Cornerstone Donors Muck In to Mark Foundation Milestone

  • Image: Mucking in to mark the milestone, a group of Hawke’s Bay Foundation cornerstone donor families, from left to right: Annabel Murphy and children Tillie (8) and Marco (3), James Williams, Tim and Jules Nowell-Usticke, Craig Hickson and wife Penny with daughter Anna Ducker and granddaughter Greer and pictured far right, Lyn Williams. (Image courtesy of Richard Brimer)

A group of generous Hawke’s Bay Foundation cornerstone donors have marked ten years of the Community Foundation’s existence by mucking in with an historic tree planting at Te Mata Park.
Creating a commemorative woodland area at the Park for Hawke’s Bay Foundation to add native trees to with each decade has been a joint vision for Trustees and Te Mata Park Board Chairman Mike Devonshire.
“We see a great alignment with what the Park stands for and the vision of Hawke’s Bay Foundation. Projects such as this are nurturing the whenua but also show respect for our community. Many of the endeavours we seek to achieve, like the Foundation, are ultimately for the community so we’re proud to stand beside it,” says Mike.

Community-mindedness set the Foundation’s wheels in motion ten years ago when ten Hawke’s Bay cornerstone donor families agreed to start a fund to give back to the region they love and inspire others to do the same.

In 2012 each family gifted $100,000, kick-starting the Hawke’s Bay Foundation endowment fund with a generous $1M. Since then, through its unique investment model, the Foundation has been supporting local charities with long-term sustainable funding streams – in that time gifting $2.54M to 352 local organisations.

Cornerstone donor family member James Williams was only too happy to roll up his sleeves to mark the 10 Year milestone and says the energy of the early beginners now means Hawke’s Bay has its own robust vehicle to sustain the work of local charities.

“You can’t stop trees growing as long as it rains, and it’s probably nicely symbolic because I don’t think you can now stop the Foundation from growing. Te Mata Peak and trees are a significant part of the landscape for Hawke’s Bay and I think the Foundation will become an equally important part of lives for a lot of people.

“It’s a great thing to support and will become more pertinent as time goes by and the Foundation grows. It’s a magnificent thing to have been involved with and Hawke’s Bay will benefit for generations to come.”

Fellow cornerstone donor Craig Hickson acknowledges why he wanted to give back to the region ‘that’s been very good to him’.

“It doesn’t seem like ten years. That time has gone very quickly. I am pleased to be part of initiatives aimed at improving amenities for future generations. The 10 Year Planting is such an initiative.

“I have my granddaughter here today and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to add to the efforts of our forefathers with her hand on the spade. To show gratitude and respect for what’s gone before and what lies ahead.”

Instrumental in setting up the Foundation’s endowment fund, outgoing Trustee and Chair of Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s Investment Committee Sam Howard says the model is built for longevity.

“Unlike other funders, the magic of the endowment model is its compounding mechanisms, including the growing impact the Foundation will have on this community. Every year as more generous Hawke’s Bay people give to the Foundation and as the endowment capital generates investment returns, the Fund continues to grow, both in terms of size, but more importantly, impact.

“The numbers get exciting in the medium to long-term, and that’s when it [the Foundation] will have a significant and positive impact on our community. As a greater understanding of the long-term potential of the model increases, there will be growing confidence in using it as our vehicle for giving.

“This is a Hawke’s Bay community asset that we can all feel proud of and a sense of ownership in,” says Sam.

Support for local charities through Hawke’s Bay Foundation funding this year alone has seen saw almost a quarter of a million dollars ($246,551) buffer the coffers of 49 local charities, spanning the region’s service sector.

Distributions Chair Sarah Mulcahy says with demand for financial support reaching record levels, offering grants that increase from year to year as the fund grows is a key point of difference.

“Building healthy, thriving and resilient communities across Hawke’s Bay through reliable long-term funding streams is central to the mission of Hawke’s Bay Foundation, but we need the public to get behind it.

“We’ve got the building blocks in place and we’ve got the momentum to ensure that over time the Foundation will fuel a thriving Hawke’s Bay through local generosity and a high performing endowment.

“I became involved two years after its inception and remember just dreaming of what was possible and now it’s coming to fruition. It is incredibly humbling to have the support of the Hawke’s Bay community in what we are doing. It’s going to be great – this is a perpetuity organisation that’s going to be here for the next 2-3 hundred years and it’s fantastic to be part of it.”
Hawke’s Bay Foundation receives gifts and bequests, large and small, from individuals, families and businesses. These are invested for the long-term, with the income earned used to support local charities with sustainable funding streams.