We offer major grant rounds subject to our investment returns, capital rebuild and our annual grants budget. We decide annually whether a major grants round will be held in our next financial year. 

Major grant rounds are announced as widely as possible, so we encourage you to keep an eye on our News & Events and follow us on Facebook.

These grants are for applications requesting over $75,000 and are for significant community projects and services that help us to support thriving communities.

There is a two-stage application process:

  • Stage 1 - Expression of Interest
  • Stage 2 - Full Application by invitation only

Applications of Expression of Interest for the 2021 Major Grants Round are now closed. 

If your organisation is considering or planning a major future capital project and would be requesting funding over $75,000, you can let us know through Heads Up

Total Major Grants Fund 2021: $1 million

Expressions of Interest: Now Closed

Full applications (by invite only): Open 1 July 2021, Close 5pm 30 September 2021

Decisions: 7 December 2021

If you have any questions about our major grants ring 0800 500 185 or email dianne@communitytrustsouth.nz

Major Grants Previously Approved: 






Can you apply?

Non-profit organisations that are a legal entity and operating in our area - Southland, Queenstown, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, Tapanui and Heriot areas can apply including;

  • an incorporated society or an incorporated charitable trust (check your registration at incorporated at Societies & Trusts
  • a company with charitable purposes that is registered with Charities Services
  • non profit organisations established under the Local Government Act 2002, Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 or Education Act 1989

(Registration with Charities Services does not mean your organisation is a legal entity)

The following organisations can't apply:

  • Commercial and for profit organisations
  • Political or advocacy/lobby groups

What we fund?

Major grants support significant community projects that strongly align with at least one or more of our funding priorities, that are about the people, communities and activities we want our funding to support. Your application will be stronger if you can meet some of these.

Health, Wellbeing & Active Lifestyles

Working with communities to ensure people participate, are supported, empowered and cared for.

Art, Heritage & Culture

Working with communities to ensure people participate, celebrate, and preserve our arts, heritage and culture.


Working with communities to ensure every person has the opportunity to achieve their potential.

Community Development & Economic Development

Working with communities to ensure they are connected, successful, resilient and dynamic. 

Within these four pillars we have specific priorities we want our funding to support, and your application will be stronger if you can meet some of these. 

Please see Our Strategic Vision for details on our priorities in each pillar.

Check out Our Grant & Scholarship Recipients to see what we’ve funded recently.

What we don't fund

  • Projects/activities outside our area unless there is a clear benefit to our community
  • Repeat requests for the same project i.e. increases in project costs or funding shortfalls
  • Projects that have already commenced or has been completed
  • Events or activities that are primarily being held to fundraise
  • Projects that are primarily for private/personal financial benefit
  • Religious instruction, lobbying or education
  • Travel, accommodation and uniforms for sports teams
  • Mowers and other items of capital maintenance equipment for golf and bowling clubs
  • Curriculum activities in schools
  • Boarding school hostels
  • School capital projects and maintenance items
  • Centenaries, jubilees and reunions
  • Earthquake strengthening
  • Debt repayments
  • Sponsorships
  • Endowments

How to Apply

Expression of Interest - Now Closed

Applications are made online and if you haven’t applied before you need to register by providing your name, organisation and email address as well as creating a password – it  only takes a moment.

Once registered you can log in anytime to start an application or to access your application again later so you can work on it over time.  To help you prepare you can also download the application form so you can see the questions we ask.


Full Application

Major Grants is a two stage process, after submitting your Expression of Interest you will need to be invited to complete the full application. 

How we assess applications

Expressions of Interest (EOI)

We carry out an initial review of your EOI to make sure you can apply. After considering all EOIs, decisions are made by trustees on which organisations and projects will be invited to submit a full application.

Full Applications

Our staff review your application to help trustees to make an informed decision. We’ll contact you to ask further questions about your project and also:

  • meet with your organisation and, if applicable, trustees and staff may visit your project site
  • talk with other relevant organisations such as  other funders, councils, Government departments/agencies, peak bodies
  • give you the opportunity to make a presentation to trustees in support of your application

What we look for 

  • Strength of project alignment with our strategic plan
  • A clear understanding of the identified need, gap or opportunity supported by evidence
  • Awareness of current and future trends in the field the application relates to, or community demographics
  • Degree that  the project complements other existing initiatives such as  local or regional
  • Level of community benefit - projects for the exclusive benefit of a limited number of people will be a lower priority
    Applicant commitment to the project
  • Credibility and capability of the organisation and ability to deliver
  • Strength of community support
  • Demonstrated connections, consultation and/or partnerships such as with communities, between organisations, across levels within sectors or across sectors
  • Demonstrated need for funding and provision of a comprehensive and realistic budget
  • Extent that alternative and complementary funding sources have been explored and secured
  • Ongoing viability and sustainability of the project in the long term
  • Extent that the project demonstrates value for money i.e. extent of community benefit relative to level of grant funding sought
  • Extent of understanding of the likely outcomes and community benefit (i.e. who, how many and likely changes) and how this will be measured
  • Project responsibility
  • Risks associated with project

We aim to treat and assess all applications fairly, based on their individual merits and in the context of other grants being considered and funding available.  There is a lot of interest in the 2021 Major Grants Round and we are anticipating that there will be a large number of applications submitted creating pressure on the limited funding available.  Trustees will carefully consider any project against the Trust’s current priorities.  It is important to note that capital projects are currently only a priority when strong evidence can be provided that they will stimulate recovery and/or have a community or regional social or economic outcome, i.e. create or retain jobs or leverage additional funding into the region.

Our trustees make the final decision on all applications. 

Asset Maintenance & Management Plans

If you've been invited to submit an application to the 2021 Major Grant Round towards a project that involves capital works, the purchase of a building, structure or land, as part of the application we’ll ask you to include an Asset Management and Maintenance Plan.

About Asset Maintenance and Management Plans

Asset Maintenance and Management Plan Template

Keeping our children and young people safe

We are committed to the safety and protection of children and young people and our commitment means we will:

  • Help to raise awareness of this issue amongst the organisations that we support
  • Encourage all organisations to have appropriate policy and practices in place

Resources, Guides & Other Support information

Vulnerable Children Act 2014

This Act helps to protect young people and makes sure services and funded providers have child protection policies and processes.

DVFREE™ Family Violence Prevention HR Policy Sample is a draft of a family violence policy for the workplace.


Child Matters

Is a charitable trust that works throughout New Zealand, educating, supporting and inspiring adults to protect children. They have a range of resources, training and other useful information on their website.

  • Safer organisations safer children - contains good practice advice for organisations about developing high quality child protection policies for identifying and responding to child vulnerability in response to requirements in the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.
  • Safe Sport for Children - provides information on how sports organisations can reduce the risk of harm to participating children