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.

Our generous women

Our generous women

dellwynDellwyn Stuart
CEO, Auckland Foundation

5 July 2017

Women are becoming more and more influential in philanthropy, as earning power and financial independence grows. They control more of the financial pie than ever before and this is set to rise with a huge wealth transfer on the horizon and women set to be significant winners.

Research tells us that women tend to view money in terms of personal security, freedom and a way to achieve goals – so does it translate that women’s giving is different?

While there is no New Zealand specific research, some studies in the US have looked at philanthropy from this perspective.   The findings say that women tend to be more altruistic and empathetic, partly because of the way they are socialised regarding caring, self-sacrifice and the well-being of others. The research also suggests that women tend to give to promote social change or help others who are less fortunate.   In addition, they found that women are nearly twice as likely as men to say that giving to charity is the most satisfying aspect of having wealth.

There is another characteristic of women’s philanthropy that has emerged globally and that is collective giving.  The collective giving model pools individual dollars to make significantly larger grants, allowing people of all levels of wealth to participate in big gifts.   It appeals to women because it is a flexible, grass roots model that taps into several emotional drivers of women: creating relationships and community as well as working together for common causes.

Around the world Community Foundations have fostered the growth of Women’s Funds – large collectives that use their pooled funds to make significant grants.  Many focus their grant making on women and girls in their community, applying a gender lens to create greater equity.  This acknowledges that women face different kinds of economic and social challenges, which require different solutions.

In New Zealand, Community Foundations are exploring launching a similar focus on women’s giving.  We’d like to bring like-minded generous women together to learn, collaborate, and make a difference in our communities – while also having some fun!


Auckland Foundation are inviting interested people to attend a breakfast on July 14th to hear about what makes women’s giving different and the vision for this new network and fund. To become involved and for further details email