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Simplicity Foundation gives choices

Simplicity is a not-for-profit fund manager that donates 15% of its fees to charities. Chief Executive of First Foundation, Kirk Sargent, says he’s particularly grateful to count Simplicity Foundation as a partner.
Scholarship Partner Simplicity represented here by CEO Sam Stubbs with two of their current scholarship recipients.

Simplicity CEO Sam Stubbs with 2023 scholarship recipients Mahdi Barbari (left) and Tupouseini Tuitupou. 

Simplicity and First Foundation are both working to ensure Kiwis have real choices about their futures. Together, we’re doing this in such a tangible and specific way.

“In low-income families, young people are more likely to go straight from school into low-skilled work to help support their families. This keeps the cycle of poverty going, leading to another generation in low-skilled work. Yet, thanks to Simplicity Foundation’s generosity, bright young Kiwis from challenging backgrounds can choose a different path,” Kirk explains. 

“Simplicity’s support enables the financial assistance and guidance they need to thrive at university. In turn, our scholars bring fresh perspectives to the workplace, enriching their companies and industries. Each student’s skills, experience and financial stability will also improve the lives of their parents, siblings, wider whānau and community.”

Simplicity Foundation’s first three scholarships were awarded to Tupouseini Tuitupou, Bella Lucia Griffin and Mahdi Barbari. Tupouseini can now attend Otago University to study towards a Commerce degree, and Mahdi and Lucia are set to gain their Law degree at the University of Auckland.

Like most Foundation scholars, Tuposeini, Bella and Mahdi are the first in their families to go to university. While financial assistance is crucial for students from lower-income households, so is having role models who have been to university. Scholars are connected with mentors while they’re still at school in Year 12. This makes a huge difference to them in overcoming the challenges of transitioning to tertiary study — a journey that often means leaving behind everything familiar.

Tuposeini is the eldest of six children. She was dux of her first school and continued to show her ability throughout secondary school, being awarded the top Year 11 academic award.
She says, 

Living in a household of eight and depending on only one stable income, the financial assistance offered with the scholarship would be a great help to myself and my family.


Mahdi’s family fled the war in Afghanistan as refugees just a few years ago. Already, he’s shown incredible grit in striving for excellence in everything he does and is making a huge contribution to Aotearoa. He’s involved in many different volunteering initiatives and mentors a young person who was recently airlifted from Afghanistan because of the war with the Taliban. “I also support members of my community with language difficulties so they can access services,” Mahdi says. 

First Foundation scholarship is a game changer. It will help him to meet the cost of education without putting an additional burden on his parents, who are struggling to transition to life in New Zealand.

Young people with financial challenges also tend to lack access to influential social and professional networks compared with their peers at high decile schools. Work experience through First Foundation’s programme allows its scholars to build confidence and relationships to help launch their careers. This is vital in breaking the chain of intergenerational poverty.

Bella says the support of a mentor and professional networks is invaluable to her. “This support will make the transition easier and take away some of the stress of it.” She knows that finding role models who share her passion and ambition will help her better understand the choices available to her. “A mentor would help guide me into making the right decisions affecting my future and give me advice around how to achieve my aspirations.”

First Foundation has been backing students to succeed for more than two decades, and it’s an investment that’s paying off. They’ve helped close to 1000 ambitious young people transform their futures through education. Our alumni inspire their siblings and wider whānau to follow in their footsteps. This creates a ripple effect that reaches across generations, making an impact that changes lives again and again.

We’re so grateful Simplicity Foundation has made the choice to support First Foundation!

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