Acorn Foundation announces more than $3M in donations for 2022


Acorn’s incredible donors have allowed this region’s local community foundation to distribute more
than $3M to 213 charitable organisations and scholarship and award programmes this year. The total,
just announced, represents a nearly 50% increase on last year’s donations and covers the geography
of the Western Bay of Plenty, the Eastern Bay of Plenty on behalf of The Tindall Foundation, and other
locations important to Acorn’s donors.

2022 is the first time that the foundation’s distributions have reached $3M after just passing $2M for
the first time last year. Acorn’s cumulative gifts to the community since its founding in 2003 now
exceed $13M, and with funds under management approaching $60M, Acorn’s donors will be making
a significant impact on the Western Bay of Plenty region for decades to come.

According to Acorn CEO, Lori Luke, locals contribute to the community through Acorn in a variety of
ways: via a gift in a Will, living gifts, resettlements of family or community trusts, regular giving into
Community Group funds, as a member of a Giving Circle or Workplace Giving programme, through a
corporate gift to designated charities, or as TECT beneficiaries who donate their rebates to the Acorn
Vital Impact Fund. Each September, the foundation distributes its endowment fund grants to the
community, while pass-through giving and scholarship and award granting take place all year long.

“The Acorn team truly have the best jobs around. Due to the generosity of our donors, we are able to
support the true heroes from all types of organisations – those that are well-known and those that do
amazing work under the radar. The groups that Acorn supports love reading about their donors’
stories; it becomes quite a personal gift for them.”

On learning of Acorn’s $12,500 donation to the Royal NZ Plunket Trust-WBOP, Sarah Elliott said, “We
look forward to receiving the information about Tony Woodman and Joan Chappell-Mathias, the
generous donors who have made this grant possible so we can share it with the team. We are so
grateful for the Acorn Foundation’s support of our work in the community.”

Scholarships and awards make up over $500,000 of the Acorn Foundation’s total giving this year,
including substantial support for the arts through the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, the FAME
(Fund for Acting and Musical Endeavours) Trust awards, the Christine Tustain Classical Music Award,
the Acorn Foundation Coker Classical Art Award, and the Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Award. Adult
learners can apply for four awards at the University of Waikato, Tauranga campus and secondary
students are able to access Dale Carnegie Youth Programme Scholarships and Outward Bound
Scholarships while in school. There are a range of award programmes for school leavers, including
Page/Acorn Engineering Scholarships for apprentices and nearly a dozen University scholarships
found at local colleges and high schools.

Aligned with the May launch of Acorn’s Western Bay of Plenty Vital Signs® Youth 2022 Report, this
year’s donations include significant support for local rangatahi. Many generous donors, including the
late Roy and Mary McGowan, have collectively earmarked $300,000 in distributions from their
endowment funds to organisations working for the well-being of the region’s young people. An
anonymous local family has added a significant pass-through gift to magnify Acorn’s impact in this
critical area.

According to Craig Nees, founder of Bay of Plenty Youth Development Trust, the $50,000 received from
Acorn for youth-directed funding will be well spent. “This support will enable us to employ for a very
strategic role that will support other organisations working with youth and ourselves. The new dual
role will serve as the Lead Facilitator for the Piritahi Youth Collective and the front desk face at Youth
Central reception so we can expand our services as a Youth Hub in the BOP.”

Many community organisations around New Zealand are currently facing the end of extra central
government funding that was granted during the COVID emergency in 2020 and 2021. For Blue Light
Ventures, the conclusion of their funding from the Provincial Growth Fund has meant the loss of
financial support to help young people get their driver’s license.

Wendy Robertson and the team at Blue Light are thrilled with the $30,000 grant from Acorn. “We have
already been in touch with our school point of contacts about registering new students to take
advantage of these Acorn-funded spots. It will come as no surprise to the donors how much this is
needed in our semi-rural communities where they have no public transport.”

In addition to Acorn’s grants being distributed to the community in September, this month also marks
Wills Month, when community foundations around New Zealand partner with local law firms to
promote the benefits of supporting the community in a will. Fourteen firms in the Western Bay of
Plenty are offering to include a gift to the region through Acorn in their clients’ existing wills at no
cost. Lori says, “Wills Month is the perfect time for locals who are thinking about setting up an
endowment fund with Acorn to organise their wishes. Endowment funds – whether gifts come via an
estate bequest or via living giving- are invested in perpetuity with a portion of the investment income
used to support local causes each year. We appreciate our law firm partners’ help in making it simple
for other locals to join in on the Acorn Foundation’s efforts to build thriving communities in our

A full list of the Acorn Foundation’s 2022 Distributions is included with this Press Release.
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