Throughout May the Momentum Waikato team and trustees attended conferences and workshops to share knowledge, insights and take time to connect with and learn from others in our field.

We asked each of the team for their top takeaways from the conferences, events and workshops, and we have shared their insights with you below.

Chair Leonard Gardner, Trustee Simon Rickman, Raewyn Kirkman and Gemma Slack attended the Philanthropy NZ Summit 2017: Innovate for Impact.

The Summit explored global and local perspectives on innovation in philanthropy, acknowledging that innovation is playing an increasingly crucial role in the success of communities and organisations and can shift the impact of Philanthropy. Gemma presented a breakout session based on our learnings from Vital Signs.

Our Chief Executive Cheryl Reynolds went to the Community Foundations of Canada Belong 2017 Community Foundations Conference on a scholarship from CFC, and held a plenary based on Momentum Waikato’s Vital Impact Programme. The conference explored what belonging means when building more resilient places to live, work and play and discussed what matters most to our communities, and how we can serve them.

Lisa James attended the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand’s annual conference. The workshops and plenaries held allowed attendees to hear from an inspiring line up of international speakers, and build knowledge and skills through practical, hands-on workshops.



The presentations reinforced a number of things for me. Government alone can’t solve all the big issues – philanthropy needs to partner with Government to make change happen.

We need to focus on root causes and not symptoms – it's easy to get tactical but we need to think big and be bold in decision making. Transparency, collaboration, accountability, participatory decision making are key drivers of success.


The standout for me was the ‘nothing about us without us’ approach that I am familiar with from my time working in the disability sector. It is great to see it been used in a wider context - making sure that funders include the community in their decisions we make about how we fund the community.

I would like to explore the whole idea of participatory grant making and that has got me thinking about how our grant recipients this year can be a part of our next round of grant making.


There were some interesting facts and information about millennials giving and how they want to change the world.

Katie Love’s keynote presentation was very good - she challenged who controls a community's giving decisions – participatory Grant making and collaborative decision making were strong messages. She also spoke to the importance of great process throughout grant making.

Lillian Grace from Figure.NZ spoke to her belief that society and individuals will benefit when everyone can use data to inform their thinking and insights.


My favourite speaker was Danny Sriskandarajah whose keynote was titled ‘Go Brave or Go Home: Philanthropy’s role in transforming the world.’ Danny spoke passionately about the systems of capitalism and democracy, and the role philanthropy plays in this space.

Secondly, I was really inspired and challenged around the conversation of ‘how do we make ourselves redundant as philanthropic funders?’ How can we ensure we are making serious long-term, strategic decisions that are going to radically address our communities needs and aspirations?

So, as a funder, how can we nurture, encourage and support local change-makers to take on innovative approaches to our wicked problems? This is a sweet spot for me going forward.


My number #1 takeaway came from a passing comment from Kevin McCort, Vancouver Foundation CEO. He said the next ten years will see the greatest intergenerational transfer of wealth the world has ever seen, and may ever see. We know there is a growing demand for intergenerational wealth transfer solutions in New Zealand as well.

Donors want to change the world and KNOW they are changing it. Donors want to be seen and participate as global citizens, but their generosity is not reaching the need. As donors become more savvy and have greater access to data, they want to see evidence of their impact. Vital Signs has a major role to play in demonstrating impact to donors and the UN Sustainable Development Goals are a way to link local action to global outcomes.

I saw and heard many examples of initiatives being successfully incubated and spinning out transformational change in the community as well – very inspirational!


I came away from conference knowing that what really matters is relationships, and the impact those relationships are having on the community. Donors, change-makers, partners, and the wider community working towards a cause is powerful, but the magic truly happens when people work together to make connections and opportunities to create impact in a community.

Conference also reiterated the importance of storytelling in our work – everyone wants to see the impact they can make in their community, and the difference they have made to make it a better place.