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Cake and gifts mark Waikato Women’s Fund’s first birthday


A significant financial gift was ‘the cherry on the top’ at the Waikato Women’s Fund’s recent first birthday ‘cake breakfast’, announced following powerful speeches from two local leaders.

The Waikato Women’s Fund team blew out their first candle at the sold-out fundraiser attended by 140 guests, held at SkyCity Hamilton’s conference centre on Thursday 4 July. Fund Committee Chair Michelle Howie says the response to the special event was overwhelming.

“We were thrilled to see tickets sell out in just a few weeks. Clearly there is significant support from across the community for initiatives focused on empowering women and girls in the Waikato,” says Michelle.

The collective power of women’s voices was tangible in the packed room as the enthusiastic crowd heard thought-provoking and heart-warming stories from the two remarkable speakers, Ninakaye Taanetinorau and Professor Margaret Wilson. Both pointed to the struggles women and girls continue to face, mapped out their hopes for future generations and backed the mission of the Waikato Women’s Fund.

“Ninakaye and Margaret were inspirational,” says Michelle. “The challenges they’ve overcome are very different from each other, but both touched on themes we could all identify with.”

Fund Committee member and Momentum Waikato trustee Pam Roa then announced a $20,000 gift to the Waikato Women’s Fund from Momentum Waikato.

“This means that our Fund now has $92,000 in pledged donations, well on our way towards our goal of $200,000 by June 2020,” says Pam.

There were both existing donor-members and many new faces present. Guests had been able to donate when purchasing their ticket, which grew the Fund’s membership from 59 to 65 even before the doors opened, and many more gave afterwards.

The Fund’s governance team say they are extremely grateful for the foundational support from Momentum Waikato, which is developing further ‘named funds’ to meet the region’s diverse needs.

“The Waikato Women’s Fund is already a huge success story,” says Momentum Waikato Chief Executive Kelvyn Eglinton.

“It has demonstrated the potential of the ‘giving circle’ model that we are looking to emulate with other dedicated funds targeted at sectors and localities.

“A keen team of volunteers works to attract donations and make grants, while we provide the investment and admin expertise, it’s real community philanthropy in action.”

The Waikato Women’s Fund was launched on 31 July 2018 as Aotearoa New Zealand’s second such programme after The Auckland Foundation’s Women’s Fund. ‘Powered’ by Momentum Waikato, it exists so women and girls and their communities can achieve their aspirations.

In their first year, the Fund’s Establishment Committee has attracted new members, made its first two grants to local programmes, and defined their strategy and charter through to 2024.

Any gift, no matter its size or frequency, qualifies the donor for Fund membership, giving them a say in its grant-making, including its upcoming third grant, and its first governance election at the end of 2019. The second year of the Waikato Women’s Fund will be as busy and successful as its first.

ENDS

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