About Community Foundations of Aotearoa NZ

Community Foundations of Aotearoa NZ is the national body supporting and uniting all of the regional Community Foundations across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our aim is for strong communities, supporting our tūrangawaewae - our place - and building communities where everyone belongs and thrives.

We help kiwis affect lasting change wherever their home or heart may be; we believe in empowering and enabling every New Zealander so that they can make a lasting difference in their local community.

We’ve been growing as a network since 2003. Find out more about our history below.

Image showing parents and kids playing sack race in a park

The collective good.

Through New Zealand's Community Foundations over $60 million has been granted to New Zealand communities in the past 5 years and today we have over $240 million invested in endowment funds for the future. Furthermore, we have hundreds of anticipated bequests adding up to many millions of dollars yet to be invested for future community transformation. With our invested endowment fund model protecting the original gifts, the potential good these gifts can do for the future is boundless.

P75876 CFNZ website 19m

Granted to New Zealand communities in the past year

P75876 CFNZ website 240m

Invested in managed endowment funds

P75876 CFNZ website 1510

Number of grants made to local communities in the past year

P75876 CFNZ website 650

Number of committed bequests for future endowment funds

"Community Foundations have a core ethos of effective funding. They understand the particular challenges our communities face and know where funding should be directed to achieve the greatest possible good".

Dame Cindy Kiro 1 3 Our Patron, The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand
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Our history:

Community Foundations have been growing as a movement across New Zealand since 2003. But the idea that a group of people can invest their money for the good of their local area has been around for over a hundred years.


Internationally, the first Community Foundation was established in Cleveland, USA. The movement rapidly spread across North America and to other parts of the world throughout the 20th century. It’s a global movement, one of the fastest growing forms of philanthropy in the world today, popular with people passionate about collectively making a difference for their local community and leaving a local legacy.


The Wellington Regional Community Foundation (today Nikau Foundation) is established to build an endowment fund for the region.


Acorn Foundation is established for the Western Bay of Plenty region, and the first personal endowment fund, the Edna Brown Fund, is launched. Advance Ashburton Community Foundation is launched for Mid-Canterbury.


Community Foundations are established in Northland, Rotorua & Taupo, Hawke's Bay, Nelson, Eastern Bay of Plenty, South Canterbury and Auckland.


Momentum Waikato Community Foundation is launched. The collective of Community Foundations meets in Wellington and agrees to establish Community Foundations of NZ, to support regional foundations.


Community Foundations of NZ is registered with Charities Services, initially run by volunteer Board. Community Foundations are established in Gisborne and Taranaki.


The Tindall Foundation and Craigs Investment Partners come on board as funding partners for the national organisation. Community Foundations of NZ appoints our very first staff member (Executive Officer). The Christchurch Foundation is launched.


Community Foundations are established in Wakatipu, Clutha District, and the Horizons Region.


Bill Holland, Sir Stephen Tindall and Neil Craig are appointed as founding Ambassadors.


Miriama Kamo is appointed as an Ambassador. The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor-General of New Zealand, is appointed as our first Patron. Fonterra joins our strategic partnership family.


Southland Foundation is launched.


Today, there are Community Foundations covering most regions of Aotearoa NZ. While around 90% of New Zealanders can give through their local Community Foundation, our coverage is not quite complete and our history is still being written....

“Giving through a Community Foundation is a kaitiaki role for society – we can all play a part in being guardians for New Zealand’s future."

Adrian Orr Adrian Orr, Governor of the Reserve Bank of NZ, Te Pūtea Matua

Why community foundations? Sir Stephen Tindall talks about the generosity of kiwis and the joy of giving