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An opportunity to help develop science for a better NZ

An opportunity to help develop science for a better New Zealand

Cawthron Foundation is seeking additional trustees with the skills to drive the next stage of philanthropy.

Cawthron Foundation was launched in 2015 to help solve New Zealand’s leading environmental challenges. It sets out to raise donations, bequests, and endowments towards public-good science, as well as scholarships to support talented emerging scientists.

The Foundation is overseen by an independent trust board chaired by Dr Morgan Williams – current chair of World Wide Fund for Nature in New Zealand and former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

“All funding sourced by the Foundation helps Cawthron Institute deliver research into areas important to New Zealanders, and to support emerging New Zealand scientists,” he says.

Being a Trustee is about providing an opportunity for New Zealanders who care about our future well-being to play a part in developing science for a better world. The trustee role is unpaid, and the commitment required is 8 to 10 days per year – inclusive of four board meetings and other working group or promotional engagements.

“Our current board has five trustees and we are looking for two more people who have previous governance experience or an understanding of effective governance and strategy. We are particularly keen to hear from people who understand philanthropy and are passionate about the contribution it can make to society.”

Cawthron Institute, New Zealand’s first science organisation, was established in 1919 through the generosity of Nelson businessman Thomas Cawthron who left the bulk of his fortune to establish a science institute in his name. It is now New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation, employing 200 scientists and specialist staff. Around 60 percent of the Institute’s revenue is from private companies and organisations, and 40 percent from contestable Government grants.

“The Cawthron Foundation enables our scientists flexibility to do important research that has non-commercial outcomes and is independent of Government or industry priorities, for the benefit of all New Zealanders,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Charles Eason says.

Dr Williams says the model of Cawthron Foundation is very similar to what is used by most major universities and other research institutes in New Zealand.

“We invite the people to express interest in becoming a Trustee on the Cawthron Foundation to ensure the issues that matter to us all are addressed – whether it’s having enough clean water to swim or drink, or ensuring healthy ecosystems for fish to thrive.”

Find out more:

Go to or download the Cawthron Foundation brochure


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