Nau Mai, Haere Mai!

Welcome to our newsletter for the month of the winter solstice!

Generosity that lasts forever

Simon Wickham, Chief Executive of Momentum Waikato

I’m often asked - what is it that makes Momentum Waikato’s ‘smart giving’ model work for both our donors, and the local communities that benefit from their generosity?

Our fundamental difference from most other organisations is that we’re all about ‘Giving Forever’, through connecting generous people to smartly invested endowment funds.

Traditionally in New Zealand it’s relatively easy to give away money, as we all encounter a steady parade of worthy, purpose-led and well-pitched charity appeals, cause-related events, and personal and organisational crowd-funding callouts.

The prevailing approach in all these cases is one-off donations that are used up all at once by those that have received them. You might call them ‘one-and-done donations’.

It has been harder to ‘give well’, meaning in a way that has an ongoing, inter-generational and transformational impact on the place where you live and give.

Which is where community foundations such as Momentum Waikato are now providing a valuable local solution - for generous people and organisations who want to give well. To explain how it works, we’ve devised the diagram below, which we’re calling the ‘Momentum Waikato Infinity Loop’.

Read more.

'Laser-sharp focus' on eye research

The Vision Research Foundation (VRF) exists to move beyond the safe and incremental, to attract the funding and knowledge needed to make life-changing discoveries, and to unlock the potential medical talent shut out by inequity.

Professor Helen Danesh-Meyer (pictured above), its Scientific Director, started the VRF in 2022 with the support of a generous philanthropist, and it has since attracted further direct donations and bequests.

In June 2023 they set up the Vision Research Foundation Fund at Momentum Waikato, to grow and diversify its income streams and provide a longer-term investment gateway for its current and potential donors.

Good vision and eye health are precious, as our eyes connect us to the world and are a window into our health. We will all be impacted by vision-related disorders at some stage of our lives, whether for ourselves or our family and friends, and we all face neurological and degenerative conditions as we age.

“Our journey through these challenges is being much improved by transformative medical discoveries that directly influence the course of our well-being,” said Helen.

Read more.

Volunteer to build funding for intercultural future

The Waikato Intercultural Fund and its marketing project the Movement for Open Culture Aotearoa-MOCA are looking for some volunteers, to build an active campaign team that initiates and promotes pro-interculturalism and anti-racism activities in the Waikato that attract donations to the Fund.

The volunteer roles we’re wanting to fill are Event Organiser, Fundraising Coordinator and Social Media and PR Coordinator. If you know of anyone who may be keen, willing and able to take on any of these roles, please contact us via our address WaikatoInterculturalFund@momentumwaikato.nz and we will forward the relevant Job Descriptions.

The Waikato Intercultural Fund is co-chaired by Jenny Nand and Mark Servian. We launched MOCA at the Ferrybank Lounge last October - see photos here.

Realising a legacy with a place of peace and calm

Tirohanga | the Houchens Wellness Space, located in Glenview on the south-western edge of Kirikiriroa-Hamilton, is a place of peace and calm where people can restore themselves to wellness and get support to rejuvenate.

It has been established and is operated by Wise Group, in association with Momentum Waikato as the guardian of the Houchen family’s vision for the site.

In mid-2023 its then-Operations Manager Erana Severne said Tirohanga was “a first, delivering wellness services in a way that hasn’t been done before”.

“Healing is the cornerstone,” said Erana, “Tirohanga is a healthy and safe environment to find a sense of belonging and connection.

“Sometimes you just feel overwhelmed, so we take it back to the basics of well-being, free of judgement. You have mana and were born with mana, here is place for you to heal yourself.

“There is no treating people like numbers or problems to solve. The team here is all about manaaki tangata, the wairoa of the space.

Read more.

A tipple of inspiration

The Waikato Women's Fund brings you a night to connect, find some inspiration and if all else fails, enjoy a few tipples of gin guided by a Master of Spirits.

When: Thursday 11 July, 6pm.

Where: Panama Square, 14 Garden Place, Hamilton Central.

Join us for an evening of inspiration and gin tasting with:

  • Ash Palmer - liquor connoisseur, has been exploring the world of first-class spirits for over 16 years.

  • Miraka Davies - part rock star, part wordsmith, self-proclaimed 100% badass.

You won’t want to miss this! Seats are limited so get your girlfriends together and book tickets today!

The event is being sponsored by DebtFreeDiva, EightPM and Miraka Davies, so 100% of event proceeds will go to the Fund.

Waikato Women's Fund supports Hope Rising Farm Charitable Trust

After input from its donor members, the Waikato Women's Fund provided a $2,500 grant in 2023 to this wonderful charity that supports vulnerable youth and women to gain valuable life skills by partnering with friendly horses and through a series of wellbeing programmes.

Hope Rising Farm Charitable Trust is based on a small farm in Ngaaruawaahia. It aims to strengthen self-confidence and self-esteem, giving participants a sense of pride, empowerment and achievement.

Rachel Ralph, Founder and Trustee, Hope Rising Farm Charitable Trust, explains: “Vulnerable children, youth and women from all walks of life come through our programmes, and many have had life-changing experiences. Our five part-time paid staff, and our Board of Trustees are passionate about the difference that we make in the lives of our students.”

Read more.

Huge opportunity to accelerate ecological work

The Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, or ‘WCEET’, is a collaboration between Mercury Power and the conservation groups that were involved in the re-consenting process for the company’s Waikato River dams. Together they manage an enhancement fund that supports efforts to environmentally compensate for the dams’ impact.

Its decision-making board therefore includes trustees from Mercury, Fish and Game NZ, the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, and the Advisory Committee on the Regional Environment - ACRE, plus an observer from the Waikato Regional Council.

WCEET’s financial support has had a hugely positive impact on the Waikato and Lake Taupo catchments since it was established two decades ago – its funding of 300+ conservation projects has collectively enhanced 2600+ hectares of wetland and 2600+ hectares of riparian habitat, with 2.43 million natives planted and predator control applied to 7200+ hectares.

“We’ve supported some truly inspirational volunteer groups, landowners and businesses dedicated to protecting and enhancing the environment,” said Trust Chair Gwyn Verkerk.

Read more.

Only having to tell the story once

Victim-survivors of sexual violence don’t want to talk about what’s happened to them, so it is critical they can safely tell their story once, and once only, to get the immediate help and ongoing support they need.

“The first door they knock on has to be the right door,” said Dr Kate Taylor, Trust Chair of the Midlands Sexual Assault Support Service (MSASS).

“Victim-Survivors don’t have the capacity to advocate for themselves, you can’t send them elsewhere, they won’t make a second call. Our service ensures they get support, without having to repeat themselves.”

The Service’s financial current support comes from various arms of government, so is never completely guaranteed to continue.

“We are delivering way more than we’re funded to,” said Kate, “and we are not meeting the demand now, so we need to grow, diversify and secure our funding.”

With this eye to the long term, the MSASS trust set up its own philanthropic investment fund with Momentum Waikato in April 2023, founded with its own reserve funds and donations.

Read more.

Backing world-leading work happening here

The Waikato is a significant centre for health research, thanks in part to the Waikato Medical Research Foundation (WMRF) established in 1986.

The population of the Waikato is young, growing and diverse, with its own distinct health challenges and inequities, particularly amongst rural, Maaori and Pasifika communities. The Foundation's purpose is to provide seed funding for robust and ethical research into medical and health care that can bridge inequity gaps and improve health outcomes across the board.

With an eye to the future, the WMRF Board created the ‘Waikato Medical Research Foundation Fund’ at Momentum Waikato in May 2023, with the particular purpose of making it easier for the public to contribute towards this key organisation behind the success of the region’s health research sector.

The Foundation take pride in supporting emerging and early career researchers, at a range of clinical settings, tertiary institutions and community organisations, where their projects may be too small for the national Health Research Council to fund. It also builds local research capacity and capability through project collaborations with Braemar Hospital and the Cancer Society.

Foundation Chair Gillian Spry said “fostering research and better health outcomes is what we’re trying to do”.

Read more.