the way in which we address our national social and environmental measures.

The concept of utilising the Living Standards Framework to identify key measures that New Zealand should address and setting targets for how the whole of government should seek to impact positively on social issues is a key step change for New Zealand as a country.

Already we have seen the Prime Minister set Child Poverty reduction targets within Treasury and other departments. Additionally, the Minister stated that to resolve these issues, business leaders and government were going to have to partner with the social sector.

Importantly this provides an avenue for philanthropy and Community Foundations throughout New Zealand to align the needs of their communities with their generous donors and thoughtful gifting, with the government and business focus areas.

Here at Momentum Waikato, and through the evidence-based and robust Vital Signs process, we have a clear approach to identifying the region’s aspirations and issues for resolution.

And it is through the act of giving that we seek to leverage other investment to make profound change in society for the betterment of the Waikato community and make ‘a better Waikato for everyone; forever’.

To do this we are focused on three main objectives:

  • Building a Long-Term Endowment – The Waikato Future Fund such that the fund generates returns that can be granted to change agents within our communities in perpetuity.
  • Secondly, we want to link generous donors to issues and subjects that matter to them and in doing so leverage other donors who have the same interests and leverage greater returns for the donors and the agencies.
  • And thirdly, we want to drive and support transformational projects and programmes, our current project being the Waikato Regional Theatre. Future identification of regional transformational projects will form a pipeline of opportunities to leverage partner funding.

We see philanthropy as thoughtful giving – the philosophy being that we seek to make significant investments and grants to change agents who will make disruptive change and positive impact to issues that are important to society and the environment.  Key to this is the linking of donor centric interests to the evidence-based Vital Signs findings.

Momentum Waikato is also keen to explore how innovation can be utilised to impact on social issues.  How can creativity and execution of ideas be supported by philanthropy to positively impact change?

To be able to lead this organisation, in a time where the communities need to leverage all of our collective wisdom in new and innovative ways, is a great opportunity.  To build on the work of the previous CEO Cheryl Reynolds and work with the current team to progress the vision of Momentum Waikato is exciting.

We look forward to sharing our journey with you and learning from you as we go about making Waikato the most generous region on the planet.