Who we are
The Acorn Foundation is one of 17 community foundations across Aotearoa New Zealand that provide a unique way of charitable giving.
Our Smarter Giving Model involves pooling and collectively investing our donors’ funds, so that the capital in the fund remains intact, while a portion of the income is distributed annually to the local community. This means that our donors’ gifts continue to give back to causes close to their hearts, forever.
Many of our 400+ donors have set up endowments that leave money to the community when they die, while other donors get a lot of pleasure out of seeing their money at work while they are still alive. Donors can choose to support the community through local charitable organisations in the WBOP or by establishing scholarships and awards.
The Acorn Foundation has been connecting generous people with causes that matter in the Western Bay of Plenty region since 2003.
Acorn Foundation’s first ever endowment fund was gifted by the late Edna Brown in 2003. 20 years later, we now have over $56M in funds under management and have collectively distributed over $13M to the community, with over $3M distributed in 2022 alone. This funding has supported hundreds of charitable organisations that are important to our donors and are vital to our region’s well-being.
Edna Brown leaves Acorn’s first endowment fund and the Acorn Foundation is established with Bill Holland as Chair.
The Colin Toop Fund, in memory of Patricia and Clive Toop, sees Acorn’s fund pass $1M in investments.
Tauranga HELP Trust transfers their assets to Acorn as the Tauranga HELP Fund
Acorn has distributed over $200,000 to charities and community groups in the BOP.
The Page Acorn Scholarships for engineering apprentices are launched, thanks to donors Bob and Pat Page.
Acorn reaches 100 donor funds and celebrates the milestone with an event featuring John Key as keynote speaker.
Sally Morrison replaces Bill Holland as Chair.
Fund count grows quickly, with 172 endowment funds and $6.7M invested.
Acorn celebrates 10 years by establishing the Acorn Foundation Memorial Oak Grove to honour donors who have died.
Glenn Keaney takes over from Sally Morrison as Acorn Chair; the fund reaches $10M.
Acorn launches New Zealand’s first Vital Signs® research to better understand our community’s needs.
The first Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize is awarded at the NZ Book Awards to Stephen Daisley.
Acorn has now supported more than 200 local charities in the WBOP.
Acorn celebrates its 15th birthday; meanwhile, the fund passes $20M with 300 donor funds.
The fund reaches $30M in investments and distributes over $1M to the community for the first time. Lesley Jensen replaces Glenn Keaney as Chair.
Acorn collaborates with other local funders to establish the WBOP COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.
Acorn distributes more than $2M to the community this year, taking collective distributions since inception to over $10M.
Acorn acquires 30 new donor funds this year and distributes a further $3 million to the community.
To make an enduring difference in our community by connecting generous people who care with causes that matter.
We are trustworthy
We are empathetic
We are respectful
We are committed
We are prudent
A thriving and vibrant Western Bay of Plenty, for all our people and for our natural environment.
“Establishing an endowment fund is like having your own charitable trust without all the hassle. It enables clients to focus on their giving and the causes that they care about, and it enables them to give for the long-term.”
– Bill Holland, Founder of Acorn Foundation and Consultant at Holland Beckett Law
“Many people have philanthropic aspirations and the Acorn Foundation provides a simple model to enable them to realise those – forever. I look forward to watching Acorn’s momentum continue to build in the future.”
– Matt Tustin, Partner, Cooney Lees Morgan
We’re part of a network of 17 Community Foundations that have been growing across Aotearoa New Zealand since 2003.
Through our national body, Community Foundations of New Zealand, we’re all working to make a lasting difference in our local communities. Our aim is for every New Zealander to be able to affect lasting change wherever their home or heart may be.
In the past 5 years, collectively we have granted more than $50M to communities across the country and today, we have over $200M invested in endowment funds for the future. With hundreds of bequests yet to be invested, and our smarter giving model protecting the original gifts, the potential good we can do in future is huge.
There are 16 other Community Foundations in our network operating in locations across New Zealand. You can find out more information about each of them and links to their websites here. The concept of pooling and investing charitable donations for the good of a local area has been a global movement for over a hundred years now.
It works for everyday people because you don’t have to be wealthy to make an impact. Find out how your gift can make a difference through our Smarter Giving Model.
Learn more about our impact
Find out how Acorn is making a difference.
Learn about who we’ve helped
Find out how to make your charitable giving go further
Learn about our donors
Meet the community-minded people changing lives.
Learn about our people
Meet the Acorn whānau
Keep up to date with your community news in The Acorn, our official newsletter.