The Acorn Foundation acts as our Funding Manager in the Bay of Plenty region (excluding Rotorua and Taupo districts), in the Programme Area of Supporting Families and Social Services.
The charitable trust was formed in 2003 and is a community foundation. As well as Tindall Foundation Funding, Acorn distributes other funds that come from people around the region who choose to support their community through endowment. This funding model is unique in that it allows local donors to ‘give where they live’ and support the community for current and future generations.
Operations Manager, Margot McCool tells us about her experience as a Tindall Foundation Funding Manager and what she loves about her job.
- How long has your organisation been working in this role as Tindall Foundation Funding Manager?
We are celebrating our 12th year as Funding Manager this year.
- What is involved in your role of Tindall Foundation Funding Manager?
Promoting the availability of The Tindall Foundation funding to groups in the Western and Eastern Bay of Plenty, and then allocating the funds in accordance with the Foundation’s funding criteria, as part of the Acorn Foundation’s own funding round. Also, identifying those groups that we feel might benefit from some capacity building support to enhance the work they are doing.
- How do you work with The Tindall Foundation and the wider community in this role?
We identify the most pressing issues in our community through our Vital Signs research, which takes a snapshot of the health of our region across 12 key sectors, and then prioritise those sectors most in need of support. This establishes where we need to focus our Acorn Foundation funding, and it is complementary to The Tindall Foundation’s funding that we allocate at the same time. The Foundation has, for the past 3 years, also provided capacity building support to selected groups, which has been hugely valuable to them.
- How would you describe your organisation’s relationship with The Tindall Foundation?
Being able to give away money (on behalf of The Tindall Foundation, but under our own “brand” as well) right from the beginning has been hugely advantageous to Acorn in getting our message out to the community, before we had any funds of our own to give away. The Foundation’s support provides credibility with professional advisors, community groups and the general public – and this credibility is vital to the successful establishment of community foundations. The Tindall Foundation’s ongoing support for the Community Foundation “industry” in New Zealand is also hugely valuable, as we see real growth across the country, in the number of community foundations and the donations we are receiving
- Approximately, now many organisations would you support a year using Tindall Foundation funds?
- How much money approximately does this equate to each year?
- What is the maximum amount you would give to an organisation from this fund?
- In your role you must work with charities and philanthropic organisations, what do you enjoy about working in this sector?
Without doubt it is seeing the incredible generosity both of spirit and financially that we witness all the time. There are so many amazing people working in the public benefit sector – they are the most positive, hard-working, and friendly people you could hope to meet. Likewise, the people who have come aboard as Acorn Foundation donors are truly inspirational – the vast majority are ordinary people, but they are doing an extraordinary thing by choosing to provide for future generations in our region, through gifting either in their Wills or their lifetimes, – and often both.
- Community Foundations/your organisation is quite unique, what do you enjoy about your role?
The fact that we are able to connect generous people who care with causes that really matter and the fact the impact will be enduring. We are delighted to be leading the charge for community foundations in New Zealand, and being part of a movement that will do so much good in the future. I may be long gone from the staff at Acorn when our efforts to date come to fruition, but it is really gratifying to know that our region will be a better place because we have ignited a passion in our donors to support the region in this way.
- You are in a job where giving back to the community is central to what you do, what do you get out of the job personally?
I truly can’t imagine a better job! Seeing how much pleasure our donors get from knowing they are making a difference is an amazing feeling. Also, I’ve been on the other side of the fence filling out funding applications, and I know how hard it can be for organisations to just cover their own salaries sometimes. To be in a position where we can create genuine sustainability for these groups, through endowment, is really empowering for them and very satisfying for us. Everybody wins – you can’t beat that.