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Adrienne Thurston
May 29, 2019
In Summit learnings
What a fantastic summit Philanthropy New Zealand organised for the sector in 2019. Our team those two days feeling challenged, educated, and determined to do better! My summary of key themes and ideas as relevant to a 'Family Fund', I have used this to give those in our organisation who weren't able to attend a short sharp hit of what we need to have front of mind moving forward... Thankyou again PNZ - it's going to be a big year! - The Future of Trust Key Themes High Trust Relationships Giving power to grantees by trusting them with untagged long-term funding, they know best where resources are needed, minimise reporting burden to what is absolutely necessary. Decrease funder burden Wherever possible, minimise the time you ask grantees to spend on reporting to you; Very small/no written application forms or funder to write the application, meet the grantee at their place, face to face reporting, funder write update for their trustees, untagged funding, reporting in line with the size of the grant. Relationships before resources Build true and trusting relationships before investing large sums, this way as funders you get to know they people and their mission and get behind it again without overburdening with reporting and strict spending guidelines. Power to the people – communities having a voice at decision making tables Have your board or at least your advisors reflect the communities you are trying to serve. Communities often have the answers to their own issues but lack the resources or support to implement these. Need lived experience to influence our decisions. Get out of the way Sometimes all a funder can offer is money. If you aren’t part of the community, and don’t deeply understand the issues – enable the people that do, and get out of their way. Long, long term funding Funding 3 – 5 years is great but committing to 10 years plus is even better. If as a funder we are truly committed to fixing a problem and believe we are supporting the right people doing that. Get in behind them for the long haul. Most of our entrenched social issues will take a generation if not more to turn around. Systems change Programs are great (sometimes) but changing the inequities within our social structures and systems is the best way to create real change. This is how you work at the top of the cliff. Programmatic responses are at the bottom. Get on the ground in the community Spend as much time in the communities we serve as possible. Be at their tables, be visible and open, understand the realities of their day to day life, build relationships with the people on the ground. This is the way to earn trust and to understand. Don’t swoop in with money and swoop out, be part of the life and the solution to ensure long term impact. Enabling community Create time, space and resource for communities to discuss their issues and brainstorm and implement solutions. External contractors or programs are generally only band-aid solutions. If a community is empowered to develop their own responses this is far more likely to become imbedded and have real impact. Collective action Bring together all parties either working in a community or on a particular issue, empower them to develop a collective response. More voices and aligned action are far more likely to get real results. Social cohesion Lots of our social issues are arising because of the diminishing importance of core communities such as Churches, Schools are other community groups which were once the meeting place of like-minded people and offered those who were part of them a shared voice. Many of us now behave as individuals = what is best for us and our small family unit rather than what is best for our community, or nation as a whole. Grow and enable community leaders We can support communities to support them selves by identifying, resourcing, supporting and enabling community leaders. Evidence and then invest Once we have identified the problem we wish to solve, find out the organisations or systems that are working hard to tackle this, find evidence of success, or headway then invest heavily. Radical, bold, risky innovation “Philanthropy is Risk Capital for social change.” Philanthropy should steer away from funding business as usual. Unlike other systems; government, community trusts etc, philanthropy is able to invest in ideas or solutions that are risky. This should be our mandate. Bring the entrepreneurial lens we use in business to our philanthropy. Failure is often a success. Find Gaps – Prioritise – Scale Find Gaps - Philanthropy’s aim is to understand the gaps in our society that have been left behind by Government, Big Business etc that our most vulnerable people are victim to. Prioritise - decide which of these gaps we will focus on (we cannot do everything). Scale – find people and solutions who are working hard to fill these gaps and resource them, enable them to scale. Healing from Colonisation There were some serious challenges to funders around the impacts still being felt of colonisation and how we can be part of the solutions and healing. What is good for our most vulnerable is good for us all. 
Adrienne Thurston
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