Building back better

Building back better

Kelvyn Eglinton
CEO
Momentum Waikato Community Foundation
24 February 2021

Our second five-year strategic term is now underway, which has an endowment fund target of $80 million by 2025. We are on track to disburse close to $1 million per annum from next year.

We will be progressing transformational projects in affordable housing, community connectedness and education pathways for young people, priorities re-confirmed by our Waikato Vital Signs 2020 report.

A key recent strategic move has been to the adoption of an ‘impact investment’ approach to funding, which means a strong focus on generating positive social and environmental outcomes alongside a financial return. We are working with a wide range of partners, including local and central government, while utilising our combination of community and commercial skills and connections.

Since the start of the Covid crisis people have often said to us “we should have set up an endowment fund five years ago”. The pandemic has clearly emphasised the vulnerability of a dependence on contestable, application-based funding and sponsorship.

Changes to the Trusts Act which came into effect in January are also prompting trust boards to consider professional administration for the investment and accounting of their funds and, most importantly, the stewardship of their trust’s objectives, both of which Momentum Waikato Community Foundation can provide in perpetuity.

In turn, the utility of the regional endowment fund, within which community entities can invest all or some of their capital reserves for secure long-term income, has become more widely appreciated. We are constantly engaged in ever-deeper conversations with a growing range of Waikato organisations.

The challenges and opportunities that became more widely and readily apparent during the regional Covid response affirmed there is a huge need for flexible apolitical community leadership that challenges the norms around funding, service delivery and organisational structures.

This is a role that Momentum Waikato Community Foundation sees itself filling locally, but to do so effectively we have to earn the trust and support of every part of our regional community, something we strive to do every day.

What is needed now, before the next crisis hits, is to ‘build back better’ by working outside the traditional structures. Not to supersede them, but to create synergies and amplify their effectiveness by breaking out of the traditional silos of endeavour.

Date Posted: 24 Feb 2021

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