Tauranga lawyer Bill Holland has tonight been presented with one of five Tindall Foundation awards for outstanding contribution to the local community.

The awards were given out by the Tindall Foundation, the philanthropic family foundation of Stephen and Margaret Tindall, to mark its 20th anniversary.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae presented him with the award at the event at Government House in Auckland tonight in recognition of his personal commitment and passion for driving the community foundation movement in the Bay of Plenty and across New Zealand, notably his leadership in establishing the Tauranga-based Acorn Foundation in 2003.

Mr Tindall said: "The Tindall Foundation acknowledges Bill's outstanding contribution to the emergence of Community Foundations across the country, supporting our desire to weave generosity into the fabric of NZ society."

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Mr Holland, who is also chairman of the Community Foundations of New Zealand, said it was a "great thrill to be acknowledged by a group like the Tindall Foundation".

"The Tindall Foundation is amazing. It's given $100 million away and people don't realise how big a deal that is," he said.

"It's wonderful because we will get publicity from it and Acorn needs publicity and Community Foundations needs publicity. It will make people sit up and think, 'gee if the Tindall Foundation thinks it's a good idea and a successful idea, maybe it's something we should look at'."

While Mr Holland has been the driving force behind the foundation the idea was brought back from America by the late Peter Wyatt, he said.

"Some people have thought it was my idea. It wasn't.

I just picked it up and ran with it," he said. "I can say it's a really good idea because it's not my idea. It had been developed in America about 100 years ago so it's not new."

Mr Holland said he had no doubt the foundation would be a success but he was surprised how long it had taken people to catch on.

"It's just growing - 24 new funds each year. It's just going to get bigger and bigger because you don't have to be wealthy to do it. The whole idea is to encourage people to be generous within their community. People get a lot of satisfaction out of doing it.

"There are 227 people that have set up funds [with the Acorn Foundation]. In the medium to long term it's going to be a huge fundraiser for things in Tauranga."

Fittingly, it was funding from the Tindall Foundation which he relied on to get Acorn up and running.

The great success of the Acorn Foundation has led to the formation of 13 other community foundations around the country.

"The objective is to have national coverage," said Mr Holland.

Nationally, New Zealand's 13 Community Foundations have over $40 million under management and over $160 million in anticipated funds.

The other four awards were given to Foundation chose to recognise five exceptional organisations, acknowledging them for their outstanding and tireless work for the good of the community and our environment the New Zealand Housing Foundation, the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust, SPACE NZ Trust and Project Lyttelton.

What is the Acorn Foundation?
- The Acorn Foundation (established in 2003) is a Community Foundation encouraging people to leave a gift in their will or during their lifetime to benefit the Western Bay of Plenty region forever.
- People leave money to the Acorn Foundation and the investment income is used to make distributions to local charities and community groups, every year - forever.
- These foundations manage endowment funds where the capital is maintained and a percentage is paid out each year to an organisation chosen by the giver or through a general untagged fund.