Neil Richardson, Chair of Momentum Waikato

From the Momentum Waikato Annual Report 2023 - see full report in PDF.

In the later months of 2023 the Momentum Waikato Board welcomed two new Trustees to our table – Dame Margaret Wilson and Mark Ingle.

Both Margaret and Mark are champions for the Waikato, well known for their long records of leadership and commitment to improving our community.

Early in the new year, 2024, we also welcomed Simon Wickham, as our new Chief Executive.

Simon also has an impressive record of creating strategic clarity and commitment whilst delivering great outcomes for the communities he has served over the last three decades.

Neil Richardson welcomes new Momentum Waikato CEO Simon Wickham.

Why are these changes to the Momentum Waikato leadership relevant?

Because Momentum, like all community organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand, needs to ‘up our game’ in the face of an increasingly complex and challenging post-Covid world.

A growing proportion of our community has a deep sense of frustration, inequality and alienation. There is a breakdown of trust in institutions, exacerbated by increasingly complex social needs, less available funding, challenging economic conditions and much higher delivery costs. These are challenges for all community and commercial organisations, including Momentum Waikato.

Yet, this ‘new normal’ is also the very sort of environment in which community enterprises like Momentum Waikato are so important. Actively seeking to improve personal and community circumstances is at the core of how we will meet growing societal needs, and will ensure that generosity delivers the positive change that realistic compassion demands.

Generally, the ‘For Purpose’ (or ‘Not-For-Profit’) sector will have an increasingly central role to play in this disrupted world.

As a result, the Momentum Waikato Board is working to build new capabilities to reset our strategy, evolve and shift-change our mode of operation, in tandem with a drive to increase operational funding that in turn grows our capability and capacity to provide future benefaction.

With the support and collaboration of so many people and organisations, Momentum Waikato achieved many successes across the 2022-2023 financial year in striving to create ‘A Better Waikato for Everyone, Forever’.

Momentum Waikato exists to simplify and enable local philanthropy, and more broadly to integrate generosity into the very fabric of our regional community. We connect current and future philanthropists to grow the region’s endowment funds, and initiate significant community infrastructure projects (SCIP) that deliver intergenerational benefits for the whole Waikato region.

Our capital fundraising projects continue to progress. The Waikato Regional Theatre is rapidly rising out of the ground and is set to open in 2025. The Waikato Regional Property Trust, chaired by Ross Hargood, is well established to lead the Theatre’s opening and future operations.

The partnership between Momentum and the WRPT continues to be on track to deliver a world-class and transformational entertainment venue for the wider region. It will catalyse an exciting culture and hospitality precinct, enable our creative community to achieve its dreams and aspirations, enhance the Waikato lifestyle as a global talent magnet, and positively propel Hamilton into the national consciousness.

We are also progressing concepts for our likely next transformational project, the Braintree project, wherein we would partner with sector organisations to develop and deliver an integrated center for people with neurological conditions. The search is on with the Hamilton City Council to find an appropriate site.

A key development in late 2022, following a scheduled review, was to appoint JBWere as one of our investment partners, a move which saw them take on half of our portfolio, alongside another leader in the field Craigs Investment Partners.

JBWere’s investment methodology brings a strong specialised Philanthropy Services arm, which provides access to research, networks, best practise, trends and the capabilities to assist our Board and team. This move was very much driven by what JBWere specifically offers, and we have enjoyed working with them, while continuing to still get great results with Craigs.

The number of philanthropic investment funds in our care continues to grow. Momentum Waikato now has 29 Funds, collectively currently valued at over $30 million under management – an increase of eight new ‘named funds’, as profiled in this Annual Report, reflecting the growing trust others place in Momentum’s model.

The diversity of funds enables Momentum to support a wide range of donors and their philanthropic interests across conservation, education, health, diversity and the arts, as well as for Momentum-initiated capital projects.

Both the Waikato Women’s Fund and the Waikato Intercultural Fund continue to back groups and deliver events that support their communities. To all the volunteers on the committees of these ‘giving circles’, my deepest appreciation and thanks.

During the past year Pam Roa retired by rotation after eight years on the Momentum Waikato board. We thank Pam for her significant commitment and contribution over that time.

Maxine Moana Tuwhangai also stepped away from the Board for personal reasons after a couple of years of appreciated service, we wish her well.

Most notably, we bid a farewell to our previous CEO, Kelvyn Eglinton, after his huge six years in the role, we thank him for his leadership.

To our voluntary Board, my thanks for your commitment and governance expertise.

To the Momentum Waikato team in our small but mighty office, my deep gratitude for your dedication, perseverance and performance. Your belief in what we do and how we do it is instrumental to our success.

And the team behind our team, those volunteer advocates for Momentum, the many fund distribution committees and scores of people who help make Momentum Waikato a movement for good, supporting those working in our community – thank you.

And finally, last and certainly not least, to the scores of donors who have contributed to appeals, who have supported our projects, who have established funds, my sincere thanks and appreciation. You embody the Momentum Waikato spirit of ‘Generosity that Delivers’.

Your generosity is the key to addressing our community needs, taking ownership of our destiny and addressing our problems with local solutions. We look forward to continuing to work with you for many years to come.

Together we can make a great positive difference for the Waikato, something that is desperately needed during a period of unprecedented disruption, change and need.

Thank you to all!