Hawke’s Bay Foundation Welcomes New Trustees

  • Leisa Epplett, Andrew Caseley & George Lyons

Hawke’s Bay Foundation has welcomed three new Trustees, ushering in a new era for the established charity funder.

The new look Board that sees the appointment of Andrew Caseley, Leisa Epplett and George Lyons also heralds the departure of long-serving Chair, Giles Pearson and Distributions Chair, Sarah Mulcahy, who are retiring after seven and nine years of service respectively.

As a member of the Hawke’s Bay Foundation Board almost since its inception and Chair for the last four years, Giles Pearson has seen it grow from a fledgling community funder to a transformative community connector.

“When Hawke’s Bay Foundation was emerging as a Community Foundation ten years ago, we had a dream of building a secure and perpetually growing endowment fund that would one day serve and operate as the region’s biggest donor driven collective asset.

“Ten years on, we’ve achieved that and we’re just getting started. Thanks to the foresight, dedication and expertise of those who set the foundations, we will fund the needs of our community for many generations to come. I can look back with immense pride and say I was part of that.”

Trustee and Willis Legal partner Kevin Callinicos steps up as Chair while fellow Trustee Craig Hay takes over as Distributions Chair.

Outgoing Distributions Chair Sarah Mulcahy feels honoured to have helped build a local Community Foundation that is credible and trusted.

“The positive profile of Hawke’s Bay Foundation is built on the generosity of our community with a group of diligent Trustees and staff, both past and present who continue to champion the work. Behind the scenes the work is often unglamorous and unseen however the essential building blocks laid down over the last ten years will ensure the organisation can continue to thrive as a funder into perpetuity.”

Sarah Mulcahy reflects on the critical role the Foundation played in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.

“Our Cyclone Relief Fund was a huge piece of work for the whole team. I am particularly proud of the Foundation’s ability to pivot and step up to support the community in its time of need and to quickly get funding to those community organisations who needed it most. The generosity of our community and of many donors who live elsewhere was humbling while the volunteer distribution committee could not have been more diligent.”

She adds, “the Community Foundation movement and the work of Hawke’s Bay Foundation continues to inspire me – the idea of being able to fund grass roots community work into perpetuity. It’s been truly a privilege to be able to contribute to this and one of the most personally satisfying experiences I have had. I have full faith that our incoming Trustees and leaders will innovate and navigate our region through the coming years.”

Innovation, leadership and strategy underpin the expertise of the Foundation’s fresh new faces on the Board.  

Chartered accountant and former Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive Andrew Caseley joins the Foundation’s Finance and Investment Committee. In his latest role as CEO of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Andrew oversaw the delivery of key Government energy related iniatives including: Warmer Kiwi Homes, the decarbonisation of New Zealand Industry and the implementation of energy efficiency regulations.

After various roles in other parts of New Zealand, Andrew is keen to deploy his skills and experience for the betterment of his home region.

“I have been aware of the Hawkes’s Bay Foundation since its inception and have witnessed its evolution over the last ten years and the momentum now being built as it grows rapidly, becomes more widely known and distributes ever increasing sums for the benefit of the community.

“The older I have become the more concerned I have become about the inequality in our society and the extent of deprivation. Within the philanthropic sector, The Foundation will increasingly be at the forefront of helping alleviate these undesirable features of our society and I look forward to making the maximum difference possible.”

Te Whatu Ora Strategic Business Partner, Leisa Epplett’s appointment as Trustee of Hawke’s Bay Foundation leverages her skills in leadership, strategic thinking and digital technology.

“The unique approach of Hawke’s Bay Foundation, rooted in local philanthropy and strategic investment, aligns perfectly with my values. I’m particularly excited about the Foundation’s commitment to making impactful investments and distributing grants, driving sustainable community growth.”

Local farmer, mediator, and former Hastings District councillor, George Lyons rounds out the trio of new Trustees. Previously a New Zealand School Trustees Association mentor and Family VIP Services board member, George is excited to be able to give back to the community.

“I am committed to the Foundation’s vision and mission and feel grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in a highly respected charitable organisation focussed on providing funds to assist and uplift people in the Hawke’s Bay community.”