Leading transformational projects such as the Waikato Regional Theatre is just one of Momentum Waikato’s major objectives, according to new chief executive Kelvyn Eglinton.
Kelvyn says Momentum Waikato’s even more important role is to grow its Endowment Fund to $25 million by 2020 at which point the Foundation will begin a grants system giving away between $1.5 million and $2 million a year. That money is likely to go to two or three major causes a year rather than many smaller grants as other Waikato philanthropic trusts do.
Kelvyn says Momentum’s aim is to create transformational change through large “one-off hits” to causes it identifies will bring big returns to the community. The causes will be those that are best placed to effect change on Waikato’s aspirations and issues as identified through the evidence based Vital Signs report prepared in 2016.
Momentum Foundation’s endowment fund currently sits at about $14 million.
Kelvyn says more Waikato people are getting involved in philanthropy through Momentum, either through bequests to a certain cause or a straight donation into the Endowment Fund.
“We are seeing a huge increase in philanthropic bequests. People are realising that they’ve done well out of living in Waikato and they want to give back.
“We have fantastic generous organisations and people in Waikato who have made huge contributions but there’s just as much opportunity for everyday people to become involved in philanthropy. If enough people give $10 out of their pay every month collectively we make a big difference.”
Meanwhile, Kelvyn says Momentum’s role in supporting regional projects is based around how one investment from Momentum can leverage investment from other partners to do something greater.
“The regional theatre is an example as it leveraged off Hamilton City Council’s
Ferrybank Plan and the River Plan. The discussion at Momentum was ‘so how do we leverage those plans and the need to build a theatre along with the determination to transform the CBD?’
“If the council makes an investment as it has with the theatre, we can add to it but at no more cost to the ratepayers and the outcome for the city is truly transformational – it happens faster and at a greater level than would otherwise happen.”
The new theatre at the former Hamilton Hotel site on Victoria St is now proposed to be complemented with a boutique hotel, a public art gallery, retail space and a walking and cycling bridge across to Memorial Park.
“That’s the bit that people miss when they focus on just the theatre,” says Kelvyn.
“From Momentum’s perspective the theatre is the catalyst to do a whole lot of other things, a series of projects which when all linked up gives a greater benefit.”