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.

Please note there will not be a major grants round in 2020.

Future major grant rounds (requesting over $75,000) will be announced as widely as possible, so we encourage you to keep an eye on our News & Events and follow us on Facebook.

There is a two-stage application process:

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

Total Major Grants Fund 2019: $1.5 million

Expressions of Interest: Open 1 December 2018, Close 30 April 2019

Full applications (by invite only): Open 1 June 2019, Close 15 August 2019

Decisions: 21 November 2019

Major Grants Approved: 2019 Major Grants Approved

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


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 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. Our trustees make the final decisions on all applications.