The Acorn to Oak Foundation (or Bellota A Roble) was founded on March 24, 2006 with the intent of ultimately establishing a private, Latter-day Saint university in Latin America. The project derives its name from a statement given by Melvin J. Ballard, an LDS official, on 4 July 1926, comparing the growth of the LDS Church in Argentina and South America to the growth of an acorn to a large oak tree.
Currently the LDS Church operates several institutions of higher learning (BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, and the LDS Business College), however, in recent years, the leaders of the faith have opted not to open any more campuses and focus on the Institute programs for ages 18-30, located at most US universities and colleges and in many cities around the world.
"We shall continue to support BYU and its Hawaii campus. We shall continue to support Ricks College. We are not likely to build other university campuses. We wish that we might build enough to accommodate all who desire to attend. But this is out of the question. They are so terribly expensive. But we shall keep these as flagships testifying to the great and earnest commitment of this Church to education, both ecclesiastical and secular, and while doing so prove to the world that excellent secular learning can be gained in an environment of religious faith.
Aside from the officially sponsored LDS institutions of higher learning, private LDS initiatives include Southern Virginia University and the Academy for Creating Enterprise. As the Acorn to Oak website states, "Our hope is that the creation of an institution of higher learning in South America will foster the development of a much stronger LDS community among the local members... The Acorn to Oak project, through the website and a grass roots effort, is advancing the effort of creating another LDS style university with private funds (like Southern Virginia University), this time in South America, with a focus on Argentina.
This project, although sponsored by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is not endorsed in any way by the Church.