Why First Foundation

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Schools and Students



Give talented young Kiwis a brighter future

Many highly capable students are held back by their socio-economic status. With your help, we can change that.

Many highly capable students are held back by their socio-economic status. With your help, we can change that.

What’s happening now


Scholarship partner, Simplicity and First Foundation are both working to ensure Kiwis have real choices about their futures. Learn why First Foundation is grateful for their support.


Meet First Foundation’s new chair, Michael Harper, who is stepping into his position at a key time — First Foundation is soon to enter its twenty-fifth year! Read more to find out how Michael is bringing new energy to First Foundation’s vision.

Every young Kiwi should have the same chance to succeed

With your help, First Foundation supports bright young Kiwis whose circumstances make it harder to attend university – giving them financial assistance, paid work experience and a dedicated mentor.

Our four-year programme helps these talented New Zealanders navigate from school, through higher education and into a meaningful career. This dramatically improves each student’s opportunities in life, giving them the support and professional networks many of us take for granted.

Financial help

Each student is sponsored by an organisation, called a scholarship partner, which provides financial support over three years towards university costs.


We match students with a dedicated mentor, who helps them overcome challenges and transition from school to university, and into the professional world.

Work experience

Scholars get at least four weeks of paid work experience each year, growing their skills and professional networks while supporting them financially.

Exponential impact

Your support doesn’t only help students – it has powerful and lasting benefits for their whānau and community.

Young people in our programme are often first in their family to attend university, and become a positive influence on their whānau and communities for generations to come. Many use their improved finances to help support their parents, siblings or wider whānau, creating a ripple effect throughout all their lives.

“My whānau is forever changed”

I’m in a financially stable position and have enabled my mum to retire early. I support her, which has taken the burden off my siblings who have families of their own. We are on track to buy our first family home.”


Stay in touch

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What would you like to do?

Apply for a scholarship

Thrive at university with financial support, paid work experience and valuable one-on-one mentoring.


Give financial support

Provide vital support to deserving young Kiwis and help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.


Mentor a student

Become a mentor to help a talented student from a disadvantaged background reach their potential.


Meet our alumni

Our alumni are trailblazers who make the most of every opportunity. Read their inspiring stories.


Help level the playing field for talented young Kiwis with few financial resources