Effective philanthropy

At the heart of every philanthropist and grantmaker is the desire to make an impact. However, as Warren Buffet (a trustee of the Gates Foundation) said: “It is far easier to make money than to give it away effectively.”

We know it is a unique privilege to participate in distributing money to make the world a better place. And we are eager to create a powerful and effective result through our philanthropy.

What is ‘philanthropy’?

The word ‘philanthropy’ comes from the Greek philanthropia, the love of humanity. Philanthropia involves both the benefactor and the beneficiary, and emphasises caring for, nourishing, developing and enhancing what it means to be human. A modern tag line for philanthropy is “private wealth, for the public good”.

Philanthropy is not the same thing as charity; not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa, though there is overlap. A difference commonly cited is that charity ‘aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem’, whereas philanthropy ‘attempts to address the root cause of the problem’ – the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person versus teaching them how to fish.

“Philanthropy at its best serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness.”

– National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

Our approach to philanthropy

We believe we can ‘do more than give’. This means we want to move beyond ‘transactional philanthropy’, where we simply assess applications and send out money. Instead, we see ourselves as an active participant in the business of solving social problems.

We have studied and want to execute ‘strategic’ or ‘wise’ philanthropy. This means we will:

  • Seek to maximise the impact of our funding.
  • Focus on ‘areas of profound concern’. These are areas where the law is not serving New Zealanders well. We understand this will involve tackling some hard issues and big challenges over a long time.
  • Seek to be a proactive and focused funder. We envisage our main focus will be on a smaller number of grants that are of higher value and for longer-term.

We will continue to study and reflect on our activities and our grant-making. And we are committed to our own learning and improvement. We welcome feedback.

Good philanthropy addresses the causes that made philanthropy necessary in the first place