Foundation Ushers in New Era

  • Amy Bowkett (left) and Alesha Hope (right)

Hawke’s Bay Foundation is paying tribute to its founding Executive Officer Amy Bowkett, who after six years at the helm, has announced her departure from the role.

Stepping away from the position she’s described as “deeply fulfilling”, has been a difficult decision but after stewarding a pivotal phase of growth for the Foundation, she feels the time is right.

“All Community Foundations go through phases of growth and mine – the early growth phase – is finished. We are at a really good place to allow fresh eyes on our work and to take it to the next level, with over 70 Named Funds and $11.5m under endowment. I’ll be a lifelong supporter of Hawke’s Bay Foundation and of the Community Foundation model in general, so I look forward to watching it continue to grow.”

Throughout her time as the public face of Hawke’s Bay Foundation, Amy helped navigate the organisation through considerable endowment and profile growth, taking the fund from $3m in 2018 to over $11m under management today. Building a community driven fund for the support of charitable activities within Hawke’s Bay has required energy, dedication and leadership.

“Everything about this role is personal – from helping donors with their philanthropic intentions to seeing the impact their giving had in the charitable world. Those who went before me set the stage, and I hope that I performed well for the phase the Foundation was in while I was at the helm. Our fund experienced high growth, and our profile rose in the community dramatically. Our Board and staff never missed a beat and it has been an honour to be part of the team.”

Hawke’s Bay Foundation Chair Kevin Callinicos believes Amy’s hard work, enthusiasm and skills kept them on target.

“We’re incredibly thankful for Amy’s dedication to our mission; serving the goals and objectives of the trustees, and leading our staff from the fledgling organisation she signed up for to the now credible Foundation, poised for the next stage of its development. Her work leading the hugely impactful Cyclone Relief Fund last year, whilst also managing her own losses following Cyclone Gabrielle, is testament to Amy’s unwavering commitment to her community.”

Taking up the reins will be Central Hawke’s Bay local, Alesha Hope. With over a decade of experience in delivering and creating sustainable fundraising strategies for charitable organisations, Alesha is excited to steer Hawke’s Bay Foundation through a new phase of evolution. 

“I’ve been hugely impressed observing the momentum and community support of Hawke’s Bay Foundation. I’m privileged to play a pivotal part in connecting people to organisations that make a real impact, and to help enable long-lasting philanthropy through a smart, sustainable model.”

In twelve years of operation, Hawke’s Bay Foundation has distributed $3.37million within Hawke’s Bay, with funding this year set to increase by 25 percent in 2024.  At a time when other major funders are reducing distributions, Hawke’s Bay Foundation’s annual grant threshold has increased from a maximum $10 thousand to $15 thousand, per charity. 

Alesha Hope is confident the Hawke’s Bay community will continue to support the growth of the fund, and remains grateful for the groundwork that went before. 

“What Amy has achieved in her tenure is incredibly impressive. Her knowledge of Community Foundations is deep and helped shaped the Foundation into the respected and trusted organisation it is today.  I hope she is proud of the impact she has made and the legacy she leaves. I have some big shoes to fill!”