Innovation Fund

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The purpose of the fund is to support innovative projects that will:

  • Lead to enduring transformational change in the Trust's area.
  • Enable greater impact compared to current practices and existing approaches.

A total fund of $1,000,000 will be available for the period 15 August 2016 - 31 March 2019.

Given the size of the fund it is anticipatd that only a small number of innovations are likely to be able to be supported.

Who can apply

Any incorporated non-profit legal entity currently registered with the Companies Office and operating in our area can apply for a grant including:

  • an incorporated society,
  • an incorporated charitable trust, or
  • a company with charitable purposes.

(You can check your registration at either Societies & Trusts or the Companies Office

Non profit organisations established under:

  • Local Government Act 2002
  • Maori Trust Boards Act 1955
  • Education Act 1989

Eligible types of projects

Innovations can only be considered if they are focused on the Trust's funding area which includes the Southland province, Queenstown, Glenorchy, Arrowtown, Tapanui and Heriot areas.

The fund will be available to support the following stages of innovation:

  • Research, development & feasibility
  • Testing/Piloting 
  • Delivering and implementing
  • Scaling up

Generally applicants will only be eligible to apply to the Innovation Fund once in a 12month period, however applying to the Innovation Fund will not preclude an organisation from applying for other Trust grant funding programmes.

What we won't fund 

The fund will not be available to:

  • Individuals
  • For profit businesses
  • Capital projects or facilities
  • The generating ideas stage of innovation

Application process and timeframes

The application process will include five stages all of which will be completed online, with the exception of Stage One.

  • Stage One - Discussion with Grants Manager Dianne Williams is designed to clarify expectations and processes. (You can contact Dianne on 03 218 2034 or 0800 500 185 or email
  • Stage Two - Expressions of Interest (EOI) will be accepted anytime and on an ongoing basis between 15 August 2016 and 31 March 2019, subject to the fund not being fully allocated prior to 31 March 2019.
    • EOIs will be reviewed to determine the project fit with the Trust's eligibility and funding principles.
    • Trustees will determine which EOI applicants will be invited to submit a Full Grant Application. 
    • EOI applicants that have not been invited to submit a full application will be notified in writing. 
    • Decisions on EOIs will generally be made within 8 weeks of receipt of the EOI.
  • Stage Three - Full Grant Application, will be by invitation only and will require detailed and specific information to enable due diligence and an assessment to be undertaken by grants staff to support Trustees in making an informed decision on the project. 
  • Stage Four - Funding Decision, will involve Trustees considering an application, deciding whether to support the application and determining any specific funding conditions. Decisions on full grant applications will generally be made within four months of receipt of the application.
  • Stage Five - Funding Agreement, will detail specific grant conditions, evaluation and accountability requirements, milestones relating to grant payments, and will be determined in collaboration with successful applicants.

Given the nature of the fund the Trust may request additional information at any stage during the assessment and decision making process. We may also seek external advice and assistance in assessing applications where required.

How to apply

All expressions of interest need to be made online - click here to apply

Overarching principles

The following will need to be demonstrated:

  • Clear evidence of a shift in mindset - greater strategic, system level or transformational thinking.
  • Not a business as usual approach.
  • Potential for significant/transformational change.
  • Clear understanding of the need, issue, challenge or opportunity.
  • Clear understanding of how people/communities will benefit, the level of benefit and the likely outcomes and depth of impact.
  • Understanding of existing initiatives and good practice - evidence base.
  • Level of evidence that supports the stage of innovation.
  • Commitment to collective action i.e. not undertaken in isolation, but rather a willingness to connect and work with others.
  • Consideration has been given to evaluation, to identify what works and likely impacts, and evidence of a commitment to learning, refinement and improvement e.g. an evaluation strategy or adequate plan for evaluation.
  • Capability and credibility of those involved to deliver.
  • Likely long term sustainability without ongoing Trust funding.
  • Potential for broader application/transferability/upscaling.
  • Strong willingness to share lessons learned (successes, challenges and failures).

Accountability, evalaution and reporting 

If your application is successful we will discuss and determine these requirements in consultation with you and these will then be detailed as part of a grant funding agreement.

Need some help or you are ready to discuss your project with us 

Contact our Grants Manager Dianne Williams on 0800 500 185 or email