Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

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  COVID-19 Funder News

        We will keep you updated on the latest news from Funders

Stay positive grant-seekers!


It is encouraging that many funders are publicising they will accommodate any reasonable changes to support beneficiaries, during this challenging and unprecedented time. Consistent with the recommended social distancing practices, grantors are also changing the nature and timing of any planned face-to-face engagements with donors, grant partners and stakeholders. Meetings are now taking place by telephone or video conferencing. Many are carrying on with business as usual, remotely. However, like everyone, there may be delays in response time given the sudden changes. To date, we have seen very few grant rounds cancelled or postponed, with the majority of those who are postponing being Gaming related funders, due to downturn in their revenue.

The Strategic Grants Team will continue to keep this funder news alert page updated with significant announcements, and to keep all NFPs focussed on continuing as much as possible with best practice grant-seeking, reporting and stewardship processes.

For customised Grants Calendars, and up to the minute alerts specific to your funding needs, please get in touch for information on our GEMS.

Keep positive!  We will get through this!


Philanthropy New Zealand is working hard too, working with funders to navigate this unprecedented time.  There is excellent advice in this news piece, from the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust, providing very sound advice to grantmakers on how best they can continue supporting charities and communities. 


In Good Grants News ...

Listed by most recent updates at top.



Western Bay of Plenty District Council - Community Resilience Fund
A $300,000 fund to help Western Bay of Plenty groups providing assistance to the community through the COVID-19 pandemic is open for applications.

The fund is a consolidation of Council’s two annual community funding pools the Community Matching Fund and the Facilities in the Community Fund. It is anticipated both funds will resume in 2021.

Horowhenua District Council - COVID-19 response grant
Horowhenua District Council is consolidating existing grants into one application process in response to COVID-19 for the 2020/2021 financial year. Applications for the new grant will remain open for as long as funds are available and will be assessed every two months. Community grants schemes will return to normal in 2021/2022

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund The COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund aims to accelerate the operational deployment of innovative solutions in order to support responses to COVID-19, and alleviate the direct impacts of the virus threat, and provide rapid short-term support to New Zealand based entities to develop and more quickly deploy a range of new products, processes, or services. The initial size of the Fund is $25 million (excluding GST). Minimum proposal size is expected to be $50,000 (excluding GST).

Oakley Mental Health Research Foundation – new COVID-19 research grant 
A one-off fund of $50,000 for research studies on the impact of Covid-19 control measures on the delivery of mental health services.  Applications are due by Friday, 5 June 2020. 

Sport New Zealand - Community Resilience Fund  aims to deliver immediate funding to help regional and local sports organisations remain financially viable through the immediate period of disruption created by COVID-19. Sports Clubs can apply for $1,000 in support. Regional Sports Organisations can apply for up to $40,000. The Fund is being distributed by Regional Sports Trusts, who will be receiving and processing applications from 11 May 2020. 

Marlborough District Council - Grants to Support Community Organisations affected by COVID-19.  Council has decided to change the focus of the 2020/2021 Community Grants to ensure that not for profit services are able to maintain staff and deliver services. Funding will be available to support organisations to maintain their current level of service and for some a need for an increase in capacity for a short time to respond to COVID-19 recovery.  There are two funding rounds. Round one closes 15 May and Round 2 dates to be confirmed. 

Hutt City Council - Lower Hutt Community Resilience Fund aims to provide financial support to organisations, groups and initiatives in Lower Hutt for delivery of services that support local resilience during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 period and following recovery period. The fund has an initial cap of up to $2000 (excluding GST) per request. 

Bay Trust COVID-19 Update: The BayTrust team is working remotely and applications for funding are still being accepted as normal.  Focus at this time is on supporting those most in need and those groups who will make a meaningful difference to communities. Bay Trust is working with regional funding partners on developing a rapid response funding process for organisations that are experiencing an immediate funding shortfall and/or a significant increase in demand on their services as a result of Coronavirus and its associated impacts. If this applies to your organisation and you would like more information, in the first instance please call Sam Cummins, BayTrust Funding Manager, on 027 772 3235, or Alastair Rhodes, BayTrust CEO, on 021 921 737.

Rotorua Energy Trust COVID-19 Update: The Rotorua Trust team is working remotely and applications for funding are still being accepted. Focus at this time is on supporting those most in need and those groups who will make a meaningful difference to our communities.  Urgent requests may be considered outside of our normal grants cycle. If you are thinking of applying, give Grants Manager, Jackie McCullough, a call first on 027 206 5449, or Trust Manager, Tony Gill on 027 573 7524. Applications close at the end of each month!

Trust Aoraki  - COVID 19 MESSAGE: No Planned Changes to Grant Schedule  The board and staff of Trust Aoraki are working remotely utilising phone, email, zoom etc. and recognise the importance of grants to the community. At this stage there are no planned changes to the funding schedule for 2020. They are working collaboratively and flexibly with community organisations, as needed, who have existing grants, especially where events/programs have to be postponed/cancelled.

Central Lakes Trust will be increasing their grant budget for the 2020/21 financial year. This is set at $9.4m. Please refer to the grant process here. And as always, be sure you meet all eligibility requirements and adhere to the guidelines, before you apply. 

WEL Energy Trust The community funding rounds are continuing, with the April Quick Response round now open (closing date 30 April). Visit the website to find out more and/or to apply:

Trust Tairāwhiti has made the decision to refocus funding over the coming months, to address the emerging needs of families/whanau and businesses where Covid-19 has had a negative impact.  There are no closing dates with applications being considered on their individual merits, in alignment with the Trust’s wellbeing priorities.

The Gift Trust is administering a $100,000 fund on behalf of the Namaste Foundation to provide funding for urgent needs of vulnerable communities in the Wellington region that result from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Otago Community Fund COVID-19 Response Fund  Otago Community Trust will now accept applications for grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund. The dedicated $2M COVID-19 Response Fund will support community organisations to cope through the crisis, and thereby to support the community itself.  Grants will be made towards any of the following objectives:

  1. Additional costs incurred by community organisations in delivering services, projects or activities to members of the community most in need as a result of COVID-19.
  2. Assistance for community organisations who incur or have incurred additional costs related to expansion of services as a result of COVID-19.

The Rapid Response Fund COVID-19 Fund was established by TECT, Acorn Foundation, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council.  The funders, who have committed to pool from their current granting reserves a total of $600,000 in funding, initially identified essential service groups and are now opening grants to the wider not-for-profit sector next week.

Vodafone NZ is increasing support for community partners through a range of different ways including additional emergency funding to and flexible funding arrangements with current partners. Data caps are also being removed.

The Provincial Growth Fund (NZ) funding is being repurposed to help protect jobs and businesses. More information will be communicated in coming weeks.

Museum of New Zealand Helping Hands Grants has extended their deadline until 30th June 2020 and increased the maximum grant amount from $1500 to $2000.

Whanganui Community Foundation is making best efforts to not reduce their grant budget for the 2020-2021 financial year, despite a challenging investment environment and has set up the COVID-19 Response Fund, which will accept applications from 30th March to 1 July 2020. Grants will generally be between $1000 and $5000.

Ministry of Social Development - COVID-19 Community Awareness and Preparedness Grant Fund  
Is providing one-off grants of up to $5000.  A total budget of $4.8M (GST exclusive) is available for allocation. The fund is open until all grants have been allocated. Eligibility requirements include:

  1. Must be a community-based group
  2. Must provide details on how use of the grant will contribute towards the provision of essential community-led solutions to support local resilience and community wellbeing in relations to Covid-19.

Salaries and wages are not being funded.

DIA Community Matters Wants to assure Communities that they are open for business, just remotely! If your organisation has received funding from the Department and your initiative has been affected due to COVID 19, they will actively work with you to find the best solution, whether that is a time extension, change of purpose, etc. Call on 0800 824 824 or get in touch with your local Community Operations team to discuss options.

Creative NZ is offering Emergency Relief Grants as a contribution towards loss of income between 1 March and 30 June due to COVID-19. The Creative New Zealand Emergency Relief fund is available for eligible independent artists and arts practitioners, and members of arts organisations (including groups and collectives) who are recipients of the COVID-19 WINZ Wage Subsidy.  
Closing dates: 18 Jun 2020 (applications will be assessed each week on a rolling basis) 

In the meantime, all artists, art practitioners, arts groups and arts organisations are encouraged to take advantage of the hardship support available through the Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Package (extended to provide cover for self-employed, charities and others). 

The Tindall Foundation remains open for business more or less as usual. Our Donations Team is able to work remotely, and still work to support community groups over the next few weeks as needed.  They continue to stay open for applications for funding and will continue to fulfil all prior and on-going funding commitments. While not holding any face to face meetings, they are still available for any funding-related support via phone, Zoom etc.  The team will also be reaching out to other key partners to see how they can best support them and communities through this challenging period.

Rata Foundation is offering flexibility during this time. The funding programme portal will remain open for applications and they will continue to make community investment decisions on funding applications and process grants payments.

We recognise the developing situation may affect your organisation's ability to deliver some or all of the outcomes you intended when you applied for funding from us.  If you hold a grant from us, we recognise your organisation may have incurred costs for programmes and events which are unable to go ahead. We recognise some projects may be postponed or delayed.

Please let us know if your organisation is having to make changes to planned activities due to COVID-19. Please contact one of our grants advisors on 0508 266 878 or via our

Eastern and Central Community Trust, New Zealand: We would like to reassure you that ECCT is providing support and granting as normal.

Trust Waikato has allocated $1 million towards funding a COVID-19 response, and other funders will be contributing further through combined action and grants.

Foundation North CEO, Peter Tynan, has assured communities that in the current situation, “our pūtea or endowment, and our ability to make grants from the returns on our investments, are resilient to the current situation.”

Perpetual Guardian has to date advised, there are no changes to their application and granting processes.


Cancellation / Postponement of funding rounds

Cambridge Rotary Charitable Trust – not calling for grant applications this financial year  Due to the current covid-19 situation and lockdown in NZ, Rotary Cambridge have not been able to run two major fundraising projects. Consequently, the funds normally raised from these projects are not available for distribution.

SkyCity Auckland Community Trust – funding update  SkyCity Auckland Community Trust (SACT) has taken a proactive approach to support vulnerable communities through a rapid response initiative. SACT has made the decision to fund four large collectives (two in Auckland, two in Northland). These four large collectives have already been selected and advised of their selection. Many of the organisations who SACT has funded in the past work are part of these collectives. 

The decision to provide a rapid response and act with impact has meant that the scheduled funding round will not be open until June and there will be less funds available. Details will be announced on the SACT website in due course. The Community Trust team will also be working with the SkyCity Hamilton and Queenstown Community Trusts and updated details will be on the website soon regarding their funding rounds. 

CERT - Your local Gaming Trust  Due to the financial impact of Covid-19, CERT is currently not making any grant payments. While grant applications are still being accepted, it is highly likely that these applications will need to be declined due to insufficient funds being available.

The North & South Trust Applying for a Grant PLEASE NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 Virus shutting our venues down, there will now be NO NPC meeting in April. We will keep you updated regarding the May’s NPC meeting as the situation progresses.

Oxford Sports Trust - Covid 19 Level 4 has closed Class 4 Gambling Venues in New Zealand. For this reason no Applications for funding are being accepted until further notice

Infinity Foundation - Due to COVID-19 and the gaming venues being closed, Infinity Foundation will not be considering funding applications at this time. They will actively review our position on a regular basis and will update their website accordingly.

Milestone Foundation - Due to COVID-19 and gaming venues being closed, Milestone Foundation will not be considering funding applications at this time. They will actively review their position on a regular basis and will update website accordingly.

Mainland Foundation - Not accepting applications at this time. 

Grassroots Trust has closed its application process and will not be accepting funding applications at this time, due to COVID-19. They will review things regularly and update the website accordingly.

One Foundation NZ has cancelled their March and April meetings with the May meeting still to be confirmed.

Pelorus Trust will not be processing grant applications due to COVID-19 lockdown and has asked for no applications at this time.

New Zealand Lion Foundation has suspended granting due to COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown, which has forced the closure of all cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants in New Zealand. As such, the Lion Foundation is currently unable to generate community funding.

New Zealand Community Trust is currently unable to process any grant applications for consideration by the Net Proceeds Committee.

Due to the Covid-19 Virus, the Pub Charity Limited Net Proceeds Committee has postponed the April funding round until May. All compliant April applications will be considered in the May round.

The Southern Trust: “The COVID-19 Virus has had an adverse effect on TST and as a temporary measure The Southern Trust has taken the decision to stop all non-essential spending and to cease grant payments until further notice.  This decision does not apply to time critical grants currently under consideration or grants that have already been approved and is a temporary measure only.  We will actively review our position on a regular basis with a view to getting back to business as usual as soon as possible. Please note that any grants that would normally have been approved but have been put on hold during this time will be considered in chronological order based on the date of submission when we resume business as usual. Our dedicated grants team will continue to process applications up to the point of approval during this time.”'

The Trusts Community Foundation Grant applications suspended until further notice  As a result of the current COVID-19 lock-down measures, the TTCF Board has decided to order the suspension of their grant application process until further notice.

In order to be flexible, responsive and responsible funders, Creative New Zealand has suspended all funding programmes currently open, due to open or with applications being assessed. This is to acknowledge that many projects can no longer take place in the way they were originally conceived. Many people’s personal circumstances have also dramatically changed. Suspending programmes will allow the organisation to concentrate its efforts on this emergency response.


General good news stories

Auckland Foundation has launched the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to enable giving that will be distributed to those most in need.

Auckland Foundation is working remotely to ensure that its services continue as normally as possible, with the team happy to meet via Zoom or answer any queries via email or phone.

All of its community funding rounds will be open for applications as scheduled, with applications opening for the Grassroots Giving Programme, North Shore Fund, Women's Fund, Clinton & Joy Whitley Fund, and the Daphne Gretta Mary Stevens Community Music Scholarship on Monday 3 August. It has also set up a COVID-19 Community Response Fund to direct funds via donations to where there is the greatest immediate need.

For those who received grants from Auckland Foundation last year, if you need to talk about how your programme or planned outcomes have been affected, or need to use your grant for a different purpose, please get in touch.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation allocates first phase funding of $9 million to support the fight against COVID-19





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