What matters most in communities

Arron Perriam
Executive Director
CFNZ
11 May 2021

It is with a sense of excitement and privilege that I join the CFNZ team and I look forward to meeting with the whānau over the coming weeks ahead to hear what matters most to your people and your communities.

Foundations, philanthropy and generosity have many faces. Personally though, I see generosity as making room in your heart for others, and service is allowing our heads and hands to follow our heart.

It is within this framework I envision a CFNZ which remains donor determined, data informed, place based, technology enabled, missional or transformational in attitude and behaviour, and in itself is a stunning culture (or, has a stunning heart) which reflects the sector and people we serve. My hope is the true value of our collective contributions to Aotearoa NZ will always be far greater than just the value of the dollars distributed.

Speaking of dollars, it's official – we live in uncertain times! I’ve just been reading the latest NZ Endowments and Foundations Survey1 which reflects widespread concerns regarding market volatility and insufficient returns. Someone once noted ‘certainty is the enemy of growth’, and arguably it is indeed true that we need to embrace uncertainty as being critical to growth. How are we currently implementing strategies to protect against market volatility? What do our spending rates and mission impact ambitions look like against current and projected returns? How are we exploring other ways of operating that focus on social, as well as financial, returns? I look forward to discussing these types of issues with our network and much more, and learning from you as to better understand our own diverse CFNZ ecosystem and the social impacts of our mahi.

In times of uncertainty, more money simply isn’t a strategy, the aggregation of marginal gains should never be underestimated and nor can the impact of bringing the diverse voice of those we serve closer to the engine room of influence. Our mandate for social impact is as much about our social license as it is our endowment balance.

As the newbie, I can promise you a couple of things; I will serve with my heart, head and hands, I will embrace uncertainty and learn and grow with our foundations and the voices of Aotearoa communities.

Ngā mihi nui.

1 Survey prepared by Mercer (NZ) Ltd

Date Posted: 11 May 2021

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