Vodafone NZ has passed a significant milestone in its corporate philanthropy efforts, having supported more than 1,000 charitable organisations since 2002 with donations totalling over $43 million, making the digital services provider one of the largest corporate philanthropic donors in Aotearoa.
According to Philanthropy New Zealand, Vodafone offers a great example of how businesses in Aotearoa can approach a strategic and sustainable, social good programme.
Sue McCabe, Chief Executive at Philanthropy NZ, explains: “Business philanthropy is critical for Aotearoa New Zealand to flourish economically, socially, and environmentally, given the scale of the challenges and opportunities we face. Vodafone is a great example to look to for guidance given its long-term and strategic approach, its commitment to continue to learn what works and change based on the evidence.
“The Vodafone Foundation is not just a leader in corporate philanthropy, but in philanthropy and grant-making more generally. As well as helping to transform young lives through their own mahi, the Vodafone Foundation also contributes to the bigger giving movement in New Zealand through its willingness to share their successes and learnings, and to collaborate with other philanthropic and Government funders.”
Jason Paris, Vodafone NZ CEO, agrees it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a strong social focus, and has recently unveiled the company’s new corporate strategy, which aims to create a better Aotearoa through remarkable technology. The Vodafone NZ Foundation’s goal of halving the number of disadvantaged youth in NZ is included as one of the company’s key metrics of business success.
“It’s not enough for businesses to just create shareholder value, we also need to create long-term value for Aotearoa, our country and citizens, across many different dimensions. We’re proud to do this in part via our Vodafone Foundation, which has been operating for almost 20 years and has contributed to some remarkable work to reduce the number of disadvantaged youth.
“While Covid-19 has exacerbated issues around the digital divide in the past year, our long-term focus has always been on creating lasting, positive and systemic impact among some of the most excluded rangatahi in Aotearoa. Having supported more than 1,000 charitable organisations to contribute to positive change is something we’re incredibly proud of.”
Vodafone NZ invests $2 million per annum in the Vodafone NZ Foundation, a charitable trust with a vision of an Aotearoa New Zealand where all young people have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. The Foundation is on a 10 year, $20 million journey to reduce the number of young people who fall into categories of exclusion and disadvantage, through innovative funding programmes and partnerships and by leveraging the networks and digital technology of Vodafone.
One long-term community partner is Zeal, with Vodafone NZ Foundation providing grants of more than $1 million over four years to support Zeal’s Online Crisis Intervention programme, which supports young people to disclose and address mental health crises online.
As Jesse Boyce, Chief Executive Officer, Zeal, says: "Put simply, the Vodafone Foundation have empowered us to save young people’s lives through digital technology. We have journeyed together for a number of years and the impact we have enabled through partnership for young people both in Aotearoa and abroad has been extremely rewarding.
“In our experience partnering with the Vodafone Foundation, it is clear the organisation is deeply moved by the complex challenges facing rangatahi today and is motivated to make a difference. The Vodafone Foundation has shown great courage in its approach to investment in meaningful solutions - including moves offering Zeal its largest ever grant to one organisation.
“Vodafone Foundation’s willingness to invest not only in innovations and projects but more deeply into organisations and people is something we have both greatly valued and benefitted from. We greatly value our ongoing partnership."
The Vodafone NZ Foundation is a charitable organisation that uses fundraising capability and access to Vodafone networks, technology, customers and employees to connect communities with the tools they need to make a difference.
As Lani Evans, Head of the Vodafone NZ Foundation, summarises: “The support of Vodafone’s leadership and staff is essential to the ongoing success of our corporate giving, philanthropic and advocacy programmes.
“We’re proud that we’ve been able to support more than 1,000 community organisations over the past 18 years. We continue to look for ways to further deepen our relationships with the private and public sectors to support long-term efforts to create a better Aotearoa for future generations.”