New chair and $1 billion target

3 minutes read
Posted 19 February, 2024
Screenshot 2024 02 19 090516

Wakatipu Community Foundation CEO Jennifer Belmont with Stephen Brent, left, and Ray Key

Wakatipu Community Foundation has a new chair as it targets the ambitious goal of becoming a billion dollar fund.

After six years at the helm, Ray Key is stepping down and will be replaced by existing trustee Stephen Brent, Principal at RVG Law.

Foundation CEO Jennifer Belmont says Key has skillfully led the WCF through its startup phase "creating an organisation poised to meet the new challenge of becoming a One Billion dollar fund in the next 30 years".

"Ray, we extend our sincere gratitude for your service to the community and your unwavering dedication in building the Wakatipu Community Foundation."

He will continue to serve as the Chair of Community Foundations Aotearoa NZ

Brent has three years of experience as a trustee and has been a steadfast supporter of the Foundation since its inception.

"Notably, he has created his own legacy fund and inspired others to do the same," Belmont says.

"We are so grateful to Steve for taking on this crucial role, and we eagerly anticipate continued growth and success under his capable leadership. This transition, coupled with Steve's dual experience as a lawyer and trustee, positions us well to realise our ambitious goal."

The WCF is the fastest-growing community foundation in New Zealand, boasting $37 million in pledged funds.

But with an estimated $1.15 trillion wealth transfer between generations in NZ over the next three decades, the Foundation is positioning itself to harness a share through wills-based legacy funds and encouraging contributions from local donors in the community.

If it reaches its $1bn target by 2055, it could inject $35 million a year into the local community.

Also stepping down from her role as trustee is Kristen Holtzman, who is founder of the hugely successful WCF initiative Impact100. Holtzman will continue as an ambassador for the WCF.

Impact100 Wakatipu chair Clare Irons chats to host Brent Harbour on this week's episode of The Outlet Queenstown podcast, which is available on the Lakes Weekly Bulletin website and the Queenstown App.

Irons explains the concept of Impact100 and discusses the significant impact of women's collective giving on the community.

"The model is really simple," she says "The idea is to have at least 100 women donating a thousand dollars. That money gets pooled and granted out to local community organisations."


The international philanthropic organisation was founded 21 years ago in the USA. Impact100 Wakatipu is the 70th chapter worldwide and the first in New Zealand. Since its inception in 2020, it has granted $698,500 to local causes, including six major grants of $100k each.

"I think there's something really empowering about all coming together, women from our community, supporting our community and giving back to our community together," Irons says.

"There are really different levels of engagement. Some women, they donate their thousand dollars and that's as involved as they want to be. For other women, they get really involved in the grants process ... or maybe they lend their skills and expertise to our comms or our events committees.

"You can be as engaged or not as you want, but the most important thing is that everybody who donates, or is sponsored to donate, gets a vote and gets to decide where those funds go."

She also details the new Impact-ships initiative, which is designed to bring more diverse voices into the fold, and will be launched on International Women's Day.


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