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Lessons from Canada for Community Foundations in New Zealand

4 April 2014

Lessons from Canada – for Community Foundations in New Zealand

The role that philanthropy can and should play in our community will be under the spotlight when one of the world’s leading authorities on community foundations meets with The Community Foundations of New Zealand at their third national workshop being held in Wellington on April 7–8.

Faye Wightman has had a long and successful career in fundraising and philanthropy, most recently as CEO of Canada’s largest community foundation, the Vancouver Foundation. During her eight years as CEO Faye helped increase the profile and role of the foundation, which has assets of more than CAD$814 million and has distributed more than CAD$917 million since it was first set up in 1943.

The foundation’s current priorities include tackling youth homelessness in Vancouver, encouraging activities that promote a sense of neighbourhood, and helping Vancouver reach its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020.

Faye is passionate about the importance of philanthropy, and particularly about the opportunities that organisations such as community foundations provide for ordinary people to get involved in philanthropy.

“Charitable giving is no longer the exclusive domain of the wealthy,” she says. “Anyone can make a difference with the resources they have. The old adage ‘you can't take it with you’ rings true. People need to realize what a great feeling it is to give while they are here, so they can see the impact and the benefits of their generosity.”

Community foundations are one of the world’s fastest growing forms of philanthropy. They are committed to improving communities in a specific geographic region. They do this by pooling the charitable gifts of donors to create permanent endowment funds, and using the income from these funds to make grants that support a wide range of community needs.

Community foundations are a relatively new concept in New Zealand, supporting the belief that people “like to give where they live”. There are now 12 community foundations throughout the country covering Auckland, Ashburton, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Northland, Porirua, Rotorua, Taranaki, Timaru, Waikato, Wellington and Western Bay of Plenty.

Fifty-five community foundation trustees and staff from throughout the country are attending the two-day Workshop, which has been generously supported by The Tindall Foundation – a great supporter of the Community Foundation concept in New Zealand.


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