What the organisation is and does

Perpetual Guardian is a trustee company that was formed from a merger of Perpetual Trust and Guardian Trust.  Perpetual Guardian provide a range of estate planning options for New Zealanders, and administer over 550 endowment and charitable trusts, many of which are actively distributing funds to support charitable causes in New Zealand.  Across these trusts approximately $30million is distribution per annum in grants and scholarships.

In 2015, Perpetual Guardian launched the Perpetual Guardian Foundation as a vehicle for individuals to engage in philanthropy in a more accessible way.  The Foundation includes a General Fund managed by an Advisory Board, as well as a number of issue or cause specific sub-funds, which can be established by individuals as a vehicle for their philanthropy.

What the client brief to us was/ community partners’ needs

Perpetual Guardian were interested in exploring high impact philanthropy through their managed trusts.  They wanted to pilot an approach with the Strathlachlan Fund (formed from a charitable trust that had been established in the 1960s to support vulnerable women), as a way of increasing their internal knowledge and capacity of high engagement grantmaking and impact-focused philanthropy. 

The Strathlachlan trust deed had been written in the 1960s and Perpetual Guardian saw an opportunity to re-design the fund’s giving focus to be more relevant in today’s context, and to reflect the intentions of the trust’s founders who had been committed to social justice and addressing the causes of vulnerability for marginalised women.  PG’s intentions were to test a model of giving that could potentially inform philanthropic practice across the 550+ trusts that they manage.

What our response was

Through a series of workshops, CSI co-designed a new theory of change and funding framework for the Strathlachlan Fund, which targeted a greater focus on innovation approaches, early intervention initiatives, and prioritisations of good practices to support outcomes for women – including tw0-generation approaches, and a focus on access to employment and education.

This resulted in the design of a new ‘high-engagement’ fund, which seeks to achieve significant outcomes for vulnerable women by investing in fewer, larger grants, over multiple years, through a high engagement approach.

The progress

In early 2016, the new high engagement fund was launched by PG with support from CSI.  CSI supported PG to assess applications and undertake a readiness assessment of the shortlisted applicant, Maclaren Park Henderson South Community Initiative (MPHS).  CSI further provided capacity support to MPHS to develop their project and draw up a business plan for their proposed work – prototyping a new approach to engage hard-to-reach, vulnerable women in the local community and connect them to community-based support services.

Outcomes / impacts 

Through this work, CSI:

  • Provided PG with an evidence base for effective interventions to support outcomes for vulnerable women.
  • Supported PG to develop a new strategy and theory of change for a key Fund.
  • Supported PG to pilot new models of grantmaking, with an increased focus on catalytic change/impact.
  • Enhanced the capacity of a key changemaker organisation to deliver effective outcomes for vulnerable women