Elements in decline
Mauri at the centre
Research and kōrero with Iwi/Māori and other stakeholders supported the idea of a bold, sustained and innovative approach, and those designing the new fund saw an opportunity to place the Māori concept of Mauri at the centre.
A separately branded GIFT fund, with an initial $5m over five years, enabled a small team within Foundation North to develop a fluid, nimble and collaborative funding mechanism to seed experimental initiatives, projects shown to have potential and larger scale kaupapa looking to effect systemic change. GIFT-funded projects also received capacity and evaluation support from the Centre for Social Impact.
Shifting GIFT’s emphasis
In its early years, GIFT attracted requests from applicants normally excluded from the Foundation’s usual funding criteria: individuals, small companies and academic researchers. GIFT’s influence and network grew, partnerships were formed and external funding was leveraged.
Around Year Three, a shift in emphasis occurred. The GIFT team adapted its ways of working to be more culturally responsive and initiatives led by Tangata Whenua became a priority. Mātauranga Māori practices and approaches were recognised, valued and implemented, and the GIFT network’s understanding of mauri was deepened through wānanga with Te Kaa. At the same time, GIFT explored different ways to use a systems lens to identify the factors holding the Gulf’s restoration back.
After five years, GIFT is binding its learning and practice together to inform Foundation North and other philanthropic organisations. While GIFT as a standalone fund will end in 2022, Foundation North remains committed to Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi and her people through its other funding streams