- Outgoing Trustee Sam Howard with four of his eight fellow Board Members Sarah Mulcahy, Craig Hay, Jules Nowell-Usticke and Cam McLeay.
After nine years on the Board as Trustee and Chair of the Investment Committee for Hawke’s Bay Foundation, Sam Howard leaves an enduring mark on the region’s Community Foundation.
Instrumental in setting up the Foundation’s endowment fund, we sat down with Sam to reflect on his time.
Looking back on your tenure, what do you feel were the hallmarks of your contributions?
“Caring about it, putting time in and not giving up are the bits that are really important for somebody in my role. Ensuring that every time you have anything to do with the organisation it’s not about you but what’s best for the organisation and what we’re trying to achieve. I’m really proud to have got through nine years, meeting some amazing people and seeing the incredible work that people are doing in our community. Engaging with the people who really care about it and want Hawke’s Bay to be better over a long period of time, that’s been a really neat journey for me.”
How is Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s investment model 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.”
How has the Foundation evolved over your time on the Board?
“In my time here the reputation of the organisation has gone from strength to strength but it’s a long game. I’m proud that we’ve built a really robust and professionally managed Foundation for Hawke’s Bay that others can now pick up the baton and develop on.”
What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing the Foundation?
“I think the biggest challenge for most people is getting their head around the timeframes we’re thinking in. For many organisations you think one to five, maybe ten years ahead. For Hawke’s Bay Foundation we are thinking one to five hundred years ahead. So, it’s vitally important that our planning today takes this into account. If will build something with a truly strong foundation, then the impact it will have over many years ahead will be significant. There is no room for short termism.
“Ultimately, this is a community asset that we can all feel proud of and have a sense of ownership in.”