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Foundation North announces chief executive transition

Foundation North’s board of trustees has appointed Peter Tynan chief executive, effective from 8 August 2019.

Mr Tynan succeeds Jennifer Gill, who is retiring in August after 15 years at the head of the foundation, New Zealand’s largest philanthropic trust.

Foundation North chair, John Slater, said that the Foundation’s trustees were impressed by the many high-quality applications for the role that had been received as a result of an international search.

“The challenge was to identify from over 180 applicants the individual who would continue the legacy of exceptional leadership and innovation that Jennifer has brought both to the Foundation, and to the New Zealand philanthropic sector.

“Peter brings to the role experience across a range of sectors, and a reputation as a very successful leader. As Chief Executive of Foundation North, he will oversee the implementation of our strategy which is designed to guide the investment of around half a billion dollars into Auckland and Northland community organisations and initiatives over the next fifteen years.”

Mr Tynan’s previous roles include thirteen years with Southern Cross, New Zealand’s largest private health funder, where he helped lead its growth and transformation.

“His experience running this significant not-for-profit organisation, which entailed both a high level of engagement with a diverse range of New Zealanders, and the management of a large investment portfolio, will serve him well at Foundation North,” Mr Slater said. “Peter’s more recent experience as Acting Chief Executive for Kaipara District Council also means he has good insight into some of the unique opportunities that exist to improve the social and environmental outcomes in our Northern region.”

Mr Slater said that Mr Tynan’s community involvement will also be an advantage in the Foundation North role.

“As chair of Osteoporosis New Zealand, Peter is aware of the challenges faced by community organisations, and as a past NZ Black Sticks representative he has been involved at club and representative level of the hockey community in Auckland for over 15 years as coach and sports administrator.”

Mr Slater said the impact of Jennifer Gill’s leadership will remain long after her retirement.

“Jennifer leaves behind an organisation very different from that she joined in 2004. She led the Foundation’s development as a strategic grantmaker, including pioneering work in venture philanthropy that is now influencing investment in social change initiatives across New Zealand. In 2014 she oversaw the establishment of the Foundation’s own social business, the Centre for Social Impact, to help funders achieve positive outcomes from their investment into their communities, and in 2015 the renaming of ASB Community Trust as Foundation North. More recently, she has led the development of grantmaking to support innovation to address major issues affecting Auckland and Northland.”

Ms Gill’s wider contribution to the philanthropic sector, since she was hired by Sir Roy McKenzie in 1986 to establish the Roy McKenzie Foundation, include her leadership as chair of Philanthropy New Zealand (2003 to 2009) of a campaign to improve the tax treatment of charitable donations. This saw tax incentives for donations greatly enhanced. She was the inaugural awardee of Philanthropy New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award, and was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 New Year’s Honours.

“I am privileged to have been just the third chief executive of this amazing organisation since we were founded in 1988 as the ASB Community Trust,” Jennifer Gill says. “As kaitiaki of a perpetual endowment for the communities of Auckland and Northland of nearly $1.4 billion dollars, Foundation North is uniquely placed to help enhance the lives of all those of us lucky enough to live here. I’m proud of the effort that has been made over the last 15 years by successive trustees and staff to make us responsive to our regions’ rich ethnic diversity, and to look at how we can use our grants strategically to make a difference for our communities today, and for future generations.”

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