The Milford Foundation difference

It’s a well-known fact that New Zealand has one of the most crowded charity sectors in the world. Calculated per capita, New Zealand has roughly twice the number of charities as Australia and three times that of the UK. Any new entrant to this busy and sometimes confusing sector needs to have something different to offer.

So what does the Milford Foundation offer and why is it different to others in the charity sector?


Rigorous analysis

Donors to the Foundation have the benefit of knowing that our chosen charity partners within our three pillars (youth, education and the environment) have been researched thoroughly, have passed a rigorous due diligence process, are providing maximum impact and are closely monitored on an ongoing basis.


Long term growth

50% of each donation to the Foundation is granted to our carefully chosen charity partners, whilst the remaining 50% is placed in a fund for long term growth thereby creating a lasting legacy for the future and giving the Foundation the opportunity to forge long lasting and meaningful partnerships with the charities to help them work on long term solutions that create real change.



There is full transparency for donors and potential donors. The total funds raised, the growth of the investment fund and details of where the grants have been made are all available on our website. Donors benefit from further information and regular reporting via the Milford portal where they will be able to see exactly how their funds have been granted and how they have been invested via their own portal access.


Deep resources

The Foundation has access to the powerful resources of Milford Asset Management – not just the financial and intellectual resources but also the physical help of the 140+ staff members who are encouraged to volunteer for our chosen charities from time to time (more about this below).


Zero costs

All of these benefits come at no cost to the Foundation (as these are covered by Milford Asset Management) and so donors know their full donation is used to either directly benefit the chosen charities or to grow the fund for the future.

Many organisations in the charities sector may have one or two of the above attributes but very few (if any) can say they benefit from all these factors.

It is this combination of attributes and characteristics that makes the Milford Foundation different and we firmly believe this gives it the edge and the potential to become one of the most impactful and effective charities New Zealand has ever seen.

Richard Pilley – Financial Adviser, Milford

Richard Pilley Financial-Adviser-Milford

The might of Milford Asset Management

How does the Foundation utilise the powerful resources of Milford Asset Management to achieve its goals and to maintain the differentiating factors outlined above.

Commercial discipline and expert analysis

The Foundation uses Milford’s renowned investment expertise and commercial discipline to help select and monitor our chosen charity partners. As already stated, New Zealand has a huge number of registered charities and this creates a confusing landscape for potential donors. Their common questions are; how do you choose which charity to support, how do you know your donation is making an impact and how do you ensure that continues to be the case going forward?

Charities are non-profit organisations and generally have revenue flows from various sources, but fundamentally they are businesses, so Milford can use the same processes to find good charities as it uses to find good businesses to invest in. Milford is well known as being an active investor and so the systems and processes for this analysis are already in place. This involves rigorous fundamental research of the sector in which the charities operate and a thorough analysis of the major organisations within it to determine the most effective and impactful (just as we would with an investment in our funds management business). But it’s not just about the cold, hard figures – just as with our investment decisions, we also use softer skills such as interviewing management to ensure we are comfortable in their vision, values and passion for the business (or charity) they work in.

It also involves constant ongoing monitoring to measure effectiveness and impact. Milford Asset Management is full of highly qualified, enthusiastic finance professionals who enjoy helping with the analysis and ongoing monitoring of organisations which the Foundation can call on at any time.

Investment expertise

The Foundation uses Milford’s investment expertise to grow the funds raised. Out of every dollar donated, 50 cents is granted, whilst the other 50 cents is invested in a strategy focused on growth over the long term and designed to build a lasting legacy for the future.

Sadly, many charities have historically suffered relatively poor investment returns due to lack of knowledge or questionable advice. Milford will ensure that the investment portfolio of the Foundation is actively managed for long term growth by utilising the expert knowledge and processes that already exist.

Financial resources and human resources

Milford Asset Management is a great success story and it wants to use its success to put back into the community. It has demonstrated this by seeding the Foundation with a substantial sum to start its journey.

The Foundation also benefits from the generosity of the Milford corporate in terms of funding its operating costs. This is a great benefit as most charities are hamstrung by running costs for which they have to spend time and effort raising money, instead of doing their good work. This is also a cause for concern for donors as they can see much of their donation going towards running costs of the charity instead of the causes they intended to support. When someone donates to the Milford Foundation, they know the full amount of their donation will be used to support our chosen charities and invested for building a future fund.

Additionally, Milford employs over 140 people. Many of these staff members have made financial contributions to the Foundation either by way of lump sum donations or regular salary sacrifice. They are also keen to contribute with their time, whether that’s by way of helping with the selection and analysis of our charities or by using their “volunteer days” to help out.

Networks and client base

As one of the major players in the New Zealand financial markets for many years, Milford has developed a wide network of professional contacts that it can draw upon to help with the Foundation’s work and to spread the word about the Foundation.

Milford also has a large and generous client base, many of whom have been looking for a charitable cause they can trust. This will be a major source of donations to the Foundation going forward.

This article was originally featured in the Impact magazine, click here to view the magazine online.