Why the Milford Foundation? Giving back where and when it’s needed

Milford is a proudly founded, owned and headquartered in New Zealand company. We see community engagement and support as an important part of our social responsibility. We are successful thanks to the support and engagement we have had with our New Zealand investors and because of that success, we are well positioned to give back to our communities above and beyond the ongoing philanthropic partnerships we have held for many years. The time is now to create a focused mission that goes beyond aligning with charitable organisations to ensure ongoing community impact.

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but it is also home to some of the most heart-breaking statistics. Kiwi kids rank among the worst in developed countries for well-being outcomes. The terrifying numbers on obesity and suicide rates have not improved in recent years. We were shocked to learn that even basic dental services aren’t reaching New Zealand children, with around 220 children currently on the waiting list for anaesthetic dental surgery in South Auckland alone.

We used to pride ourselves on our country and academic outcomes, but our kids are falling behind. And our beautiful environment has never needed more help to ensure it is preserved for future generations. COVID has also hit some of our communities hard over the last year, with ongoing lockdown measures exacerbating poverty issues.

With our growth, we are now in a privileged position to have the resources to help more. And there was a strong feeling from the entire Milford team that we want to do more. It’s our duty to do more. And we should.

And so, the Milford Foundation was born. Originally stemming from an idea planted by our own William Curtayne, the Foundation was launched in April this year after years of considered planning (read about Will’s story on page 20). We saw the unique philanthropic opportunity to use Milford’s investment expertise to help grow donations for greater future benefit, and apply our proven investment rigour when selecting charity partners and measuring impact. This is a great way to utilise the same investment returns we have been delivering to our clients for the benefit of our charities. Our primary goal is to help strengthen the future of the communities within New Zealand by leveraging Milford’s financial resources, investment expertise and commercial discipline.

Our team is especially passionate about focusing its efforts and support on New Zealand youth, given we are a world leader for all the wrong reasons. We want to have a deeper focus on the first 1000 days of a child’s life, given this period of brain development establishes the lifelong foundations for optimum health, growth, and neuro-development. Our kids also have a declining proficiency in reading and maths, so education is one of the Foundation’s other key pillars. Here we will focus on education equity throughout our different communities. We believe the environment plays a vital role in New Zealand’s long-term prosperity and success, which is why the environment is our third pillar. Our goal is to help safeguard our beautiful natural environment, especially around how we manage, minimise and mitigate the impacts of waste in our broader environment.

We are also passionate about wanting to help in times of crises, and we have done that by recently donating to three Auckland foodbank services which are experiencing a huge spike in demand. Our aim is to form longer-term partnerships with the charities we support as we believe this is the way to maximise impact, but we will continue to make resources available to help when critical needs arise.

We are optimistic about the future and want to make the Milford Foundation an incredible success that delivers meaningful impact. We hope our philanthropic ripples form large waves. By bringing our clients and donor community on the journey with us, we hope to further shine a spotlight on areas that need support. And by investing with Milford, our clients are also helping us support communities. We know that our clients also want to help more, and with over 28,000 registered charities in New Zealand, we see the Milford Foundation as a great way to access a focused and fully transparent approach to giving with measurable impact. Impact which we will ensure is reported on so that always, every dollar is leveraged for benefit.

We’re excited, we’re learning about the challenges and opportunities ahead, and extremely enthusiastic for the future. The Milford Foundation is for all New Zealanders, whether they be communities who benefit from grants or those who support us by donating. This is the start of a truly exciting journey, of which we can all be incredibly proud.

"We used to pride ourselves on our country and academic outcomes, but our kids are falling behind. And our beautiful environment has never needed more help to ensure it is preserved for future generations."

Jessica Travers
Financial Adviser, Milford

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