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.  There will not be a major grants round for 2024.

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

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. 

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.

Strong Foundations - Tūāpapa Torokaha

Enabling the conditions for our communities to thrive.

People & Places - Toitū Te Tangata, Toitū Te Whenua

Supporting people and places which enhance communities so that all people can lead fulfilling lives.

Sustainability & Climate - Toitūtanga me te Āhuarangi

Supporting communities to connect to their environment so that it can thrive for future generations. 

Within these three pou (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 Aspiration for details on our priorities in each pou.

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

What we don't fund

  • More than one approved application within a 12 month period
  • Projects/activities outside our area unless there is a clear benefit to our community
  • Repeat requests for the same project such as  increases in project costs or funding shortfalls
  • Projects that have already commenced or have been completed
  • Events or activities that are primarily being held to fundraise
  • Projects that are primarily for private/personal financial benefit
  • Religious or faith-based instruction, lobbying or education
  • Uniforms (other than Kapa Haka and other cultural uniforms), travel and accommodation
  • 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
  • Judicial, political and lobbying activities
  • Legal related activities
  • Centenaries, jubilees and reunions
  • Commercial (for profit) organisations
  • Earthquake strengthening
  • Debt repayments
  • Sponsorships
  • Endowments (except for limited funding to Community Foundations who are part of the Community Foundations of Aotearoa NZ network)
  • Public playgrounds
  • General repairs and maintenance

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 and strategies such as Southland Regional Spaces & Places and other sector/pou regional strategies
  • 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 generally a lot of interest in our Major Grants Rounds and we generally receive a large number of applications 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 a Major Grant application 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