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Update April 2020

The Vital Impact grant round scheduled for the second half of 2020 has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation.

We DO continue to be as ready and willing as ever to consider any proposal that meets the priorities and criteria below, simply contact us to discuss the possibilities.

Momentum Waikato was already reviewing the Vital Impact process, considering a move away from formal ‘grant rounds’, to an open-door-at-all-times policy for pitches and proposals.

‘Vital Signs Investment’ is a model we’re building to offer a wider range of financial support options for change makers and social enterprises. As well as grants, we’re open to supporting Vital Signs’ wellbeing goals via impact investment, shared equity, low-interest loans and other innovative financial tools.

The Covid-19 lockdown has delayed the decision-making around this process, so the exact form of the new regime cannot yet be announced, watch this space!

Grant policy

There are three ways Momentum Waikato makes grants to community organisations.

  • Our donors themselves choose to support the charity or cause that matters most to them;

  • The governance team of one of our dedicated funds; such as the Waikato Women’s Fund, Waikato Cultural Inclusion Fund or Hamilton CBD Development Fund, makes a grant;

  • Our donors enable the Momentum Waikato Distributions Committee, which is made up of Momentum Waikato Trustees, to make strategic decisions on the greatest impact their gifts can have.

Vital Impact Investment

Momentum Waikato’s Vital Impact Investment model is informed by initiatives that address the top community priorities for action, as identified by the Waikato Vital Signs community consultation process, carried out every four years.

Priority will be given to regional, transformational projects, at scale, that seek to address one of the three priority areas of concern identified via the Waikato Vital Signs reports.

  • Affordable housing.

  • Educational and development pathways for young people.

  • Increasing community connectedness and access to services, knowledge and support

Decisions on successfully funded projects by the Vital Impact Grant or other assistance will be applied in the following impact areas. The project must be able to demonstrate a significant positive difference to the indicators identified for each of the areas:

  • Children and Youth;

  • Strong Communities;

  • Arts and Culture;

  • Economic Vitality;

  • Education;

  • Environment;

  • Health;

  • Recreation and Sport.

Momentum Waikato Vital Signs report and data is aligned with the Waikato Wellbeing Project which has developed a set of 10 targets aligned to the United Nations Sustainability Goals.

Grants and other financial support in the Vital Impact Investment scheme 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 Momentum Waikato Distributions Committee.


Momentum Waikato will consider investment and funding initiatives by applicants that meet all 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.

 View our Grant Recipients' stories.

View our Grant Recipients' stories

Contact Us

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

  • Waitomo District.

See Waikato Vital Signs Data 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.

Impact grants and other forms of for-purpose financial support will be considered for organisations that are:

  • a registered charitable trust

  • a limited liability 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 and other financial support 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

We are happy to discuss your proposal at any stage of development to determine how your project may fit within our investment framework. Contact us via

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we meet with Momentum Waikato before we submit our Vital Impact Investment application?

We are happy to discuss your proposal at any stage of development to determine how your project may fit within our investment framework. Contact us via

What feedback will you give us on our application?

Momentum Waikato will let all applicants know if their initiative has been successful, or not.

If requested, we are happy to provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

What are the obligations of successful applicants?

Momentum Waikato will work alongside those applicants who receive support from Vital Impact Investment to ensure successful outcomes.

Agreed milestones will be set out in the contract and progress will usually be tracked by quarterly reporting. It is our intention to keep the reporting requirements simple, both during and at the conclusion of the initiative. We will also share the changemaker’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 circumstances as soon as they can so that we can understand the implications. Receiving funding from another source will not disadvantage an application. We encourage partnership arrangements with other funding sources.

Will funding be provided as a one-off lump sum or spread over multiple years?

The types of initiatives we expect to fund are unlikely to achieve transformational outcomes in one year, so the grant will be paid to successful organisations over a three year or longer period, based on achieving agreed milestones as set out in the grant contract. Usually we would seek a five-year period for return and delivery.

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

Vital Impact Investment is not intended to support the operational costs of current and ongoing projects or ‘business as usual’. It is also unlikely that initiatives that are already funded in their current form will be successful.  We are no seeking to support the ongoing programme of delivery but initiate and enable new programmes of change or support the scaling of change programmes across the Waikato.

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.

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

Impact Investment prioritises social and environmental outcomes and therefore expects a lower financial return than commercial rates. So, while we do not typically seek a commercial return on our investment, Momentum Waikato will consider funding proposals that include one, IF there is a plan to reinvest it into the community.

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

No it doesn’t, although it must respond to a clear need in the Waikato and with time and funding could have the potential to be scaled regionally or nationally. There may be interest from community organisations working on initiatives that only benefit their town or community as a first step but opportunities for scale and replication are important.

Can a local authority apply for funding from Vital Impact Investment?

If community groups are working together with a government agency on a new initiative in a priority area and the initiative meets the criteria, that could be eligible.