05 Dec 2023

Newly appointed Acorn Foundation Chair

Newly appointed Acorn Foundation Chair

Newly appointed Acorn Foundation Chair – Michelle Malcolm

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our fifth Acorn Foundation Chair, Michelle Malcom. Michelle has served as Deputy Chair for the past several years and also as Chair of Acorn’s Audit, Risk and Policies Committee.

Michelle Malcolm is a Fellowship Chartered Accountant (FCA) and Business Advisor, and the founding Senior Partner of Findex Tauranga, which was established in 2000. She has held various Board Positions, including at Tourism Bay of Plenty, Wakeboarding New Zealand, Good Neighbour and Enterprise Angels. She is part of the New Zealand Leadership Team for the Business Advisory Division and head of the Findex Business Advisory Teams for Tauranga and Auckland.

Michelle has a real passion for helping her clients navigate all aspects of business challenges in the financial/business advisory space to make a difference in her clients' lives. She also loves using her skills to give back to the community to help others and to make our community a better place to live for generations to come.

Michelle is married to Sean and has two girls at Otago University.  Her interests include gardening, skiing, walking and spending time with friends and family and her new puppy Coco.

Michelle is honoured to be given the opportunity to be Chair of the Acorn Foundation.

Michelle says, “I have loved every minute of being involved with such an amazing organisation. So much good can be achieved due to our amazing donors who give us the trust with their funds to do so much good in our community – which is constantly facing many challenges in this ever-changing world. I have big shoes to fill from the amazing job our previous chairs have done and will be committed to making sure I don’t let them, or my fellow members of the board, down.”

We are excited to have Michelle become such an important part of Acorn’s journey, building a thriving and vibrant Western Bay of Plenty.  

Retiring Chair – Lesley Jensen

Lesley Jensen has been an integral part of Acorn Foundation’s success over the last eight years since she joined the Board and the Distributions Committee in 2015. Since then, she served as Deputy Chair before becoming Acorn’s Chair in 2019.

Lesley first heard about Acorn through Bill Holland who spoke at a function she attended. He shared the concept of community foundations and the idea of being able to invest the capital and distribute the investment returns to the community. Acorn Foundation piqued Lesley’s interest as she saw the potential it could have for the Western Bay of Plenty.

In her role as a Community Magistrate, Lesley often comes across people who are struggling. She could see the importance of investing in the community to make a real difference in a lot of people’s lives.

Lesley told us that some of her favourite moments from the past eight years of volunteering for Acorn included the joy of visiting and meeting with charities doing such good work around the Western Bay of Plenty.

The opportunity to join Acorn staff member Margot McCool in Canada at the 2017 Community Foundations Conference was also a highlight for Lesley. They met with several foundations around the Toronto area and were inspired by what it could mean for the potential growth of Acorn.

Over the past eight years, Lesley says she has seen people's trust in Acorn grow significantly and is proud to have been a part of such an integral organisation in the community.

“It is time to move on after eight years. You need fresh skills on the Board, and it is good to have that succession regularly. It has been a great experience; I have enjoyed working with the donors I have met and our wonderful staff and volunteers. It has been a real pleasure.”

Volunteering will continue to be a consistent feature in Lesley’s life. The Acorn team sends a big thank you to Lesley Jensen for her dedication and kind heart, and we wish her all the best for her future adventures!


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