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Leading in a crisis, Amy Carter CEO of The Christchurch Foundation

Amy Carter joins Purposely Podcast to share her founder story launching The Christchurch Foundation.

Amy understands what it’s like to lead in a time of crisis. Amy shares the issues she dealt with and the emotions she experienced along the way. However, moments of doubt, sleepless nights did not knock her enthusiasm, she maintained her focus and sense of purpose to see her through the tough times.

In 2011, Amy was a business owner when disaster struck. The Christchurch earthquake killed 185 people and permanently changed the physical and social landscape of the city she lived in. It affected her view on philanthropy and shaped her focus on what the city needed. This eventually led her to set up the Christchurch Foundation in 2017.

The foundation went on to play an instrumental role in raising $13 million to respond to the 2019 terrorist attack on twos Mosques that killed 51 people. The worst terrorist atrocity ever in New Zealand and with hundreds of lives changed forever The Christchurch Foundation was under immense pressure to get it right. To facilitate the right kind of response that was ‘led by the victim’s needs’ and helping people both in the immediate aftermath and to this day and beyond. Amy has also been at the centre of a media storm that criticised her salary and took issue with elements of the charity and how it has operated. Criticism that Amy points as unfair and based on a lack of understanding of the community foundation model and the role they play in facilitating and encouraging place-based giving.

One of the most respected philanthropy leaders in New Zealand, Amy is bold in her approach, and is not afraid to disrupt the status quo and tread her own path. Her new focus is to tap into the generosity of Cantabrians (a term used to describe people from the Canterbury region of NZ) living abroad with the launch of a UK based entity.

This move was about building on their core focus to make it easier for people to give to the causes within Christchurch that they care about whether they live locally or not. They are a donor-led organisation rather than cause-led. That means that they act on behalf of the generous person or business who wants to give, matching them to causes that share their ethics, values, and desired outcomes. They are one of 17 community foundations in New Zealand with a total endowment of over $200 million focused on doing good both today and in the future.

Amy’s career has seen her working or volunteering for some of New Zealand's iconic charitable organisations including Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand, Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, and St John. She has always been heavily involved in the Canterbury community and has sat on boards at University of Canterbury Students Association, The Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce and Sumner Lifeboat.


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