Waikato Women's Fund Tackles Need and Builds Capacity

Published on 06 Oct 2018

Meeting an urgent need while building resilience and capacity for a brighter future are the goals of the first two grants made by the Waikato’s newest philanthropic enterprise.

The launch this week of the Waikato Women’s Fund-Te Ira Waahine o Waikato featured the well-received announcement that the Waikato Women's Refuge-Te Whakaruruhau and the Toi Wāhine festival are the recipients of its inaugural contributions.

“We’re beginning as we intend to go on,” says Waikato Women’s Fund establishment group chair Michelle Howie, “these two groups, respectively, embody our concerns and aspirations”.

“This is a new ‘nest egg’ created by Waikato women, for Waikato women.”

Around a hundred people attended the launch of the Waikato Women’s Fund at The Meteor in Hamilton on Wednesday, 31 July. The ‘big reveal’ of the first two grants was met with enthusiastic applause in the packed theatre.

The evening also featured inspiring presentations by Dr Gill Greer, Chief Executive of the National Council of Women of New Zealand, and Dellwyn Stuart, founder of the Auckland Foundation’s Women's Fund.

Gill emphasised that 125 years after New Zealand women secured the right to vote, our society is still a long long way from gender equity – “five things done, fifty-seven to do” as she put it. People today can make good on Aotearoa’s legacy of strong women by not letting up on the push for positive change.

She also pointed to the power of small contributions with a quote from former PM Helen Clark – “meta problems don’t always need meta solutions – small actions together can have a transformative effect”.

Dellwyn focused on the distinct nature of women’s giving and the ripples that come from investing in women.

“Women want to make change, we give when we can relate to a challenge.

“We want to create new solutions, to be entrepreneurial with our philanthropy. We like to connect, to get some intimacy with where our money goes, to know how the story ends.

“When we invest in women, they go out and share the benefit with their families, their neighbours, their whole community. Investing in women creates a fairer society for everyone.”

Michelle says the Waikato Women’s Fund Launch was a huge success.

“A big thanks to the many people who contributed to a remarkable event. We will capture the spark of interest and enthusiasm it has created and sustain it.”

Anyone can donate any amount to the Waikato Women’s Fund via its new website at www.waikatowomensfund.nz.

Supporters are also encouraged to spread the word by liking and sharing from the Waikato Women’s Fund’s social media pages.

Suggestions for future grant recipients, whether to address immediate needs or to build for the future, are also welcome.

The Waikato Women’s Fund-Te Ira Waahine o Waikato enables local women to align their giving with the needs and aspirations of women and girls across the region. Research shows more and more women are generating and controlling their own wealth, and that it is women who are at the forefront of baby boomer wealth transfer. Yet it is women and girls who are most affected and held back by the social and economic issues impacting our region and country.

Few traditional funders are consciously trying to close this loop or track whether their grants are really benefitting and enabling women and girls. The Waikato Women's Fund connects women's giving capacity with a funding model that targets women and girls.