" Pay it Forward"

By Grant Bowie | Posted: Thursday March 22, 2018

Recently I asked significant OBHS Foundation contributor, Grant Bowie (1971-1975); why he gave so generously to the Foundation.

Pay it forward and discover this honourable mission of educational philanthropy” 

Pay it forward. You may have seen the movie but somewhere between my 18th and 40th birthday I started to understand that we all can make a difference and pay it forward.

Like so many of us in New Zealand I knew that I wanted the overseas experience and having come up trumps, my OE started when I was offered the opportunity to work in the US. From that day forward my life has been to work for US corporations around the world. During this 40 year odyssey my trips back to New Zealand have allowed me to see the significant transformation that globalisation has forced on New Zealand. Gone is the expectation that Government will financially support the population from cradle to grave.

And like I saw in the US, people need to take responsibility for themselves and therefore those with wealth get ahead and those that don’t are at a disadvantage.

But deep down that is not in the New Zealand psyche. We Kiwi’s still believe that money alone should not determine all, but rather the quality of the individual nurtured by the community is what we stand for.

In the US the support of the alumni, those who were nurtured from the capital of others, commit and reinvest back into their schools and in turn pay it forward for the new generations. This commitment to philanthropy is second nature in the US, but for New Zealand, while we have acquired some of the US traits we are still to discover this honourable mission of educational philanthropy.

Of all the things that I have learned from my travels this is the one that I have sought to adopt and give back to. To the School above the City that I believe gave me the support, encouragement and knowledge that allowed me to compete in business on the global stage. And for that reason I have and am prepared to contribute to the Foundation.

For me this contribution will never help me or anyone in my family, but that doesn’t change the fact that other sons, brothers, cousins and friends will benefit from the opportunity I have to pay it forward and at the same time it adds value to my life as much as to those who are to come.

Yes we in New Zealand don’t currently have the history of educational giving as is the way in the US but if we start now then the generations to come will, and our Otago Boys High School will be producing the quality citizens of tomorrow as it has been for the last 155 years.

Without our support our young men will not be prepared for the challenges of our global future. So let us support this transformation and support our school.