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There are three ways Momentum Waikato grants to community organisations - either our donors themselves choose to support the charity or cause in question, the governance team of one of our dedicated funds such as the Waikato Inclusion Fund makes a grant, or our donors enable the trustees of Momentum Waikato to make strategic decisions on the greatest impact their gifts can have through the Vital Impact Grant.

Successfully funded projects by the Vital Impact Grant will be in the following categories, as informed by Vital Signs.

- Vital Waikato

- Vital Children and Youth

- Vital Communities

- Vital Culture

- Vital Economy

- Vital Education

- Vital Environment

- Vital Health

- Vital Recreation

Applications for the Vital Impact Grant will be assessed by an independent Advisory Panel of subject matter experts who, following a thorough due diligence process, will make funding recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

Vital Impact Grant - Next Round is in 2020

Momentum Waikato’s Vital Impact Grants are directed to initiatives that address the priorities identified by the Waikato Vital Signs community consultation process.

Waikato Vital Signs is carried out once every three years; the next process is due to take place in 2019, with the Vital Impact Grant round following in 2020.


Momentum Waikato will consider funding initiatives by change-makers that meet all of the following five criteria.

  • Respond to a clear need in the Waikato – the challenge is significant and deeply rooted in the Waikato community.

  • Be inspirational – the outcomes are visible and inspire greater community generosity.

  • Be transformational – the outcomes disrupt the status quo to catalyse and accelerate much needed change.

  • Demonstrates leadership – organisations have a track record and the organisational capacity to deliver the outcomes at governance, management and initiative levels.

  • Be scalable and sustainable – the outcomes have the potential to be delivered across the Waikato, and possibly nationally with other players, beyond the time that funding ceases.

In meeting these criteria, it is anticipated that initiatives will be in some way new or innovative. We also actively encourage collaboration across two or more organisations.

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Who Can Apply

Momentum Waikato is focused on helping Waikato-based community organisations who have bold ambitions and/or a track record of making a transformational impact in our region.

Specifically this means initiatives in the local authority areas of Hamilton City, Waikato District, Thames-Coromandel District, Hauraki District, Matamata-Piako District, Waipa District, South Waikato District, Otorohanga District, and/or Waitomo District – see Local Government boundary map.

Technically we can distribute funds to anywhere in New Zealand, however we will normally only make grants to individuals or to non-Waikato organisations where either our donors direct us to do so, or where a project or initiative driven from elsewhere will have a significant impact in the Waikato.

Grants are available to organisations that are either:

  • A registered charitable trust or company

  • A registered incorporated society

  • An education institution

  • A social enterprise

  • Organisations should have a governing document (such as a constitution, rules, memorandum and articles of association) and a bank account in the organisation’s name with at least two independent signatories.

  • Grants will not normally be available to support day-to-day operating costs.

We will not fund requests to support:

  • Contributions to general appeals or circulars

  • Religious activity which is not for wider public benefit

  • Public bodies to carry out their statutory obligations

  • Activities which have already taken place

  • Grant making by other organisations

How to Apply

Momentum Waikato uses a two-stage process in its grant decision-making.

Stage 1 - Expression of Interest

In the first stage, change-makers are asked to submit a brief Expression of Interest (EOI) that covers just five pieces of information, as per below.

1. A short statement of the specific challenge or aspiration that the initiative is seeking to address. (250 words)

2. Clear statement of the outcomes the initiative is focused on achieving and the potential impact it will have, as well as how these will be measured or demonstrated. (250 words)

3. The background to the initiative, briefly describing the research or best/promising practices that inform the proposed work. (200 words)4.

4. A brief outline of the proposed work programme (key steps, milestones, timelines) to address the challenge or aspiration. (200 words)

5. The proposed governance and management structures for the initiative, along with brief bios of the key management personnel. (150 words)

We are well aware of the time and effort that organisations put in to complete comprehensive grant applications, when only a few will be successful. The idea of the EOI is to enable Momentum Waikato to identify the few best initiatives - likely to be a maximum of ten - that will receive a Request for Proposal (RFP) to progress to the second stage.

Stage 2 - Request for Proposals

Shortlisted change-makers will be asked to respond to an RFP which will require them to significantly expand on their EOI with a fully formed business plan.

Momentum Waikato expects to fund up to three initiatives at the end of the RFP stage and will draw on the knowledge and experience of a panel of experts to support its trustees in the decision-making process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What was behind the first $1 million grant in 2016? How did Momentum Waikato decide which areas to direct the grant to?

In 2016 Momentum Waikato and our regional philanthropic partners engaged with over 400 people from the community for Waikato Vital Signs. They identified a number of priorities, and the first Vital Impact Grant made $1 million of funds available for transformational and inspirational strategic outcomes that aimed to improve the long-term vitality of our community by responding to the top two priorities identified by the Waikato Vital Signs 2016 process.

  • Working together to improve community connectedness.

  • Developing better education and pathways for our youth.

Has this ever been done before?

We believe this is the first time that a community foundation has used the findings from the Vital Signs methodology to direct significant investment into transformational community outcomes. Our premise is that communities have many of the resources, skills and knowledge to take the lead in creating transformational change.

Who can apply for a Vital Impact Grant?

Change-makers in the form of registered charitable trusts or companies, incorporated societies, education institutions, or social enterprises working in the greater Waikato region are eligible for grants.

Can we meet with Momentum Waikato before we submit our Expression of Interest (EOI) application or during the EOI assessment period?

Momentum Waikato will not be able to meet with organisations in person leading up to the EOI submission date, but we are very happy to answer any questions by telephone and email. There will not be an opportunity to present EOIs in person or to meet with Momentum Waikato during the initial EOI assessment process. Momentum Waikato may contact change-makers as we work through the decision steps of EOI applications if we need more information.

Can we contact Momentum Waikato if we need more help in applying?

Yes. If after reading the information on our website, organisations need further information to enable them to complete the EOI, they can phone or email us and one of our team will be happy to help.

Why does the EOI only have five questions? Will Momentum Waikato have enough information to make granting decisions?

Momentum Waikato is well aware of the time and effort that applicants put in to complete comprehensive grant applications when only a few will be successful. We believe the five statements requested for the EOI (see above) will give us enough information to be able to identify up to ten initiatives to take to the next stage, which is a Request for Proposal (RFP) and full business plan.

Who makes the final decision on what to fund?

Momentum Waikato will work through a series of decisions to get from the large number of EOIs, to a smaller number of RFPs, and finally to the successful few that will receive grants. Momentum Waikato’s staff and Board of Trustees, along with granting experts and subject matter experts from the community will all be involved in helping us to get to that final decision point.

Will the grant be made as a one-off lump sum or will it be spread over multiple years?

The types of initiatives we expect to fund are unlikely to achieve transformational outcomes in one year, so we expect grants will be multi-year with subsequent payments based on achieving agreed milestones.

My initiative is not related to either of the two priorities but I have another great idea that I am looking for funding for. Can I still apply?

No. This grant is only for initiatives that focus on:

  • Working together to improve community connectedness
  • Developing better education and pathways for youth.

There may be other granting opportunities in the future that could suit your initiative, so keep an eye on this website for announcements.

What do we do if our initiative fits into more than one criterion?

We see some common ground across the two priorities and we expect that many of the initiatives we hear about will have impact across both criteria.

What feedback will you give us on our application?

Momentum Waikato will let all change-makers know if their initiative has been selected to receive a grant or not. Those proceeding to the second stage will be invited to respond to the RFP with a full business case, and those that are not successful at this stage will be notified.

For the change-makers that are shortlisted at the RFP stage, we will be available to help them with their business case, and will take time to provide feedback to the shortlisted organisations that do not receive a grant.

What are the obligations of successful change-makers?

Momentum Waikato will work alongside those change-makers who receive grants, as we have a vested interest in the successful achievement of the outcomes. While we will need to keep track of progress, it is our intention to keep the reporting requirements as simple as possible, both during and at the conclusion of the initiative. We will also share the change-maker’s story as it develops to inspire others.

What should we do if our organisations circumstances change during the application process – for example if we secure funding from another source?

We ask that organisations let us know of any changes in circumstances as soon as they can so that we can understand the implications. Receiving funding from another source will not disadvantage an application, in fact we actively promote partnership arrangements with other funding sources. However, it may have an impact on how we can distribute the total grant fund available across the successful initiatives.

Will Momentum Waikato invest in initiatives that make a commercial return?

On the face of it, no, however Momentum Waikato might be open to funding initiatives that have a commercial return provided that there is a plan to reinvest that return back into the community.

What are the tax and GST arrangements – for example do we need to be registered for GST? Is the grant GST inclusive or exclusive?

We expect that most change-makers will be GST registered, however we can take into account the organisation’s GST status at the time we make grants. Financial information in the EOI or RFP should be presented exclusive of GST.

Does our initiative need to benefit the whole of the Waikato?

No it doesn’t, although it must respond to a clear need in the Waikato. We have had interest from community organisations working on initiatives that at this stage only benefit their town or community, but could have potential to be scaled regionally or nationally.

Can a local authority apply for funding from this grant?

Momentum Waikato is unlikely to provide funds from this grant to projects that should or could be funded by central, regional or local government. If community groups are working together with a government agency on a new initiative in a priority area that meets the criteria, that could be eligible.

We have an initiative underway and need funding to ensure its continuation – would we be eligible for funding from this grant?

This grant is not intended to support the operational costs of current or ongoing projects or ‘business as usual’. It is also unlikely that initiatives that are already funded in their current form will be successful in receiving a grant from this fund.

It is expected that initiatives will demonstrate ‘newness’ and innovation in some way, for example it may:

  • Be a new initiative altogether
  • Take an existing initiative into a new space through partnerships to create transformational outcomes
  • Involve working in a completely new and inspiring way through collaboration with other organisations
If Momentum Waikato is looking to grant $1m to two to three initiatives, does that mean our initiative needs to be seeking $300,000 - $500,000 in funding? What if we just have a small project?

Momentum has no preconceived ideas on how big - or small - the grants might be, so don’t let the fact that your organisation might only be looking for a small amount of funding put you off submitting an EOI. What is important is that the initiative is looking to have impact in one or both of the priority areas and that it meets the five criteria.