A smart way forward for local charities

A smart way forward for local charities

Eleanor Cater,
20 May 2019

Many of us know the uncertainty that goes with the ‘scattergun’ approach to fundraising – grant applications out, donor campaigns trialed, ongoing stewardship of bequest prospects and a wide exploration of corporate opportunities and fundraising events. In the world of charity fundraising it sure can be hard to keep your head above water.

What if there was another way? One that will a) attract a more strategic type of donor and larger, more major gifts and b) ensure long term income streams for your charity?

Across New Zealand we work with many local charities who are keen to learn more about creating a sustainable income stream, one which keeps on giving so that the charity can get on with their important mission, their raison d’être, their reason for existing.

What is an endowment fund?

An endowment fund is a major gift or bequest which is invested and grown, with the income flowing back to the charity, in perpetuity (forever).

Ultimately the gift invested in perpetuity will return far more to your charity over time than the original gift would, and it can create a significant and sustainable income stream.

Further, endowment funds appeal to a smart new wave of major donors/bequest prospects and philanthropists, many of whom are increasingly feeling burnout from traditional forms of fundraising and multiple requests for donations.

Global research tells us that major donors are changing their habits and want to become more strategic and more involved in where their charity dollar goes. Our experience across New Zealand backs this up; Kiwis want to effect real change for the long term. They want to feel that philanthropic solutions are within their sphere of influence.

Check out some of the charity endowment funds and the top reasons for establishing them at the link and have a chat with your local Community Foundation today about the possibilities.

In today’s fundraising environment offering more strategic giving options like a professionally managed endowment fund is definitely a smart way forward for any charity.


Eleanor Cater is speaking at the FINZ Conference in June, alongside Acorn Foundation, about endowment funds and creating a sustainable income stream for your charity.

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
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
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! 

Thoughtful, grassroots generosity

Thoughtful, grassroots generosity

Tony Paine
Chief Executive, Philanthropy NZ
16 November 2017

The Community Foundation movement has grown in New Zealand to the point where almost all communities across the country have access to, or are establishing, Foundations. That is great news for people who want to ‘give where they live’, and it will see a significant increase in grantmaking and community support as a result. It is also a testament to the hard work of everyone involved, and the commitment of the Tindall Foundation whose work in this space has been pioneering.

International experience (recent US research shows contributions to donor-advised funds outpaced overall giving by a wide margin again last year) and the track record to-date here suggests the trajectory is all positive. If we can continue to promote and support Community Foundations, there is the potential to create combined portfolios well past the hundred-million-dollar mark, with a growth in local grantmaking at a related scale.

At the heart of the Community Foundation model are three values that resonate for Kiwis. Community Foundations of New Zealand name them as being about:

  • Place—geographically defined, drawing on the love of local community
  • Cause—donor-led giving
  • Forever—the gift will never be spent but continue giving to the local cause in perpetuity.

Put these three factors together and they are powerful drivers of personal generosity that are already supporting significant grantmaking in a number of New Zealand towns and cities.

Like all of philanthropy and grantmaking, Community Foundations are as diverse as their communities and have taken different approaches in different parts of the country. That should be celebrated, as should the steps towards new initiatives like Auckland Foundation’s Women’s Fund or Acorn Foundation and Momentum Waikato’s work on Vital Signs projects which set a great benchmark for regional conversations about impact, priorities, and measurement of change.

Philanthropy New Zealand was delighted to develop an MOU with Community Foundations of NZ. We will support their work promoting the Community Foundation model and ensuring that the grantmaking managed by Community Foundations continues to be an exemplar of thoughtful, grassroots generosity.


Community Foundations of New Zealand are proud to partner with Philanthropy New Zealand, promoting personal generosity in communities across New Zealand. See further details at the link.

Wisdom from Canada

Wisdom from Canada

liz palmieriLiz Palmieri
Liz Palmieri and Associates (former Executive Director of Niagara Community Foundation)
8 August 2017

This year in Ottawa I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet representatives from Community Foundations in New Zealand, where they are fairly new by world standards and growing. It made me think of Canada decades ago and I’m excited for New Zealand as it heads into the next stages of growing the movement.

I was honoured to then be invited to run a workshop for Community Foundations in New Zealand, I gather on the strength of my experience as the first Executive Director of the Niagara Community Foundation in Canada.  I started there in 2001 and we were housed in an office that was donated by a local newspaper. We had raised enough operating funds to cover the first three years of operation and I was the only staff person. It was very small beginnings and, looking back, quite terrifying at times when you are expected to do everything.

I left Niagara Community Foundation in May 2016 and it was through the support and commitment of so many wonderful volunteers, donors, and supporters that our foundation increased our assets to $30 million and our annual grants being made are at more than $1.3 million.

I’m looking forward to leading and participating in sessions at the New Zealand workshop, I am sure that I will learn lots from New Zealand Community Foundations and am looking forward to sharing lessons learned and best practices from the Canadian Community Foundation movement.  I believe that much of what I learned along the way will be particularly relevant as the movement grows in New Zealand.

During the years that we were building our Community Foundation in Niagara the support that we received from Community Foundations of Canada, as well as our peers across the country, was instrumental to our success.  We shared resources, policies, and practices so we didn’t have to invent the wheel every step of the way.  We could also ask dumb questions to our colleagues and it was their answers that made us appear brilliant to our Trustees!

There is a saying in the Community Foundation movement that “when you see one Community Foundation you see one Community Foundation”.  While we fundamentally are in the same business, we are all unique in how we reflect our own communities within our Community Foundation.

See you in Wellington in September, I am so looking forward to doing what I can to assist in building momentum in New Zealand.


See the CFNZ Workshop Programme at the link here.

Small can mean big in terms of success!

Small can mean big in terms of success!

Margaret rickardMargaret Rickard
Advance Ashburton Community Foundation
27 July 2017

It’s funny to reflect that, when the idea of starting a Foundation in the Ashburton district was first put forward in 2003, the general feeling was that the Ashburton district (population approximately 30,000) was too small.

Through patience, hard work and the tenacity of Neil Sinclair (the first chair) and his Trustees Advance Ashburton had time to grow slowly, but surely, to the size and strength it is now – currently $10.2 million under managed funds.

There was very little expenditure and no staff for the first seven years and, when I was employed as the first Executive Officer in 2010, total assets were $569,000.

The success which followed was based on a lot of hard work! The Board all used their considerable time, skills and influence to make things happen. Looking back I think it could be underestimated how much hard work and passion has been put in by a small group.

I think that a small community has the powerful ability to use networks well. If the Board and staff are well chosen those networks will ensure progress is made. A small community, such as ours, is also delightfully parochial. We do not look to the national picture, we just want it to work locally. This has great appeal to our donors. Our donors like to see the results of their generosity. This may be a donor visiting the school, or it may be donors meeting and following the progress of local young people who have been awarded scholarships.

Some of the values that have been important to our growth have been simple but effective. A good reputation, not spending unnecessarily, good investing, great relationships with local media, displaying professionalism and a caring attitude, the integrity and standing of Trustees and staff in the community, really looking after our donors and making sure we tell their story often. We care and it shows.

The Ashburton Hospital redevelopment ($1.5 million last year through Advance Ashburton), the establishment of the Rural Health Academic Centre Ashburton (funded by two of our donors), the BOOST programme (over 100  seven-eight year olds receiving additional literacy help within the primary school system), our scholarship programme ($ 53,000 last year); our assistance at the local high school for a group of “out of control” 13 and 14 year olds – these major grants have all played their part in building community awareness of what we do.

Advance Ashburton gives small grants to many community groups but it is finding the “need” in the community and then finding donors to match that “need”, that has the real impact.

Make no mistake; a small population base does not at all mean “small” in terms of the success of a Community Foundation!


Margaret Rickard has signed off after seven years driving Advance Ashburton to become such a local force for good. Read more about the rise of this Community Foundation in the Ashburton Guardian here.