Our Team

The staff and trustees of The Gift Trust are skilled professionals from across New Zealand, each bringing expertise and knowledge to support our work.

Cheryl Spain

Executive Director

Cheryl manages and oversees The Gift Trust. She has over 25 years experience in the non-profit sector, in New Zealand and the UK. She was inspired to work in the sector from an early age by her twin passions for social justice and environmental issues. She loves helping donors and charities to make more good happen in the world!

Cheryl started her career in NZ but lived and worked for 20 years overseas – in England for 17 years and initially in Japan for 3 years. Before joining The Gift Trust she worked for a range of charities in fundraising, senior management and project development roles. Cheryl has worked for environmental causes such as Friends of the Earth UK and Groundwork Hertfordshire, arts organisation the South Bank Centre and international development organisation ActionAid.

Cheryl loves spending time with her young tamariki, hanging out in nature, enjoying Wellington’s rich cultural life and walking her puppy.

Learn more about Cheryl on Linkedin here or a recent Podcast on Ma Earth here.

Yvonne Trask

Development and Engagement Lead

Yvonne is the Development and Engagement Lead for The Gift Trust. She is responsible for spreading the word about The Gift Trust and attracting more donors, to make more good happen.

Yvonne has spent the last eleven years at Philanthropy New Zealand where she spent her days connecting people, hosting events and convening conversations to support better giving. She made the move to The Gift Trust to continue her work in engaging people for great impact. She is a passionate advocate of giving to support equity.

Yvonne is an avid reader and dog walker with years of experience in both.

Jackson is the Operations Coordinator for The Gift Trust. He is responsible for running and improving the systems that make our good happen.

Jackson’s professional experience is in graphic design, working for a learning and development consultancy and as a freelancer, before moving in to the for-purpose space.

Jackson’s governance experience is in youth and community development, as a member of the Wellington City Youth Council, the Tawa Technology Education Trust, and as Deputy Chair of the Tawa Community Board. His experiences in these roles led him to set up and chair the Wellington Youth Events Society Incorporated, a registered charity which supports rangatahi to develop themselves and help their communities through organising great events.

Jackson enjoys cooking, playing guitar and piano, and solving problems. He uri ia nō Te Tauihu o Te-Waka-a-Māui.

Chloe Spedding

Programme Coordinator, Gift Collective

Chloe is the Programme Coordinator for Gift Collective, The Gift Trust’s fundholding service for startup charitable initiatives.

Chloe began her journey into the community sector with Literacy Aotearoa, helping adults up-skill in literacy and numeracy. She is pleased to continue to do work that can have a positive impact on society, as Programme Coordinator for Gift Collective.

Chloe’s other passion is dance, and alongside this job, she is Director of Move It Danceworks, a dance school in South Wellington. She enjoys teaching tap and jazz to children and teens, putting on concerts, and her volunteer work as President of the Upper Hutt Competition Society.

Our Trustees

John Prendergast


John Prendergast has a wealth of philanthropic knowledge, having helmed the Community Trust of Southland for two decades. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in public practice accountancy and finance roles in New Zealand and the UK. He was the recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2015, through which he researched philanthropic leadership and social impact investment. He joined the board of The Gift Trust in 2021, and became Chair in 2023.

He lives in Masterton, where he is CEO of Trust House, a community-owned social housing provider and hospitality business operator.

Alanna Irving


Alanna Irving builds open source tools and communities for radical participation and collaboration, especially through the medium of money.

She is COO of Open Collective, a platform for transparent funding and fiscal sponsorship, and leads its sister entities Open Source Collective, Open Collective Foundation, and Open Collective NZ. She previously co-founded social enterprise startups Enspiral (network of social entrepreneurs), Loomio (collaborative decision-making), and Cobudget (participatory budgeting), and was Executive Officer of NZ YWCA. Alanna is co-author of the book Better Work Together and speaks and writes as a thought leader about bossless leadership.

Read more about Alanna on her Linkedin.

Annette Culpan


Annette Culpan has a background in business, philanthropy and the for-purpose space.

Annette is a Special Projects Manager at The Tindall Foundation; and is the author of various NEXT Foundation publications, including the NEXT Stories, and Lifting our Aspirations. Annette managed the Vodafone NZ Foundation for nine years and led the development of the high engagement approach; was on the design working group for the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum; sits on the Board of Directors for Philanthropy NZ; and was a trustee of the Grief Centre from 2015 to 2018. She volunteered at Youthline for over ten years and is passionate about advocating for the rights of those less privileged.

Read more about Annette on her Linkedin.

Simone Robbers


Simone Robbers is Assistant Governor and General Manager of Governance, Strategy and Corporate Relations at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua.

She is responsible for the Bank’s strategic planning and performance function, communications, legal, risk and audit teams, and the Board secretariat. Simone is also responsible for leading and co-ordinating bank-wide strategies including climate change, Te Ao Māori and South Pacific remittances. Simone brings with her a wealth of public and private sector experience. Simone is also a member of the Leadership Group of Toitū Tahua, the Centre for Sustainable Finance.

Hana Maihi


Hana brings with her a wealth of private, public, philanthropic sector experience alongside a 10 year background serving education and community-led organisations. She is a current member of the Foundation North board, the Institute of Directors, She has overseen and been responsible for the development and coordination of strategy with a focus on Te Ao Māori, intergenerational impact investment and risk management as well as regenerative practices within regional, national and international spheres.

Matt McCracken
(Ngāti Porou)


From Tokomaru Bay but born and raised in Whakatane Matthew (Matt) had various roles, finally finding his passion in organisations trying to make the world a better place. Having spent his O.E in London working internationally to build partnerships focused on aid and international development he moved back to Wellington and spent five and a half years as the Partnerships and Trust Manager at New Zealand Red Cross. At Red Cross he worked to develop partnerships and raised funds through grant writing that supported programmes focused on refugee resettlement, disaster risk management and community development. He is now the Grants, Partnerships and Community Engagement Lead at the JR McKenzie Trust and sits on the steering group of the Driving Change Network.