The Acorn Foundation has partnered Owens Charitable Trust to take over a programme which has provided tertiary scholarships in the region for more than 25 years.
Joy and Bob Owens founded the Owens Charitable Trust in 1990 and began delivering the Joy Owens Scholarship to Tauranga Girls' College and the Owens Family Scholarship to Tauranga Boys' College in 1993.
Mount Maunganui College, Ōtūmoetai College, Te Puke High School, Bethlehem College and Aquinas College were all added by 2007, with the programme now delivering $5000 annual scholarships for three years to worthy students from each of the seven schools.
Owens Scholarship winners have always had a desire to contribute to society and to make the world a better place. Sir Robert Owens once said, "It is vital that we do not lose our sense of community and volunteering and service to each other."
The Owens Charitable Trust has long had family members and friends serve as trustees and as Scholarship Selection Committee members. Robin Owens, Mahe Drysdale and Bill Capamagian are the current trustees who have worked closely with the Acorn team to transfer the administration of the fund and the management of the scholarship programme.
Robin's sisters and brothers-in-law, Wendy and Richard Keddell and Denise and Graham Donald, are actively involved in choosing the annual recipients, and Sir Peter Trapski served as a trustee for years.
The late Judith Grainger served as the administrator from the inception of the scholarship programme through 2019.
OCT trustee Robin Owens said: "As trustees, Mahe, Bill and I very much wanted to ensure that the Bob and Joy Owens Scholarships continued on into the future providing such wonderful support for young people in the community.
"By placing the administration of these scholarships into the professional hands of the Acorn Foundation, we are ensuring that the scholarships will continue on exactly as they have always done for many years to come."
The awards will now be known as the Bob & Joy Owens Scholarships and will continue to be awarded at each school's Year 13 prizegiving at the end of the school year.
Acorn Foundation general manager Lori Luke said: "We are so pleased to be working with the Owens Charitable Trust to continue the fantastic contribution that these scholarships have made in the lives of more than a hundred young people in this region.
"We are so thankful for the foresight that Bob and Joy Owens had way back in the 1990s to set aside this money to support so many students from the Western Bay of Plenty to achieve their goals of completing tertiary study."
The Bob & Joy Owens Scholarships will be added to the many other awards that Acorn donors currently provide, including the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction, Page Acorn Engineering Apprentice Scholarships, Outward Bound, Dale Carnegie, Sports Bay of Plenty, Creative Bay of Plenty, Performing Arts, several scholarships at Waikato University and at local colleges for tertiary study, and the BOP Medical Students Scholarship.