A new way forward

Lori Luke
General Manager
Acorn Foundation

3 June 2020

Acorn Foundation has the pleasure of working closely with generous locals in the Western Bay of Plenty. Many of our donors know just what causes they want to support, while others leave their money unrestricted. In normal times, the unrestricted money is fully distributed by our volunteer Distributions Committee, which is made up of well-connected, involved community members and Trustees.

In this (soon to be) post Covid-19 world, times are far from normal. Although we are in the midst of our annual business as usual funding round with distributions in August, Acorn is also very involved in a combined Western Bay of Plenty funders group. This group, which includes TECT, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council, formed in April to assist our community organisations overcome the worst of the pandemic.

The principles involved in the Rapid Response Fund included a single, simple application and guaranteed turnaround within two weeks. In reality, groups received funding in a matter of days. Funds granted through this fund are in addition to any business as usual funding, ensuring that community groups are both sustainable in the long run as well as able to meet unexpected demand.

As we move through the pandemic levels, there is a three-step process underway to address these developing needs in the WBOP:

Phase 1: Short Term response
Actions occurred as soon as the crisis emerged and lasted 8 weeks.

Phase 2: Medium Term recovery
This phase (Recovery Fund) is beginning the week of 1 June, as local organisational economic, financial and social systems are ready to be brought back online. The length of this phase will depend on the crisis but may last from 6 to 12 months.

Phase 3: Long-term resilience and reinvention
This phase needs to start once recovery is underway and there is enough stability to develop plans that ensure the region is more resilient to the next shock. We will take the opportunity to reimagine the future of not for profit service provision.

    Acorn is big enough and established enough now—17 years in existence and over $35M in funds under management—to be able to play both these roles effectively for our community. Our engaged donor group appreciates the role that we play in the Western Bay of Plenty and know that our connections to other influencers and community groups only benefit the support that we can provide to them.

    It is absolutely possible to be both donor-centric and community-involved at the same time, and for our team, it will be our way forward.

    Date Posted: 03 Jun 2020

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