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Humility in the face of adversity, John McCarthy

Welcome to Purposely Podcast with John McCarthy, John shares his career and life journey and his approach to giving as the Manager of the Tindall Foundation.

The Foundation was set up by Margaret and Stephen Tindall, the founders of the Warehouse Retail Group, and has donated over $200 million to good causes in New Zealand since its inception in 2004.

During the podcast, John also shares details from his past, including the tragic loss of his mother, father and sister. Despite these overwhelming challenges, John is quick to refute any idea that we should feel sorry for him, saying that he has been fortunate in many ways. He believes that his past experiences have helped him to be independent and resilient and have given him a deep desire to make a difference.

John's career has focused on social services and philanthropy, and he believes that his past experiences have helped him to empathize with other people's life experiences and challenges. As the Manager of the Tindall Foundation, John is responsible for deploying the funds earned on an annual basis from the endowment that was set up using Margaret's shares. The Foundation focuses on strengthening families and communities, as well as the environment, and uses a wide range of approaches to deploy its funds including direct donations, donations through partners and impact investing and lending.

‘The approach that we take is to try and be as collaborative and as responsive as possible. We recognise that we don't have all the answers and we're always learning from the communities and the organisations that we work with.’

John stresses how open and flexible they try to be as a funder, seeing themselves as a partner rather than just a funder. They are also focused on measuring the impact of their work, both in terms of the outputs that they achieve and the longer-term outcomes that they’re seeking to support.

‘Ultimately, our goal is to contribute to a stronger and more equitable New Zealand, and we're committed to working towards that goal in a way that is responsible, transparent, and accountable.’

John began his career as a social worker focused on improving health outcomes, primarily in Auckland but also spending time in London. Throughout his career, John has tackled challenging and sensitive issues, such as drug and alcohol addiction, as well as sexual abuse, with a particular focus on working with perpetrators. Despite the difficult nature of his work, John remains dedicated to making a positive impact in these areas, and his expertise and experience have proven invaluable in improving the lives of those affected by these issues.

Overall, John's story is one of resilience, determination, and a deep desire to make a positive impact on the world. His approach to giving is grounded in his own experiences, and he believes that everyone has the power to make a difference, no matter their past or present circumstances.


The Giving Department


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