The Community Investment Funding Panel

Chris Ward

chris wardChris is the Group Manager Community Services at Nelson City Council and has responsibility for Community Partnerships, Libraries, Communications, and Governance and Support Services. He has worked at the Council for nine years and is committed to helping grow the capacity of the community sector in Nelson. He sees the Community Investment Fund as a key tool for making this happen.

Chris is a registered foster parent and enjoys tramping, kayaking and making the occasional noise on his guitar.

Previously Chris was Executive Director of a regional environmental education charity in Scotland, promoting environmental sustainability including home composting, enviroschools and real nappy use.

Susan Hawthorne

susan hawthorneMy involvement in the CIF panel began with being asked by community representatives at the Community and Whanau Network meetings to consider putting my name forward. At the time I was newly retired from a career in teaching, social work and psychotherapy and was very open to finding ways of contributing to the wellbeing of community social services. From my experience in both paid and unpaid work in Nelson for over forty years, I know how vital it is to have this sector as well functioning as possible and I valued the chance to contribute to this. I grew up in Tolaga Bay in a predominantly Maori culture and have lived in Samoa for several years, both of which helped to shape my values and beliefs. My ideals dictate as equal a sharing of resources as we can manage across the entire community.

Rachel Saunders

rachel saundersI have always done volunteer work in my community and, having been privileged to be the programme director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson-Tasman, have been keen to contribute my time to further supporting organisations in our community. My experience in running a charity as well as many years of teaching and in the education field have given me a strong insight into the needs in our community. I look forward to using my skills and knowledge to continue to help make a difference in our region. 

I am a very active person with a strong golf addiction! I enjoy running, biking and the gym as well as reading and gardening and travelling. One of my favourite things is being a Big Sister and mentoring throughBig Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson-Tasman!

Katy Steele

katy steeleKaty Steele has worked extensively in the community sector throughout her working career, which has included General Manager of the Nelson Environment Centre and most recently Manager of Volunteer Nelson. She is currently having a Gap Year during which she is assisting, in a voluntary capacity, in the establishment of local affordable transport solutions for people with disabilities and over 60. 

In a volunteer capacity, Katy has assisted with climate change, Transition Nelson, and sustainable transport projects. She has been a volunteer in governance roles for many years at local and national levels and is currently Chairperson of Adult Learning Support. She was also a judge at the Nelson/Tasman Trustpower Community Awards for two years.  

Graeme Thomas

graeme thomasI am a retired Accountant with 50 years’ experience volunteering in a variety of Not for Profit organisations, often as treasurer.

In 2007- 2010 I was a Nelson City Councillor, chairing the Governance Committee at a time when all councillors were involved in distributing community grants.

As well as being a member of the Community Investment Funding panel, I currently serve as chair of the government’s Community Response Forum, Chair the local GOGS committee, I’m a Rotarian and am actively involved on the executive teams of a number of other organisations, giving me a broad understanding of a wide range of community needs.