Charities throughout the Bay of Plenty will reap the rewards of local people's generosity as the Acorn Foundation makes a record $1.1 million funding distribution.

Charities, community organisations and scholarship or award programmes from are among the 157 organisations that are set to benefit from the latest funding round.

According to the Foundation, it is the largest funding round to date and brings its total distributions to more than $6.5m since the Foundation was established in 2003.

Throughout 12 years, the Foundation's investment fund had climbed to $30m.

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According to a written statement, the Foundation is using the 2018 Vital Signs research - a report on the health and social needs of the Bay of Plenty - to target the areas of greatest needs in the area.

This year, the target areas for funding included housing, reducing inequality, supporting young adults into employment, health, building strong communities and the environment.

General manager Lori Luke said organisations from Maketū to Waihī will receive funding thanks to the charity of local people.

She said more people were choosing to donate locally.

"The whole idea is to give where you live," she said.

"It's completely the reflection of the generosity of our donors, who are just the average, everyday local person.

"One million is just the start."

She said in the past people had donated to the Foundation through their will, but now more people were beginning to give through a variety of other means, such as living gifts, community group funds, giving circles and workplace giving programmes.

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Donor and community manager Margot McCool said it was important to celebrate the milestone.

She said smaller local charities, who were "working at the coalface", were beginning to reap the rewards of people's generosity.

McCool said the strong need for social housing and other basic living requirements was a "significant concern" and had directed the funding allocation this year.

She said child protection, budgeting and counselling were just some of the examples where the need for services was "going through the roof".