Stories in philanthropy

Equity Trustees’ new head of philanthropy

Nicole Richards

Jodi Kennedy brings experience and a vision for shared learnings to the leadership role at one of the country’s biggest philanthropic funders. 

“Philanthropy plays a huge role in driving better social outcomes,” says Jodi Kennedy, the newly appointed General Manager of Charitable Trusts & Philanthropy at Equity Trustees.  

“It’s able to take on board more risk which means more opportunities for innovation with what you fund and how you fund it.”

After spending 10 years at NAB where she led the community engagement team and the NAB Foundation, Jodi has stepped back into a leadership role at Equity Trustees where she will oversee a team of 16.

“I’m really aligned with the role,” Jodi says. “I feel really comfortable here—the internal culture is wonderful and the team I’ve inherited is highly skilled in this area.”

Among Jodi’s first priorities is strengthening the focus on best practice philanthropy and gathering insights that can be shared with the wider sector.

“We want Equity Trustees to invest in contributing thought leadership back into the sector and directly to our philanthropist clients,” she explains.

“We’re in a unique position because of our size and we can provide valuable insights into trends and where funds are needed across the sector.”

Sharing the results of evaluation and impact measurement is another of Jodi’s priorities.

“One of the things we haven’t been so good at in the past is evaluating all the rich data we have at our disposal so we’d like to start leveraging that data and we’ve already brought on board a Research and Evaluation Manager.”

Jodi is determined to share the findings of this research not just with existing Equity Trustees clients but with the wider philanthropic community.

“We’d like to be able to take this offering to both our clients and the wider public to say, ‘We’ve done some evaluation, here are the trends that we’re seeing and here are the things that might be useful to you when making decisions around how you structure and focus your philanthropic giving,’” Jodi says.

“It’s a fairly niche space in the Trustee business, and I think the more we’re all sharing our knowledge and expertise, the more we’re going to get strategically planned philanthropy that has a greater impact and is more collaborative.

“At the end of the day what everybody in philanthropy wants is to have as much impact as possible.

“The more we all know about who is funding what, the more we can hope to have a deeper impact and measure how effective philanthropy is being in driving social change where it’s needed.”

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