Five years on from its inception NEXT has great life and spirit, driven by the wonderful initiatives and leaders it has invested in – and the substantial improvement they have already contributed to the land and people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

NEXT will build on the knowledge and experience gained from it’s first five years to create an even bigger impact in the next five – the final push of it’s ten-year life. The objective remains the same – discovering passionate, inspirational leaders and their projects, supporting them financially and non-financially, watching them grow and develop to a point where they are standing independently from NEXT, and enabling them to make a transformational impact in their area of the environment or education.

There is also a wider objective – developing strategic philanthropy in New Zealand. The country is a relative newcomer to that concept, but I believe we are close to an exciting inflection point.

New Zealanders have always been generous, often in contributing to charities through small dollar amounts, and through significant personal time and energy committed to community projects. Strategic philanthropy differs in that it takes a longer-term approach, and focuses more on “not just giving people fish, but also teaching them how to fish”. It generally requires more funding, a longer timeframe, and an institutional structure.

Fortunately there is a new wave of wealthy New Zealanders looking to give back. They are reaching an age and stage when they are interested in contributing to the country that provided them with their opportunities. What is needed is a pathway for those individuals and families to channel their generosity. One of NEXT’s objectives is to build a successful example of that, and to make all its learnings available to anyone who wants them.

Five years on, NEXT is creating institutional knowledge that is world class, and open to all. Hopefully others will take advantage of that, do it their way, and New Zealand will see many more “NEXTs” in the future.

And what of NEXT after its ten-year life has run? We are working on what we have learned from NEXT, and how we ourselves can grow from that. Watch this space!