History of Community Foundations of New Zealand

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Community Foundations are one of the fastest growing forms of philanthropy in the world.

Internationally, the first Community Foundation was established in Cleveland (USA) in 1914 and the movement rapidly spread across North America and to other parts of the world throughout the 20th century.

All Community Foundations start small but, in time, they become crucial changemakers in their communities.

Since 2003 the Tindall Foundation has been instrumental in growing the Community Foundation movement in New Zealand. They have undeniably helped to create here more tightly woven local communities by encouraging meaningful and personal acts of generosity among New Zealanders.

The Tindall Foundation recognised early that Community Foundations, rapidly expanding around the world, were filling a gap in local needs by offering opportunities for local donors wishing to contribute to local causes. They could see a real opportunity in connecting local people who care with causes that matter and today their support of the movement remains as strong as ever.

Community Foundations have continued to evolve in New Zealand and since 2009 there have been a number of national workshops for Trustees and management. We have been very fortunate to have learned from the expertise of Community Foundations around world, bringing experts to our shores to share their wisdom and expertise.

17 Community Foundations have now been established in New Zealand. Through the experience of other international foundations, the need to establish a national body to support regional foundations was identified.

In 2013 Community Foundations of New Zealand was established and has been run by a volunteer Board of Trustees ever since. In 2017 we appointed our very first Executive Officer to help to steer the ship and assist in growing our Foundations, their capability and their role in community transformation.

It is exciting to see the growth in the funds under management of all of our Foundations, but more importantly, it is inspiring to see the difference they are really starting to make in their local communities. We are seeing local people who care becoming real changemakers in their communities.

We are continuing to expand with early discussions going on still in a few communities about starting up a new Community Foundation. Two new Community Foundations launched in 2018, in Queenstown and the Clutha District, and Te Awa Community Foundation launched in April 2019.

Our coverage of New Zealand is not complete but we are working on that! Our history is still being written.


Locate your nearest Community Foundation