The Auckland Foundation is hunting more than 100 female philanthropists prepared to dip into their pockets for its new Women's Fund, which would help bankroll a range of community-orientated initiatives.

The foundation says female donors are more likely to donate more often and more generously.

Auckland Foundation chief executive Dellwyn Stuart is launching a Women's Fund. Photo / Nick Reed
Auckland Foundation chief executive Dellwyn Stuart is launching a Women's Fund. Photo / Nick Reed

Chief executive Dellwyn Stuart had the idea after continuously coming across women wanting to help others. She looked at research from America that found women were giving more, and more often, at every age level.

"It was most distinguished in the baby-boomer age group. Women give 90 per cent more than men in that age group.

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"It's been attributed to women having a more altruistic, empathetic style. Being socialised as a girl means emphasis is placed on caring, putting others before us and focusing on others' well-being.

"Men see money as a sign of success and achievement. Women see it as personal security, freedom and a way to achieve goals.

"These are trends not absolutes."

Successful business woman Erica Crawford is encouraging a fund to support women. Photo / Supplied
Successful business woman Erica Crawford is encouraging a fund to support women. Photo / Supplied

The Women's Fund is looking for members who can contribute more than $20 a month or make a one-off donation. The money will be split between creating an endowment to ensure longevity of the fund and producing annual grants, which will be given to causes decided on by the members.

Successful businesswoman Erica Crawford, who is behind Kim Crawford and Loveblock Wines, is keen to donate. And she felt the philanthropic project was something other women would naturally gravitate towards.

"There is greater poverty among women. A foundation like this that gives a leg up or a hand up to women in need would be invaluable.

"Women are struggling, there's the whole accommodation thing, women take time off work to bring up their children. But it's not easy."

Stuart's goal is to get 50 members by the fund's launch in November and 100 by March next year. Men are also welcome to donate and are likely to benefit from some of the grants as well, Stuart said.

"Around 85 per cent of single parent households are led by women, those suffer the highest levels of deprivation.

"Women are essentially the face of poverty. A third suffer domestic violence and a quarter suffer from sexual violence. They still shoulder the majority of unpaid work in the household.

"This fund is for anyone who wants to see women's lives and potential realised."

There are more than 150 Women's Funds around the world.

Stuart believed they were becoming increasingly relevant as women are wealthier than ever because of swelling financial independence. This would only increase as the great transference of wealth from the baby boomers occurs.

"It's a logical thing for us [the Auckland Foundation] to do foster, celebrate and encourage women as philanthropists and generous people in our community."

An increase could be because more women are in the workforce and have disposable income, and women having a higher tendency to be altruistic, University of Auckland Associate Professor of Development Studies Yvonne Underhill-Sem said.

"But the notion that altruism is hardwired into particular genders is highly problematic.

"In humans altruism is much more of a socialised behaviour so [we] need to appreciate that people who are more involved in caregiving - for example a parent, grandparent, nephew, or engaged neighbour - is more likely to be generous in supporting others.

"And keep in mind that in the past women caregivers have long donated their time to charities and community activities - and they still do."

Contact Dellwyn Stuart on dellwyn@aucklandfoundation.org.nz to find out more.