There is $4.2 million a year available through the Ethnic Communities Development Fund. The fund is available for projects that support ethnic communities to grow their skills, celebrate their culture and take part in society.

The priorities of the Ethnic Communities Development Fund have been suspended until further notice. There are new, realigned priorities to support ethnic communities while they navigate the impacts of COVID-19. 

The fund is now available for projects or activities that provide alternative means of staying socially connected, employment initiatives, and community resilience and recovery. 

How to apply for funding, the sorts of projects we fund and where you can get help is provided below.

More information for people who have already made a request for funding, or have submitted an application before 1 April 2020 can be found here or PDF [PDF, 204 KB]

(external link)

How to apply for funding, the sorts of projects we fund and where you can get help is provided below.

Who can apply

Any group can apply if your project supports ethnic communities in New Zealand to stay socially connected, or promotes community resilience and recovery.

Our definition of ethnic communities includes migrants, former refugees, long-term settlers, and those born in New Zealand who identify their ethnicity as:

  • African
  • Asian
  • Continental European
  • Latin American
  • Middle Eastern

Groups with legal status (includes trusts and incorporated societies) can apply for over $10,000. Groups without legal status can apply for up to $10,000.

Back to top

How to make an application

You will need to fill in a funding application(external link). Your project must support the purpose and one of the priorities of the fund. You can make more than one request in a year.


New Zealand communities are welcoming and inclusive, and ethnic communities connect and take part in society.


The realigned priorities of the Fund are:

  • alternative means for ethnic communities to stay socially connected; and
  • community employment initiatives; and
  • community resilience and recovery


Examples of alternative means to stay socially connected include but are not limited to:

  • Translation of COVID-19 content for e-newspapers, newsletters, radio or other ethnic community channels
  • Educational e-initiatives for young people
  • Costs associated with setting up digital platform and content to support communities to come together
  • Ethnic community webinars that support social inclusion, COVID-19 messaging, health and wellbeing online activities.

Examples of community resilience and recovery initiatives include but are not limited to:

  • Information campaigns
    • Translation and interpreting of COVID-19 messages (including health, welfare and business) for ethnic community media channels or e-newsletters
    • Targeting the extremely vulnerable, such as elderly, those with underlying health conditions either through an interpreter directly and or use of ethnic media channels.
  • Welfare and wellbeing projects/initiatives
  • Ethnic Business Support and Advice
  • Volunteer expenses – coordinator salary, administration costs, resources (e.g. personal protective equipment) and volunteer reimbursement (e.g. petrol vouchers). Specialist expenses (community-based counsellor, budget advisor, health nurse/social worker, small business advisor).
  • Operational expenses – e.g. rent, power, phone

You will need to explain how the project will fit one of the priorities.

For example, a project that provides ethnic communities with up to date accurate, timely and translated information via a regular e-newsletter, ensures people are well informed of COVID-19 developments and remain socially connected by having easily accessible information in their native language.

The above are just examples of what activities are possible. We understand that you are best placed to know what your organisation or community needs, so if you have an idea, please contact us to discuss how it aligns with these priorities.

Once your application is submitted, an internal panel looks at the application and makes funding recommendations on the project. The Director, Office of Ethnic Communities makes the final decisions about funding.

You will find out within eight weeks of applying whether you have been successful.

Please note we do not fund:

  • grants to individuals
  • grants for capital works
  • already completed projects
  • debt repayment
  • activities intended to generate profit
  • businesses for profit, political goals, or religious ministry
  • projects to raise money
  • alcohol or similar substances.

See further information about applying for funding(external link).

Ethnic Communities Development Fund - Apply Advice or available in PDF [PDF, 193 KB]


Back to top

Funding for more than one year is available

Your group can apply for multi-year funding if you:

  • have been set up for at least two years
  • show a good grant management history
  • have evidence of good governance and management systems
  • have experience in or can show experience in running a similar project
  • are a legal entity (such as an incorporated society) if the application is more than $10K for any one year.
  • can demonstrate success of the first year of funding

Back to top

Get help with your application

For help with your application contact a Community Advisor via email

Tips for writing a successful application

As well as showing how your projects supports the purpose and priorities there are a few other things you will need to include in your application.

You will need to show that your project will help an ethnic community or communities.

You will need to have a clear start and end date within the next year.

Your project needs to be well designed and planned and delivered in New Zealand.

Your project will need to use the funding within 12 months.

Back to top

Other funding options

If your group or project does not fit the purpose or priorties for this fund, there are other funds that you can apply for. To find out about other funding options, visit the Community Matters website(external link) or contact a Community Advisor via email

Projects we have funded in the past

Successful funding - September 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 137 KB]

Successful funding - August 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 143 KB]

Successful funding - July 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 158 KB]

Successful funding - June 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 128 KB]

Successful funding - May 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 128 KB]

Successful funding - March 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 293 KB]

Successful funding - January 2020 or in Adobe [PDF, 90 KB]

Successful funding - 2019 Funding Round or in Adobe [PDF, 1014 KB]

Successful funding - 2019 Additional Funding Round or in Abobe [PDF, 150 KB]

Successful funding - 2018 Funding Round or in Abobe [PDF, 168 KB]

Successful funding - 2017 Funding Round or in Adobe [PDF, 506 KB]

Successful funding - 2016 Funding Round or in Adobe [PDF, 498 KB]

See your group's previously submitted request(external link)

Back to top 

Last modified: