Report to Waikato Women's Fund Annual Members Meeting - 16 December 2021
Kia ora koutou, ngaa mihi nui ki a koutou, Malo e lelei, warm Pacific greetings,
My name is Rachel Afeaki-Taumoepeau, I am currently the Chair of the Waikato Women’s Fund (WWF). Wow! What a year it’s been – not just for the Waikato Women’s Fund but for New Zealand as a nation. We have continued to navigate through this global pandemic and as a result much of 2021 has for many of us seen our year literally –stop, go, stop go and today as of yesterday it seems it’s all go go go.
The purpose of the voluntary-led Waikato Women’s Fund remains to help women, girls and their communities achieve their aspirations, by growing a fund, making grants, and celebrating women and girls with activities that showcase the power and beauty of women, girls and their communities.
Our fund has continued to grow this past financial year, having reached our first endowment milestone of $100,000 in June 2020, and quickly growing to $154,400 by the end of July 2021. The Fund continues to work towards raising $1 million by 30 June 2024 which is not impossible. We expect 2022 will be a good year ahead, so we will continue to encourage all our members to keep spreading the word and introducing the fund to new members amongst their own respective communities.
So, what have we been up to?
WWF kicked of 2021 with its signature fundraising High Tea event Waahine Toa -Reignite held Saturday 13 March at the wonderful Zealong Tea Estate. A sold out event attended by members, community and corporate supporters we heard from four inspirational Waahine Toa-women; Amanda Betts, Golriz Ghahraman, Jo Shortland and Rachel Petero - Ko Waikato Te Iwi share their wisdom, life experiences and empowering stories, speak into leadership and influence, diversity and inclusivity and their own New Zealand and/or global impact.
Our event was supported by event partner Tompkins Wake and principle sponsors Duncan & Ebbett, Hamilton Volvo and Craigs Investment Partners and generous supplier partners Zealong and Haha Wine of New Zealand. Of course, our event would not be as successful without the fabulous Jan Maree Franicevic who continues to champion the Waikato Women’s Fund with her generous time and entertaining MC skills and our very own from day 1 supporter Mayor Paula Southgate. Our signature event raised $23,865.86 for the Waikato Women's Fund, a significant contribution towards the Fund's goal to grow a $1,000,000 endowment trust by 2024.
Shortly after our Waahine Toa event, WWF presented it’s 3-year strategic plan at the Momentum Showcase outlining what the Fund had been up to and our plans to reach 1-million dollars by 2024. This evening provided an opportunity for WWF to further connect with members of the Momentum family. Annual Planning Day The committee met in May to begin to plan for the rest of the year just what amazing activities we could deliver. It was this day I zoomed in from my hospital bed following a 4-week stint, but as they say – ‘the show must go on’ and it was great to see our committee crack on with the business for the day. Thank you to fellow committee member Jen Baird for facilitating the day which included a review asking the questions – What’s working? What’s not? What would success look like over the next 12 months. I am pleased to say WWF is working towards completing our list of KPIs to include regular communications, website maintenance, membership growth and pledges, a surplus of $40,000 to distribute and of course most importantly a committee that is happy, engaged and feeling successful.
With alert levels kicking in mid-August, much of WWF’s planning for its 3rd birthday face-to-face celebrations (and granting process was put on hold). Following so much effort to plan yet we were at a standstill until alert levels dropped, the committee felt it best to not hold a gathering event and potentially look at celebrating in the near future (our 4th birthday!).
Each year going forward the Fund will grant 80% of our investment return and retain the other 20% to grow the endowment fund, which continues to grow by way of donations from our members, and from fundraising events. Our grant making focus this year was on leadership and well-being resilience, and we particularly encouraged our members to nominate groups outside of Hamilton City. We were incredibly pleased to announce two grants of $5,000 each to The Flourish Leadership Development for Ethnic Women programme run by the Hamilton Multicultural Services Trust at the Waikato Settlement Centre, and Te Hinatore run by Anglican Action also received $5,000, which will fund a six-week Mana Waahine programme designed specifically for young women navigating the youth justice system or facing challenges within their lives.
We also saw an increased participation by our members in the granting process in nominating organisations and having their say by voting. We continue to encourage all our members to take advantage of being able to be part of this decision-making in 2022.
For the first time, WWF engaged a final year management student intern the second half of the year – Ikran Mohamed who has been a significant resource of support to the committee bringing her digital marketing and communication skills to the team. Ikran has informed me that she has enjoyed her time with the Fund and will continue to be of support even after she completes her internship.
We have appreciated the support of Volunteering Waikato throughout the year who have enabled the committee with volunteers who support the Kaupapa of the Fund. The committee have always had good secretariat support from day one. Mid-year, we were sad to say farewell to Anna Devcich who had been our volunteer minute taker for a year, but thanks to Volunteer Waikato we have Dee Holmes-Chan who is now our committee secretary.
Thank you to Kelvyn and the team at Momentum Waikato who continue to enable, support, and connect the Waikato Women’s Fund to the wider Momentum family. The committee are very appreciative of the special working relationship we have continued to maintain and strengthen over the years.
We especially acknowledge DV Bryant Trust, and outgoing committee member CEO Raewyn Kirkman who have extended its support by allowing the WWF committee to meet at its premises in their boardroom throughout the year ensuring we have a home-base.
I am very grateful to my fellow committee members – who are all volunteers; Raewyn Kirkman, Ann Graham, Kylee Nobilo, Jen Baird, Rosalie Norton, Chantal Baxter, Hanlie du Plessis, Bianca Montgomery, Theresa Aucamp. Thank you to Chantal Baxter who has looked after our finances and of course I wish to acknowledge our Hillcrest High school committee member Rosalie Norton who is an amazing young leader extraordinaire! As mentioned earlier, 2021 has been a very challenging year for most including our very own committee members yet we continued to work as best we could as for a good part of the year our meetings were held online.
I wish to say thank you to each one of you amazing Waahine Toa who have contributed significantly to the vision and mission of WWF. For those of you stepping down this year we have completely appreciated your time, your contribution, and your aroha. I look forward to welcoming our incoming committee members and begin to anticipate what 2022 will look like. Just like the beginning of this year, 2022 will kick off with Waahine Toa: Rise in Strength, Saturday 26th March at The Atrium, so mark this in your diary!
As we draw near to the end of 2021 (and technically mid-way through our current financial year), the Waikato Women’s Fund celebrates its successes and its increased connections throughout the year. We are a giving circle powered by women and girls of the Waikato region. We have so much more to do, and our hope is that 2022 will be a year where we will do twice as much in half the time to further increase our reach and our impact. Our call to action to all Waahine Toa of Waikato is – however way possible, support the Waikato Women’s Fund, let’s share our stories and celebrate our goodness.
Tu’a ‘Ofa atu, Ngaa mihi nui
Chair of the Waikato Women's Fund