Welcome to our first update for 2017, as we share some of our favourite new stories with you.

2016 was a momentous year for Momentum Waikato, and we are pleased that our role in the community is becoming more widely known as a trustworthy and professional philanthropic foundation.

We continue to be humbled by the ongoing support in our community for Waikato Vital Signs. Over 1,500 reports and 2,500 posters have been distributed and we are being contacted regularly for presentations to councils, community groups, donors, professional advisors, regional stakeholders and philanthropic partners. Waikato Vital Signs is our gift to you, and our hope is that it drives the convening and connecting of important conversations to move our community’s knowledge to positive action. My team and I are always available by phone or email should you wish to share your ideas on Waikato Vital Signs, and what this means to the development of our community.

Our first $1 million Vital Waikato Grant received phenomenal interest from change-makers in our community. This contestable grant is targeted at funding up to three inspiring, transformational projects that will help to address the top two community priorities as identified in Waikato Vital Signs. You can read more below about our progress to-date, and in April we will announce the successful grant recipients. We are proud to be backing local people finding solutions to local challenges and opportunities.

It’s great to be able to report that award-winning theatre and acoustic design consultancy Charcoalblue has been appointed to advise on the first phase of establishment of a new Waikato Regional Theatre. The Chair of our independent governance panel, Dr. Julian Elder, says Charcoalblue was appointed because it is highly regarded for its collaborative work and has delivered major theatre projects including: refurbishing the National Theatre in London, advising on the new Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center in New York, and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon in the UK. Charcoalblue is advising on the optimum theatre configuration, design, location and the range of expected community benefits of our new regional theatre.

I am delighted to introduce Lara Conroy and Lisa James who have both joined the Momentum Waikato team – you can read more about Lisa and Lara below. We also extend a warm welcome to Eleanor Cater, Community Foundations of New Zealand inaugural Executive Officer, and we look forward to working with Eleanor to help grow the community foundation’s movement in New Zealand and across the world. And finally, it was a pleasure to host Philanthropy New Zealand’s newly appointed Chief Executive, Tony Paine, in the Waikato last week, who’s leadership goals are both encouraging and inspiring.

I trust you enjoy reading our latest update. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others so that we all can continue to create a better Waikato for everyone, forever.

With my very best wishes,
Ka kite ano
Cheryl Reynolds
Chief Executive - Momentum Waikato