I am often asked how NEXT decides what organisations it wants to support and what areas it wants to focus on, how we think about philanthropy and what we've been learning, among other things. A number of people have suggested that we share these learnings and perspectives as we go, rather than wait until the end of our ten years. This first NEXT Stories is in part a response to those conversations.
In this first issue we have four articles, including the background story and genesis of NEXT; the thinking behind NEXT's decision to spend-down in ten years; and an exploration of strategic practices in philanthropy - where we canvas some of our peers in the sector. Their diverse experiences and stories shine a light on strategic philanthropy as an inspirational vehicle for impact.
The fourth article shares our part of the predator free New Zealand story, which is central to NEXT's work in the environmental space and demonstrates what can be achieved through strategic philanthropy. The NEXT approach to philanthropy is to support initiatives that contribute to transforming the system; to partner, convene and advocate for impact; and to be business-like and focused on learning. Being a learning organisation is key for us, it helps us strengthen practice and stay grounded. Hopefully our learning may be useful to others!
Each article in the NEXT Stories summarises how we have done things in that area (mostly told by NEXT people and partners, and in the strategic article, also by other philanthropists) and what we've been learning. This is the first issue of what will become a series, and in the long-term to be bought together as a fuller chronicle of NEXT Stories.
Thank you to everyone who has been interviewed for these articles. A special acknowledgement and thanks goes to Annette Culpan for researching and writing NEXT Stories. Annette's knowledge of and passion for philanthropy making a difference for New Zealand and New Zealanders makes her the perfect person to tell our story with interest, context and care.
Neal and Annette Plowman believe everyone with enough disposable income should contribute to the causes they care most about. We hope that by sharing the NEXT Stories, others with an interest in philanthropy and social impact may consider the difference they could make - and perhaps consider strategic philanthropy as a way for them to contribute to social and environmental change.
CEO NEXT Foundation