• purposelypodcast

Passionate about philanthropy and helping people to give effectively


Cheryl Spain, CEO of The Gift Trust, joined Purposely Podcast to share her organisations founder story at the same time sharing her expertise on giving and philanthropy.


The Gift Trust is a New Zealand based donor advised fund focused on helping generous and wealthy donors to give effectively and ensure better outcomes for the people and causes they help.

Cheryl has spent a large part of her professional career in the UK and we discuss the differences between the UK and NZ charity sectors as well as touching on her passion for community action and how her work with Groundwork, a federation of charities focused on positively impacting the environment and people of Hertfordshire.


"I fell in love with the UK, fell in love with my husband, which helped as well, who was a Brit, and ended up staying over there for a very long time, having a couple of kids and then came back to New Zealand."


We also shine a light on what constitutes 'effective philanthropy' and Cheryl provides some insights as well as examples of how a successful donor advised fund works;


"We try and connect the right donors with the right charitable organizations. On the face of it giving should be an easy task, however, once people start giving and at quite a high level, people find it's not as easy as they thought it would be in the first place. We exist to help donors to give more effectively and have a bigger impact and as easily as possible."


Cheryl also talks about the rich history of The Gift Trust; The Gift Trust has been operating since 2009 and started when a generous family who had immigrated from the USA to New Zealand were looking for an independent ‘donor-advised-fund’ in NZ and found that there wasn’t a national version here. They started a conversation with some of their early trustees and this grew into the development of The Gift Trust. Until January 2015 they operated under the name ‘Prometheus Gift Trust’. The Gift Trust was previously an independent member of the Prometheus family which included Prometheus Finance Ltd – a specialist in social finance, providing Kiwis with ethical and sustainable savings and loan choices. In 2014, Prometheus closed its doors, but The Gift Trust continues in its own right and is now run completely independently.