Finalists: Kiwi Invest Emerging Leader Award


Nominations closed 8 March. The winner will be announced at the Direct Capital Cocktail and Awards Ceremony, 16 May 2019.


About the Award

The Philanthropy New Zealand Emerging Leader Award recognises the contribution of someone new to the sector who is making a significant impact on philanthropy or grantmaking. The nominee must have less than three years experience in the philanthropic sector and be making a mark as an emerging leader, driver of innovation and best practice, and/or broker of connection and collaboration.

The winner of this Award will be announced at the Philanthropy New Zealand Awards 2019 at the Direct Capital Cocktail and Award party on 16 May, to be held at Parliament.


The finalists for 2019 are:

Cheryl Spain

Cheryl has been the Executive Director of The Gift Trust for two years and came to the philanthropy sector after a career in fundraising and project development for charities in the UK and NZ. Since taking on leadership of The Gift Trust, she’s taken its innovative services from aspiration to real delivery.

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She’s built an effective team and consolidated The Gift Trust’s philanthropic offering into a unique service in New Zealand for donors who want a simple and effective structure for their giving along with tailored support to make funding decisions.

In her 2 years with The Gift Trust, she has tripled the number of donors and grown the funding pool by 25%.  She has brokered a unique partnership between The Gift Trust and Consilium, a financial advisory network, allowing donors to invest their charitable funds through an investment adviser of their choice. She’s been active in developing strong ethical investment options, allowing donors to invest their charitable funds in ways consistent with their ethical views. She has overhauled The Gift Trust’s donation management system and streamlined the process for donors. She’s now using the profile she’s built to promote philanthropy for everyone and grow the concept of donor-advised giving in NZ.

Helen Anderson

Helen has been working with the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation since February 2018. Over the last 12 months she has been the Grants Lead for the foundation’s team. She has helped to transform their grant-making processes.

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She has also kicked off a collaborative effort on Drivers Licensing reform with Philanthropy New Zealand and the Todd Foundation.

She has improved processes at the Foundation to the point where they get 100% positive responses from the organisations that they decline! Helen also works with the JR McKenzie Trust leading systems change, shifting more of their processes online, and managing their partnerships and collaboration funding.  


Michelle Wanwimolruk

Michelle has been involved in establishing the Borrin Foundation, the latest significant addition to the New Zealand philanthropic sector. Given the Borrin Foundation is constrained to fund only “legal research, education and scholarship”, Michelle drew on sector knowledge to help the Foundation’s leadership board to determine its strategic focus.

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For some in the sector, there may have been an expectation that the Borrin family’s $38 million gift would end up entrenching the privilege of already privileged members of the legal profession by funding, for example, more scholarships to prestigious international law schools.

Michelle’s work helped the Foundation to look beyond reactive transactional models of grantmaking, to a grantmaking approach that would proactively seek to make a difference to the lives of New Zealanders through the law. This resulted in the Foundation choosing to focus on two key areas – criminal justice (the Foundation has drawn attention to how New Zealand has the second highest incarceration rate in the Western world) and family law. The Foundation’s commitment is to be a proactive and focused funder, focused on ‘areas of profound concern’, where ‘the law is not serving New Zealanders well’, which it recognises will ‘involve tackling some hard issues and big challenges over a long time.’

Award sponsor: