What is a Community Foundation and how are they different from New Zealand’s Community Trusts?


Quite simply Community Foundations are growing a local fund from the generosity of local people.

In New Zealand there are several other models of Community Trusts. These include those which have come from:

  • Regional Trust Banks
  • Local Energy Trusts
  • Local Licensing Trusts

These types of Community Trusts have an existing pool of assets, which are invested on behalf of the local community.

Community Foundations are different. They are constantly growing, essentially through the generosity of local people.

As a local charitable Foundation they run a very lean and transparent model. They have to, for a very simple reason: it gives donors the confidence to give.

Worldwide research shows us that generous people will most likely donate to a model that exhibits lean operations, transparency, high integrity and demonstrates impact. Community Foundations focus on doing exactly that.

Community Foundations ensure that they charge low fees and our highly respected Boards and expert committees are all voluntary positions. Community Foundations across New Zealand have the equivalent of 23 paid staff and over 300 highly respected local volunteers providing governance, expertise and leadership.

Our work is supported by The Tindall Foundation and Philanthropy New Zealand, both of whom partner with us to help us to achieve common aims.

Our model is proven, respected and successful worldwide. It is self-sustaining after a period of growth.

Our work is building communities and strengthening the capability of the sector, transferring the wealth of the generously-minded towards community causes.

With the baby boomer generation poised to pass on by far the largest intergenerational wealth transfer the world has ever seen*, over time philanthropy channeled towards community causes will help to transform the funding landscape of New Zealand, helping to ease the pressure on other local funders.

* Intergenerational wealth transfer in Australia & New Zealand will exceed $600 billion over the next 20 years – source: Philanthropy New Zealand


How do Community Foundations work? 

Contact your local Community Foundation