Theatre donor fueled by family and community
Momentum Waikato loves to celebrate the spirit of giving – and it’s certainly easy to celebrate when people like Gillian Spry are part of this community.
Gillian was the first person to put her hand up as a donor when Momentum Waikato went public with plans for the new Waikato Regional Theatre.
Aside from the great work she does as a partner at Hamilton law firm Norris Ward McKinnon, Gillian has a deeply rooted love of the theatre, which stems from her childhood. As a girl growing up on a sheep and beef farm near Matamata, Gillian was surrounded by words and music. Her father, a World War II veteran, was an intellectual gentleman with an affinity for poetry. Her mother was a singer and was very involved with the Matamata Operatic Society.
Later, Gillian attended Otago University, where her interest in theatre flourished. Although never tempted to cross the line from spectator to performer, Gillian’s lifelong appreciation of the theatre has remained with her throughout every chapter of her life.
Gillian has now been back living in Hamilton for 35 years and has obtained a great deal of pleasure from patronising Hamilton’s theatres, as well as travelling to Auckland to various venues such as Q Theatre and the Maidment.
Gillian hopes her gift to Momentum Waikato for the Waikato Regional Theatre will inspire others to donate. She says as soon as she received information about plans for the new theatre, she decided to become a donor “right then and there.”
“I wanted to show my support for it,” she says. “I think it’s the most wonderful thing to have happened in Hamilton for a long time. The best idea there is for revitalising the central city.”
Gillian says she understands people’s concerns about whether the money being spent on the theatre could be put to a different use. As someone who supports community groups, and marginalised members of society, she hopes people will see the benefits the new theatre will provide for the community overall.
“People need to have enjoyment in their lives, away from the day-to-day grind. The old premise of ‘bread and roses’ is important - providing people with more than bread.
“We need more beautiful things. It’s another level. It’s not only about putting food on the table, it’s about feeling good, too.”
An Entrepreneur AND Her Philosophy of Giving
Putting community first has always been a part of Cheryl Reynolds’ philosophy. Beginning as a young entrepreneur and artist in the UK, she launched Focal Point Gallery in 1991, which provided a much-needed space for artists to exhibit their works. Twenty-five years on, it remains a highly energised venue for exhibitions, performances and film screenings, and is free, which was always Cheryl’s mandate.
Since that time, Cheryl has never stopped seeking to “creatively create change”. An innovative entrepreneur, she studied art and business - winning an entrepreneurial scholarship, which led her to starting many social good enterprises and running a multinational technology company.
In 2003, she arrived on New Zealand’s shores to start Wintec’s Creative Industries Research Centre, where she developed Spark International Festival, Ramp Press, and SODA Inc., Waikato’s entrepreneurship hub. In 2008, she became SODA’s founding CEO, and in 2014 became Momentum Waikato’s founding CEO. “Art is one of my passions, social enterprise is another, and it’s always been important to me to help others. We are all connected, and together, we can creatively create change.”
After four years in the role, Cheryl departs Momentum Waikato this month to begin developing her next social enterprise for generosity - her twelfth startup. During her time as Chief Executive, she has been gifting 10% of her salary back to the foundation through payroll giving, and is using her fund to support two Waikato social enterprises close to her heart. Cheryl said, “I started by giving a percentage of my salary through payroll giving. Anyone can give this way no matter the amount - it’s easy, it adds up and can make a real difference. My fund grew steadily over time, and now I have the joy of choosing how to distribute it to create impact here and now in our community.”
Xtreme Zero Waste is a community enterprise in Raglan, which uses business as a tool to meet the needs of its community and diverts 75% of waste from landfill. Cheryl lives in Raglan, is proud to be on the board of Xtreme, and has decided to use her fund to support the building of a new education centre. Fiona McNabb, Chair of the Xtreme Zero Waste Board, says “we are very grateful to receive this incredibly generous donation from Cheryl. We were gifted the shell of a building, which has been stored for more than a year, but had no funds to erect it. This donation will enable us to have the building ready to receive visitors and provide a learning space that we are so desperately in need of, by early 2018. Cheryl’s gift will carry on creating opportunities for many years to come and many people from within and outside of the Raglan community will benefit.”
Seed Waikato is a newly established ‘for purpose’ organisation that connects and develops young people and their energetic ideas, uniting them under a common vision to make change and inspire. Cheryl’s support for Seed Waikato extends from mentoring Momentum Waikato’s Strategist and Seed Waikato’s co-founder, Gemma Slack, to now providing Seed Waikato with its first private donation. In Gemma’s words, “Cheryl’s leadership at Momentum Waikato and her support of the Waikato youth movement through Seed Waikato has been truly incredible. Her belief in the power of possibilities as well as her generous examples have always inspired others like me to bravely create things that matter”.
Departing Momentum Waikato in December 2017, Cheryl will continue to be a foundation donor to Momentum Waikato, and encourages anyone interested in creating a better Waikato for everyone, forever, to join her.
Trust Waikato’s $15m donation sets the stage for new theatre
Momentum Waikato is incredibly grateful to Trust Waikato for committing to a $15million grant for the Waikato Regional Theatre this month. Trust Waikato’s leadership and commitment to our region means this game-changing project is another step closer to becoming reality.
Trust Waikato supports projects that strengthen communities, encourage participation and inclusion, and support volunteers. It donates to not-for-profit community groups and projects across the greater Waikato region, with a goal to ‘supporting the things that make our corner of the world a better place’.
Trust Waikato Chair, Niwa Nuri is pleased to be supporting the Waikato Regional Theatre which will be at the cutting-edge of many new and exciting developments.
“We are supporting this project at an early stage as the benefits will be so wide-ranging and positive for our communities. The new theatre will add to the cultural, economic and creative opportunities across the region for many years to come,” says Niwa.
Trust Waikato believes their vision for resilient and vibrant communities will be realised in the Waikato Regional Theatre project. This grant recognises that the Waikato Regional Theatre is a project that will contribute to transformational change for the Waikato region, becoming a significant draw-card for international and national performances, providing an opportunity for our local performers and artists and creating a much-needed central venue within the Hamilton CBD’s growing cultural precinct.
Trust Waikato’s grant will support inspiration and development for the Waikato region’s creative talent through the learning and teaching opportunities that will be able to be offered through the new facility.
The Trust Waikato trustees also recognised the opportunities for community engagement through multi-use public areas for gatherings, meetings and in-formal performances. Physically the building will connect with the Waikato River, with open access and connection to promenades, allowing for activation of the space, and access to the river, revitalising the river paths.
The proposed design reflects the site’s pre-European cultural heritage and patterns of iwi settlement, as well as its unique setting adjacent to the river, leading to a vibrant, vital facility.
Due to prudent investment and fiscal management means, this grant from Trust Waikato is being made separately from the Trust Waikato donations budget and it will not impact on the annual donations budget.
Charlotte’s generous gift to the Waikato Regional Theatre
As soon as Charlotte Isaac heard about Momentum Waikato’s aspirational plans for the new Waikato Regional Theatre, she knew she wanted to donate.
Charlotte, a commercial lawyer with Hamilton’s Davidson Twaddle Isaac Law Firm, had been waiting for an opportunity to contribute to the project, as she loved the concept and the location.
“To put a world-class theatre right in the heart of the CBD, right next to the food precinct is brilliant,” she says. “The way it engages the river as well as the CBD, I think it’s great.”
Charlotte hopes her donation will encourage other members of the public to do the same. She feels if we want Hamilton to be a more creative and inspiring place, we all need to contribute somehow. Often volunteering is the way to contribute - but Charlotte thinks if people can put money in, they should. She believes general philanthropy needs to be encouraged.
“We should all envisage the Hamilton we want to live in and help create that,” she says. “If that means occasionally digging into our own pockets and coming up with a bit of cash, we should. The community funders are already extremely stretched.”
Charlotte knows the closure of Founders and the gap it left in the sector has been significant for Hamilton. Everyone, herself included, had been waiting for a solution.
“When Momentum Waikato came up with the idea for the new theatre and invited people to contribute, I immediately thought, yes, I will.”
Charlotte has a long history with theatres in Hamilton, being involved since her school days at Hillcrest High. After studying at Auckland University, she returned to Hamilton and immediately got back into the local theatre scene, joining the Riverlea and Playbox committees.
“What I love about Hamilton is that you can pull a community together,” she says. “We did it for the Meteor and I know it will happen for the new theatre, because people care. People want to be involved and they want to make Hamilton a good place to live.”
Charlotte points out that historically, there was a lot more interest in theatre in Hamilton in the early days of settlement. Back then, touring performing arts groups were commonplace.
“How can we think we don’t need it now when we’re 150,000 more people?”
She acknowledges Creative Waikato is working hard on audience development work with Creative New Zealand. Part of that development is sharing data bases, getting the audiences who are going to opera to go to musical theatre or other creative things.
Charlotte believes the theatre scene is beginning to thrive again in Hamilton and with the possibility of the new theatre and the way it could transform the city, it’s an exciting time for the Waikato region.
“There’s still work to be done”, she says. “For example, Hamilton doesn’t have a performing arts school.”
However, she’s noticed more creativity in Hamilton in the last few years.
“I used to go to Auckland for my theatre a decade ago, and now I barely have time to see everything in Hamilton.
“I do love Hamilton. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Hamilton Club honours its past with a generous legacy
Momentum Waikato understands how difficult it can be to dis-establish a club or society. We can offer you a cost-effective fund management service, giving you peace of mind that your funds will be invested wisely, delivering maximum impact for the community.
At a special general meeting in May 2017, The Hamilton Club members voted to distribute Hamilton Club's remaining capital assets of $1.3 million to five key local organisations, including a gift of $100,000 to Momentum Waikato for the Waikato Regional Theatre.
The Hamilton Club committee, led by President Gordon Chesterman, have been working on the dissolution of the club with the club's wider membership for more than a year. The Club’s building in Grantham Street was sold 12 years ago, after social changes inevitably saw the club – along with others of its kind nationwide - lose most of its membership.
Members were determined to see a silver lining in the sale of their premises - a financial legacy to the city that will ensure the club's name lives on, and it continues to add to the fabric of the city.
There will be funds for scholarships of $350,000 each to Waikato University and Wintec; Hamilton Gardens Development Trust will get $350,000; Waikato Medical Research Foundation $150,000; and the Theatre $100,000. "It's a hugely worthwhile outcome," says Gordon "the club's legacy will benefit the city in so many ways." He says choosing recipients was tough "Everywhere you looked there were good opportunities to give to."
Momentum Waikato Chair Leonard Gardner is delighted with the club’s gift. “We appreciate that the club has chosen to back the theatre project and the work Momentum Waikato is doing leading the development of a new regional theatre. This gift will create a lasting impact, ensuring future generations will benefit. We look forward to sharing the story of the Hamilton Club, and the legacy they have left the city with the theatre project.”
The gifted funds are from the sale of the club's building in 2009 to Project Grantham for $1.7 million. There were debts to be settled at that time and the remaining money was placed in a bank term deposit while members debated a plan for the future. In the past few months the fund has been augmented by the sale of furnishings including billiard tables, leather chairs, and a grandfather clock understood to have been made in the late 1700s.
It has not been easy winding the club up. With legal assistance from Hamilton law firm Tompkins Wake, the club's longtime rules were changed and simplified. The 75 per cent voting majority was lowered to two-thirds, and proxy votes were allowed at annual meetings and special general meetings.
Last September members voted unanimously to wind up and submissions were then sought from them on what organisations should get the money.
There were 17 submissions and 46 options identified. A ranking document was sent out, followed by a painstaking process of collating the data. This was run solely by scrutineer Deryck Walter, a retired lawyer, club trustee and life member.
In May, members voted – amid considerable discussion - on the five priority organisations identified by the ranking analysis and then voted on how much each would get. The final vote to seal the deal was carried 37-1.
Gordon says the process could not have been rushed and there was a great deal of communication with members. "Every member had an opportunity to be part of the outcome. The club has had a long history. It was about respecting what it had done for the community, and respecting the existing older members."
Read the history of Hamilton Club’s here
If you are looking for an alternative management solution for a charitable trust, looking to make a profound difference in our community and create an enduring transformational legacy please contact us.
This is the story of a woman who has always wanted more – not for herself; but always for others. Amanda B inspires us at Momentum Waikato Community Foundation for many reasons. Among them are her perpetual desire to give back as well as boldly give forward to those whom she will never know. The desire to lead a giving life was engrained in her from her early days in Yorkshire. Trained as a nurse and midwife, she decided to follow some New Zealand relatives to Dunedin and worked there as a nurse before moving to Hamilton in the mid 1960s. Continuing her adventurous journey abroad, she spent time on an aboriginal reserve near Alice Springs, Australia, prior to running a paediatric unit in India for two years, helping provide the gift of sight through cataract surgery to those who had virtually nothing themselves.
A brief time back in the UK helped her realise New Zealand had captured her heart, so she returned with a strong desire to learn and share as much as she could. Completing a degree in psychology, anthropology and religious studies at Victoria University under theologian Sir Lloyd Geering, her faith became stronger, as did her desire to give her life to service.
She lectured at the university for 21 years in psycho-social health prior to receiving a Commonwealth Study Award, which allowed her to complete her Masters Degree in Edinburgh before returning to New Zealand. With no family of her own, Amanda became the foster parent to seven needy children between the ages of 7 and 13, changing their lives irrevocably. When they all had grown up, she moved to Katikati and was ordained as an Anglican priest. Then ten years ago, the Waikato received a great gift when she moved to Hamilton to work with Bishop David Moxom to help retired and sick clergy and their widows.
Serving as a chaplain at Mary Potter Hospice, Waipuna Hospice Outreach and Hospice Waikato, Amanda has helped many people at the end of their lives. She is on the board of the Hamilton Night Shelter and Abbyfield, and lends her energy to Project Rachel. As a ‘grandmother’ to the children of many of her friends, and with her foster children well established in their own lives, Amanda now knows exactly how she wants to spend her life’s earnings; as a gift to the community.
Discovering Momentum Waikato through Acorn Foundation, she has chosen to bestow half her fund to forever support the Vital Impact Programme, and half to support the Hamilton Christian Night Shelter, animal welfare charities, educational opportunities for vulnerable children, and for CBMI, an international charity that transforms the lives of people with disabilities. Amanda pays tribute to all that have touched her most in life: her experiences in India, the foster children she raised as her own and her Christian faith.
For Amanda B, choosing to give through Momentum Waikato provides her with the perfect vehicle to ensure the things she treasures most continue to benefit from her love and support well beyond her own lifetime.
A quiet act of generosity
Timing and opportunity are both features of success. Recently, a Hamilton lawyer who is familiar with the work of Momentum Waikato, met with their client to update her will. They discussed her philanthropic aspirations, and the lawyer suggested that she didn’t have to wait until after her passing for her generosity to be activated; she could instead enjoy the joy of giving here and now. The lawyer introduced their client to Momentum Waikato, and over the course of several easy discussions with the donor services team, her giving plan was created and she became a donor through Momentum Waikato.
Our new generous donor has decided, like many, to remain anonymous - it’s her choice and we are here to serve her wishes. Her intention is to honour her father’s legacy, as her gift of $500,000 was only possible because of the wise financial decisions he had made in his lifetime. He was passionate about education, and so her generous and thoughtful giving plan created to honour his memory will utilise the distributable earnings from her Future Fund to create educational scholarships for the next 20 years for Pacifika girls in the Waikato to attend Wesley College; something she knows her father would adore. Our new donor is also assured that scholarships will be awarded to Wesley College only for as long as there is a need. After 20 years, or earlier - should Wesley College no longer need scholarships to support Pacific Island girls, our donor has decided that her gift will be distributed through the Vital Education Fund in perpetuity. This means that Momentum Waikato trustees will ensure that her fund will be made available to support other forms of learning and education for Pacific Island children and youth living in the Waikato, forever.
Crafting a tailor-made giving plan for our donor, Momentum Waikato was able to help make her philanthropic aspirations a reality within her lifetime that will go on giving forever. Her story demonstrates how Momentum Waikato can guide and assist donors, along with their professional advisors, in providing the community with charitable giving solutions that will transcend generations.
The Tanner Story
Jon and Sue Tanner lead by example. Growing up in the Waikato they were taught how important it was to be generous with their time, money and energy into things that mattered. Jon’s youth was dominated by sport, and in particular the game of hockey, which later grew into a passion that drove his early philanthropic interests. He represented New Zealand, began coaching and was the driving force in creating the Midlands regional hockey franchise so players could develop their skills, and reach the highest level, without leaving home. This led to a national board position with Hockey NZ and then founding chair to create and lead the Hockey NZ Foundation.
Jon’s love for sport has never diminished, though he has expanded his interests being a founding trustee of MESH Sculpture Trust and being invited to join numerous boards including St Paul’s Collegiate, University of Waikato Foundation, Hamilton Golf Club, The Donny Trust, The Halberg Trust and more recently leading the fundraising committee of the Neurological Research Charitable Trust. Gleaning valuable insights from fellow trustees like Dame Alison and Barry Paterson and other special people such as Bernie and Kaye Crosby, both Jon and Sue have adopted the same attitude when it comes to giving. Hamilton has been good to the Tanner Family over many generations so giving back to Hamilton is important to them. The Tanners are also true Kiwis when it comes to loving and caring for their surroundings and they have a healthy regard for a beautiful garden.
Hamilton Gardens has always impressed them as a special place. They consider the Gardens to be one of Hamilton’s greatest assets, along with its visionary designer, Peter Sergel, and Jon and Sue were thrilled to be able to support his vision. Peter said the Mansfield Garden “will be a recreation of an early 19th century New Zealand garden with elements that Mansfield described in her internationally famous story, The Garden Party.” The game of tennis and gardens are a longstanding love of the Tanner Families over generations, so they found the perfect place for their gift to the Gardens: the tennis court under development at the Katherine Mansfield Garden, while utilising one of the giving solutions of Momentum Waikato Community Foundation.
As a founding trustee of Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, Jon believes in the foundation’s role in connecting generous and passionate people to causes that matter and endowing charities throughout the Waikato region through the power of collective giving. Jon and Sue believe Momentum Waikato is the ideal vehicle for their philanthropic gifts as it makes giving simple. Most importantly, by directing their charitable giving through the foundation during their lifetimes, they are able to give to any cause they choose and enjoy the pleasure it provides for others.
Jon recalls his father Keith once telling him, “Take from this world what you need and leave the rest for others.” Those words ring true for Jon, as he and Sue continue to be actively involved in new projects in the region, forever committed to our community and its people.
The Crosby Story
Bernie and Kaye Crosby remember well the dump site that is now Hamilton Gardens. The couple professes to have inherited the “green gene” from their ancestors and have followed with interest the development and transformation in becoming the world renowned garden lovers’ destination we all appreciate today.
The Crosby’s are long term members of the Friends of Hamilton Gardens. As a member of the Gardenia Club, Kaye recalls making a contribution for the mosaic tiles expertly laid in the Italian Renaissance Garden. One of Bernie and Kaye’s early philanthropic gestures was for the Dragon in the Tudor Garden and they are delighted to continue their support through their latest donation to this wonderful city asset.
Bernie and Kaye have been in business in Prolife Foods in Hamilton for the last 31 years and are very proud of this city and its transformation from a principally rural servicing town to one of widely varied industries, offering a vibrant, contemporary lifestyle. They believe that Hamilton is now a destination city where people choose to live, rather than one people move to by default, and in their minds the next 20 years will be a stellar time for prosperity and development of city amenities. The city has been kind to the Crosby’s in a business sense and they now feel they are in a position to give back in a socially responsible way. “Hamilton Gardens and the plans developed by Peter Sergel warrant support to further enhance this internationally recognised amenity,” they explained.
John Dobson, Chairman of Hamilton Gardens Development Trust, was delighted with the generous gift. “This is a fantastic contribution to kick start the Trust's recently launched Legacy Project,” he said. “The Trust encourages the community’s involvement in funding the development of the Gardens, in partnership with Hamilton City Council. The ability for Waikato families to contribute to the Legacy Project provides them with an opportunity to be a part of this community partnership, ensuring the ongoing development of the Gardens.”
Bernie and Kaye said that they chose to utilise Momentum Waikato Community Foundation as the conduit for their gift to Hamilton Gardens as it is easy to write one cheque and know their funds will be released at the time their beneficiary organisation is ready to receive it. The Crosby’s also think of Momentum Waikato as an organisation supporting community objectives with great aspirations, ultimately enhancing the lives of people who frequent the Gardens and call this region their home.
As Donor Services Manager for Momentum Waikato, Raewyn Kirkman is delighted that Momentum Waikato could work with the Crosby’s to support the development of the Gardens. Raewyn believes it is projects like the Gardens’ Legacy Project that will enable Momentum Waikato’s vision of creating ‘a better Waikato for everyone, forever’ to become reality. “We welcome the opportunity to work with other individuals, families, trusts or businesses to create an immediate or legacy gift plan,” she said. “This generous gift from the Crosby family is a great example of how Momentum Waikato can work with our donors to ensure their philanthropic aspirations are achieved exactly as they wish.”
The Donny Story
The Donny Charitable Trust understands the importance of empowering those who can influence the future. The Trust has enriched the lives of tens of thousands of individuals and organisations since beginning its good work in 1978, honouring the generous legacy of its founding philanthropists, Frank and Germaine Donny. Since then, over $10 million in grants have been made to a wide range of organisations, many of whom have been Waikato-based. In 2014 Donny’s focus shifted to supporting selected organisations working at the forefront in three key areas: child protection, agricultural training and palliative care nursing.
Donny trustees have also been looking for a public project that would make a significant difference in the Waikato and, on hearing about the proposed riverbank development, they decided it was just such a project. The trustees identified Momentum Waikato Community Foundation as a channel for managing their gift. Executing the wishes of the Donny Trust, Momentum Waikato is providing the vehicle for the first donation to the Hamilton City River Plan. Donny trustees have pledged $1 million in support of the Ferrybank project, citing its fresh approach to creating a dynamic river edge with greater public accessibility as the reason it captured their imagination.
Donny trustees appreciated the simplicity and flexibility of Momentum Waikato’s giving solutions, with their first pledge utilising the Foundation’s Today Fund. This fund enables donors to distribute significant gifts immediately and realise no administrative costs for the service. The Foundation can also manage other grantmaking activities through its Future Fund, again with no fees incurred, keeping the capital intact and using only the return on investment for annual distributions to create a lasting legacy.
Momentum Waikato is dedicated to serving its donors to create a better Waikato for everyone, forever. The Foundation offers donors, including existing trusts like Donny, the opportunity to partner their investments with others to produce greater collective impact for the benefit of the community.
Contact the team at Momentum Waikato Community Foundation today to find out how easy it is to transfer an existing trust to the Waikato’s only fee-free, comprehensive, philanthropic advisory service.
JOHN & BUNNY’S STORY
John and Bunny Mortimer recently made a financial decision that will have an effect on the Waikato forever. Their desire to share nature with others long past their own lifetimes led them to Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, knowing it was a way they could support their favourite charities in exactly the way they chose. Environmental philanthropy has always been important to them both, and they have served in leadership roles on local and national levels in support of the environment and its preservation. The two dendrologists have had a love for trees for decades, co-authoring books about them, becoming heavily involved in New Zealand’s Farm Forestry Association, and also fashioning Bunny’s 50-acre family paddock into a relaxing, shaded arboretum that is open to, and is now loved by our community.
They both spent years collecting over 1,500 types of seeds and cuttings from all across New Zealand, China, America and Australia, nurturing their growth then planting their rare and sometimes exotic selection of trees and shrubs to create what we all know today as Hamilton’s wooded wonderland Taitua Arboretum.
The Mortimers chose to gift Taitua Arboretum to the city of Hamilton in 1997 as a means of ensuring it would be cared for and enjoyed by generations of families. The city council successfully maintains the park, but John and Bunny had been searching for a way to ensure the arboretum could continue to be developed in perpetuity.
Setting up a perpetual fund through Momentum Waikato, John and Bunny have peace of mind that Taitua Arboretum will receive 100% distribution from their perpetual fund year after year, and their $100,000 will continue to grow in perpetuity thanks to careful investment from Craigs Investment Partners and Forsyth Barr, Momentum Waikato’s investment partners. Other charities receiving direct gifts from the Mortimers through the Foundation are the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust, Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, Tane’s Tree Trust and the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.