Acorn Foundation funds top $50M

Roy and Mary McGowan donated to the foundation from their estate. Supplied photo.

The Acorn Foundation has reached another milestone with recent gifts propelling their funds.

The Acorn Foundation has been working in the Western Bay of Plenty region since 2003, connecting people with causes they are willing to back with charitable donations.  

Growth of nearly 50 per cent has been seen on last year, with funds under management passing $50M as of June 30.

Acorn CEO, Lori Luke, says the sharp increase in endowment funds this year is great news for the region.

“The benefit that these funds will provide to our area via Acorn’s annual distributions is so significant and it will just continue to grow,” says Lori.

“We are deeply appreciative of our fantastic donors who want to see the Western Bay of Plenty thrive.”

The increase comes after a range of estates were donated and trusts were settled throughout the year, including a significant gift from the estate of Roy and Mary McGowan last month.

Lori says Roy and Mary’s fund will provide perennial support to their chosen charities.

“CanTeen, St John Tauranga/Mt. Maunganui, organisations working in youth development, unrestricted funds to support any needs in the region, and the administrative expenses of the peak body of community foundations across the country, CFNZ, were all selected by Mary.”

The estate of Te Puke local Tony Woodman was also gifted to Acorn in June.

During his working life, Tony was employed at the paper mill outside Tokoroa and had a milk run in Whakatane.

He has left an unrestricted gift that will always be used to benefit charitable organisations in the Te Puke area.

Among other estates donated earlier in the year, a gift from Claude and Marjory Hewlett was left to support Riding for Disabled, Tauranga, where Claude was a founding member and served as president for 25 years.

Siblings Sam and Nulma Turner moved to the Mount as young children and became entrenched in the community.

Sam spent his career as an accountant, while Nulma was a legal assistant. Their fund provides support for the Starship Foundation, with 80 per cent distributing to other local charities.

“These wonderfully generous people have recognised both the need in our community, as well as the value of a perpetual fund that will keep supporting their chosen causes, forever,” says Acorn Donor and Community Engagement manager, Margot McCool.

“It’s a fantastic story all-round.”

In addition, several trusts have re-settled to Acorn to provide tertiary scholarships for Year 13 students. The Tauranga Girls’ College Trust provides scholarships to TGC students for any field of study, while the Alwyn Robert Thompson Memorial Law Scholarship and the Alwyn Robert Thompson Memorial Veterinary Scholarship is each open to applicants from TBC, TGC and Otumoetai College.

Whilst Acorn Foundation is well-known as the Western Bay of Plenty’s community foundation where generous locals can leave a gift in a will, Lori says the emergence of new ways to give allows Acorn donors to support our community in all sorts of ways.

“We have workplace giving at Craigs Investment Partners and KPMG, corporate giving from Cooney Lees Morgan, NumberWorks’nWords, ASB Tauranga (inclusive of Bayfair/Papamoa) and others, along with Giving Circles, regular giving to Community Group funds and locals who choose to donate their TECT rebate to the Acorn Vital Impact Fund.

“The most exciting thing is that with the range of giving models Acorn now offers, individuals and businesses can choose the method they like best to support our region.”

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