Biography of Sir Owen G. Glenn

Born in India, Sir Owen and his family moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 1950. At the age of 28, Sir Owen started a company which provides marine logistics and transportation services including ocean freight consolidation. He started his philanthropic endeavours just two years later, in 1980, when he made his first financial donation towards schools, nurseries, hospices and institutions for those with mental and physical challenges of all ages. His success was evident when he was the Founder and Executive Chairman of Vanguard Logistics Services, the USA’s largest neutral non-vessel operating common carrier and among the top five largest NVOCCs in the world.

Sir Owen has a longstanding track record of not just his business success but his generous charitable donations. He has the principal belief that the enhancement of society will occur when resources are provided for health, basic resources and needs, as well as the enlightenment of people.


A Philanthropic Legacy

Sir Owen established the Glenn Family Foundation (GFF) in the early 1980’s. Mr. Jimmy Keir introduced Sir Owen to Caritas in the old Portuguese enclave in Macau. As a result of a donation generously given by Sir Owen, GFF rapidly expanded with the main focus on serving the people living in the villages of West Bengal, India. It was here that Sir Owen’s vision of helping whole communities by improving their health and well-being in a tangible, direct way took root. He spent the next 20 years making significant donations, supporting innovative projects, and delivering basic need supplies such as water filtration systems, latrines, spectacles, and other essentials to communities primarily in Australasia and India.

Sir Owen has supported the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health in New Zealand which opened in 2002. He has been a key component in ensuring that high performance athletes of New Zealand have the necessary facilities and environment to train at and to stay competitive with the rest of the high-performance sports in the world; this facility is also a focal point for community health and well-being. Mike Stanley CNZM, Chief Executive of Millennium Institute of Sport and Health and President of the NZ Olympic Committee stated that “the funding Owen agreed to through his foundation has allowed for an objective assessment on the best ‘Centre of Excellence’ model for New Zealand, especially in terms of facilities and service and to allow us to explore financial modelling options.” At the opening of the Sir Owen Glenn Aquatic Centre in 2017, the then Minister of Sport, the Honourable Murray McCully CNZM, stated that without Sir Owen’s support of $2.7M the project could not have come to fruition.

In 2003, Sir Owen supported the Auckland University Leigh Marine Laboratory with a $500,000 donation. Sir Owen stated that, “I made my living from the ocean, so it was nice to be able to support this particular initiative.”

In 2005, he made one of the largest private sector donations amounting to $7.5M for the University of Auckland Business School. Sir Owen stated, “I believe in its plans to develop a world-class facility and world class research and teaching programmes that are going to be huge benefit to New Zealand business and society.” Due to his generosity the building was named after him.

In 2017 Sir Owen created the GFF H.E.L.P.S. program. It is a programme that offers ambitious young adults the opportunity to serve the underprivileged and those in need. H.E.L.P.S. stands for Health, Education, Love, Protection and Spirituality; the chosen representatives have all reasonable expenses paid and are offered a sizable honorarium for their 6 months of service in the field.

Though only a few of the large philanthropic efforts have been listed above, over the last two decades, Sir Owen has contributed in excess of $50M to philanthropic endeavours across the globe and to a variety of causes, including individuals he spontaneously meets, then enriches their lives. Sir Owen who came from humble beginnings now garners international recognition for his success and generosity.


Accolades and Awards

In the 2008 New Year Honours, Sir Owen was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the community which he received from Prince Charles at a ceremony held at Buckingham Palace.

In May 2011, Sir Owen was awarded CPA Australia’s highest honour—Honorary Fellow of CPA (FCPA)—in recognition of his global entrepreneurial success.

In the 2013 New Year Honours, Sir Owen was promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to philanthropy.


Speaking Engagements and Philanthropic Partnership

supported over the years. He is available for speaking engagements and welcomes you to join him on his philanthropic adventure.

For enquires or further information contact:


List of some philanthropic projects supported by Sir Owen

Full support with Warriors to the NZ National Women’s Rugby League Team to 2013 World Cup in England
• NZ Hockey endowment fund
• NZ Hockey Youth Program to International Tournament
• Seed capital for a feasibility study of developing Rosedale Park as a National Hockey Centre
• Construction of the NZ National Aquatic Centre at Albany
• Kapahaka Group in Rotorua
• Support for the NZ Equestrian Team
• Support for NZ All Blacks 7’s and All Blacks attending the Pacific Tournament in Fiji
• Renovation of Solevu Village School in Malolo, Fiji and hosted Sport/Art Day
• Rugby boots to all players on Malolo, Fiji in capacity as their honorary Ratu (Chief)
• New initiative of 30 learning centers throughout North East India
• University of Auckland (UoA) – Business School
• University of Auckland Scholarships in the name of Prof. Barry Spicer and Sir Owen G. Glenn
• Financially supported the UoA Chair of Marine Science and the Chair of Research into Molecular Cancer
• Patron and supporter of Friends of Fiji- annual pilgrimage to Fiji for cardiac operations
• Joint venture with UoA into marketing of services/products with Uni-services
• 3 year sponsorship for a student to Yale
• Annual support of Belmont Shore Rugby Team CA, USA
• Annual support of Maankitanga Trust in honour of Sir Howard Morrison (fees for promising students/athletes)
• Sponsor of Sir Howard Morrison Annual Award for aspiring singers (under tutelage of Dame Malvina Major)
• Support of three aspiring Samoan Tenors to a Welsh Academy, under Dame Malvina Major
• 3 year sponsor of the Railway Handicap at Ellerslie
• Athletic sponsorship to the International Olympic Committee to honor Yvette Williams
• Sponsor for Kiwis Cup- Annual Tournament for Disabled Sailors
• 8 years support to rescue women and children from domestic slavery and prostitution- Hostels, HIV/AIDS
Hospital, and Ambulances, etc. in India
• Village Self Help program- education, sanitation, cottage industries, medical clinics
• Equipping schools in Myanmar with English learning aids such as TV/DVDs
• 30 years support to Macau and South China through Caritas Jesuit Order- schools, mental institution,
orphanages hospitals, and leper colonies
• Major financial support and the first New Zealander to give to the Christchurch earthquake
• Aid and accommodation to Samoa for tsunami relief
• Aid to Haiti/Honduras for earthquake relief
• Spectacles to Sri Lanka in conjunction with Lions Club
• Provided financial support for betterment of water conditions in the Philippines
• Make a Wish type donation; for many individuals, including a South Africa safari for terminal cancer patient,
22-year-old Sophie Sullivan
• Playground equipment to Kenya
• Assistance in Zimbabwe with American Aid Group
• Nepal Gurka family aid
• Large support for the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre and Sir Owen G. Glenn Theatre