The Wilberforce Foundation was established to support faith-led organisations who are reaching out to communities and making a difference in the lives of others within New Zealand.

The Foundation was founded by Ian and Wendy Kuperus in 2008 as a vehicle to distribute funds made available from their commercial interests, including Tax Management New Zealand (TMNZ). We are named after the world-famous social reformer William Wilberforce, best known for the successful anti-slavery campaign, which continues to inspire social reformers today.

We currently support around 100 faith-led organisations across Aotearoa. A significant focus of our work is in supporting the ‘community of charities’ we fund through networking, resourcing and capability development. We also undertake specific projects (either directly or partnering with organisations) in a number of strategic focus areas.

We see our role as:

We continue to refine our approach to philanthropy and always welcome opportunities to engage with other philanthropic organisations and social service agencies to learn and share best practice.

Our Kaupapa

The name Wilberforce Foundation was inspired by the example of William Wilberforce (1759–1833). He was a leading member of the Clapham community – an informal gathering of business, social, political, church and community leaders who, inspired by their Christian faith, advocated reforms including for women, children, workplaces, education and indigenous communities. Such was their reach that in the words of historian Stephen Tomkins “The ethos of Clapham became the spirit of the age.”

The Clapham Community came from diverse backgrounds and occupations and worked together over many decades and generations to achieve significant social change.

William Wilberforce is most notably known for his role (along with the Clapham Community) in the enactment of laws to abolish slavery. In the years leading up to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, most of the 25 members of the British Colonial Office were also Clapham members. Together this group were a powerful force that campaigned for the protection and preservation of Māori society.