As someone who has served on a number of boards and as a volunteer for many years in our community, I appreciate the value of impactful giving to benefit future generations. Even more exciting for those who are part of the ‘now generation’ is a current global trend in philanthropy to spend down a small portion of a fund to immediately benefit a cause. I’m Leonard Gardner, chairman of Momentum Waikato Community Foundation, and I would like to share my thoughts about this current ‘big bang’ theory of philanthropy.
The background noise in the news of millions and billions of dollars donated by big philanthropists around the world may not seem entirely relatable to us here in the Waikato. But did you know there is a great example of this model of giving in our very own country? The NEXT Foundation’s benefactors, Neal and Annette Plowman, have made a commitment to support and invest in high impact New Zealand-based educational and environmental projects. Their philanthropic giving is real and meaningful to every part of our country, as they are in the midst of spending down within a decade the entire $100 million that had built up in their philanthropic family trust.
The NEXT Foundation is governed by a board of expert but voluntary trustees, and an advisory panel helps the board select projects worthy of support – much the way Momentum Waikato is structured. The Plowmans chose Matamata’s own Chris Liddell as their chairman, and it was he who advised them to spend down their substantial investment fund within ten short years. By doing so they are joyfully witnessing firsthand the profound impact their gifts make on projects they feel are important to the future of New Zealand.
This type of impactful giving is not just limited to large foundations with huge trust fund balances. On the contrary, generous individuals, companies and smaller trusts are able to take advantage of the joy of giving right now and receive the same type of professional guidance and investment advice as that of the NEXT Foundation through Momentum Waikato Community Foundation with no fees charged at all.
This idea was so compelling, the Donny Charitable Trust decided to pledge to support the River Plan’s Ferrybank project, which will develop that section of the Waikato River for a wide range of community uses. In doing so, the Donny Trust has become Momentum Waikato’s latest donor, taking advantage of the Foundation’s Today Fund to pass through a $1 million pledge intended for a specific cause. Their gift represents 10% of their $10 million endowment fund, which the Donny trustees hope will inspire others to also support the project to enable development to get underway soon. The trustees say they are happy to be part of this $1 million giving moment, with the chance to see the result of their gift within their lifetimes.
I am fortunate to chair the Board of Momentum Waikato with the knowledge that we are creating opportunities for our whole community to share in the power of collective giving. Imagine how much impact we can have on projects that are endowed with that kind of generosity. The Foundation provides us all with a chance to join together to solve problems with much more purpose and effectiveness than anyone could alone.
The Today Fund and Future Fund are two of the many giving choices offered by Momentum Waikato. The Today Fund enables a gift to pass directly through for distribution, creating joyful impact right now. The Future Fund invests a gift in perpetuity, keeping the capital intact and using only the return on investment for annual distributions to create impact forever. We invite any trust considering its future grantmaking capabilities to consider these two paths through Momentum Waikato and we would welcome a conversation about fee-free services for trust transfers, to help secure the legacy of an existing trust forever.
Momentum Waikato is dedicated to serving our donors to create a better Waikato for everyone, forever. Choose to direct your philanthropy through Momentum Waikato - you will see every cent you give go directly to causes you love, or you can also choose to contribute to a pool of funds to create a much wider impact than you can do alone.
Contact our team at Momentum Waikato today to find out how easy it is to transfer an existing trust to the Waikato’s only fee-free, comprehensive, philanthropic advisory service.