It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

April 9, 2019

By Sue McCabe

I’m counting down the number of sleeps and have all the anticipation of a child who believes in Santa in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Are we there yet?

Because it’s five weeks to go until the biennial Philanthropy Summit, where funders of the community sector get together to talk about how they can have even more positive impact on Aotearoa.

It’s the biggest event on NZ’s philanthropic calendar, as it sees hundreds of people with the smarts, passion, influence, track record and funding to make a difference across all areas of our society and environment come together collaboratively.

To ensure we meet the needs of an audience of this size and diversity (trustees, Chief Executives, individual philanthropists, corporate givers, grants advisors, overseas funders, Government agencies, etc) we’ve got a large programme. At first glance, it may seem that there is a lot on offer, but we are enjoying talking with people who contact us to help identify their relevant pathway through the Summit.

In many ways the Summit is merely a point in time, a curated snapshot that reflects learnings and successes to date, progresses important conversations happening within the philanthropic community, and surfaces issues and changes that funders want or need to know about.

With a choice of at least eight workshop options in each of the four sets of breakout sessions, participants can pick which conversations to focus on. I’m frequently asked what I’m looking forward to the most. The answer is easy. As a new Chief Executive, its learning more about Philanthropy New Zealand’s funder members and stakeholders. And hopefully hearing that the Summit has given them insight, useful tools and enabled them to develop new relationships and partnerships.

One important kōrero I’ve been engaged with since starting at Philanthropy New Zealand is how we develop a bespoke model of philanthropy for Aotearoa, New Zealand that reflects our unique needs and opportunities? For example, how do we keep the strengths of our current system but better fund Māori aspirations (an area where statistics show all sectors – not just philanthropy – need to up their game)? We’ll be discussing this topic in a number of sessions during the Summit.

Then there is the coming together of the philanthropic sector to discuss its response to the March 15 terrorist attack. While many of our members and stakeholders are engaged in funding the immediate response, the sector is already discussing what more it can do longer-term to strengthen our communities, reduce discrimination and increase inclusiveness and understanding. We are finalising additional parts to our programme that will enable our sector to use the Summit to discuss how to strengthen its already significant contribution to the peaceful and kind Aotearoa, New Zealand we all want.

New Zealand is so small, networked and nimble anything is possible when we work together around common goals. The Summit programme enables people to collaborate with like-minded others.

That’s the short(ish) answer to the question on what I’m most looking forward to. I would turn this blog into a book if I started to expand on the speakers and sessionsI think will be hugely interesting and relevant across the four streams of: the future; relationships and trust; the work we do; and impact.

While the Summit programme is massive, it’s organised by the very small not for profit team at Philanthropy New Zealand. Given the Summit’s size it’s easy to forget that it is, at heart, a community event. Most of the session topics have been suggested by our funder members, and most of the speakers are our members or their stakeholders.

Like all community events, it only happens because of the goodwill of people who pitch in to get it over the line. Our Board, our Māori Advisory Committee, our Youth Advisory Group, our Conference Planning Committee and the dozens of speakers and facilitators who step up to lead because they care. And because they know that, by sharing, we can keep increasing the good the philanthropic dollar does.

We are also deeply appreciative of our sponsors. Our major organisational sponsors are AMP Capital and Perpetual Guardian, who are joined by Summit-specific sponsors.

Thank you to all the helpers, champions, speakers, sponsors and others who are supporting us to put on this event. In a sector of good, let’s see how we can take it to the next level.

Learn more about The Philanthropy Summit: The Future of Trust, or contact our Relationships and Events Manager Yvonne Trask on if you’d like to discuss the relevance of the programme for your type of giving.