Our Story

One idea, eight regions and hundreds of lives transformed.

The one idea was Steven Carden's. At 24 years of age, with degrees in law and arts and a wealth of family support, he had the education and upbringing to do almost anything in life. However, he also recognised the same opportunities weren't available to everyone, especially students in low-decile schools. Steven's response was to develop a scholarship model that would help remove the barriers that many talented students, worthy of support, face in reaching and achieving their goals and aspirations.

In 1998, the three inaugural scholarships were awarded in Auckland. Today, First Foundation awards scholarships in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Whangarei, Rotorua, Horowhenua, Dunedin and Hamilton. Each scholarship is changing a life and to date, 612 students have participated or are currently in the scholarship programme.

First Foundation Purpose

First Foundation has a belief in the potential of partnerships and simplicity of a" hand up" to make an amazing difference to an individual and the impact they will have on their society.

First Foundation brings together NZ businesses, individuals, schools, and students to help achieve our Vision.

First Foundation Mission

To assist academically talented students worthy of support to achieve their potential through tertiary education and to prepare them to positively influence and benefit their communities.

First Foundation Values

Committed to excellence "Kia arotahi ki te kōtihi" - Focussed on the summit (of excellence)
Collaborative "Kia ngātahi te waihoe" - Rowing together in unison
Respectful "Kia ngākau tapatahi te whai koha" - Unified towards respectful relationships
Supportive "Kia mahi-tahi te tautoko" - Mutual support and cooperation
Aspirational "Kia whai-tahi te tūmanako" - Combined pursuit towards realising one's hopes