Ethnic Communities Development Fund

The Ethnic Communities Development Fund has replaced the Settling In fund.Image of people at a conference

The Fund has a total of $520k to be distributed in one funding round each year.

Funding is for projects to be undertaken in the following calendar year (1st January – December 31st).

The fund is currently closed for applications.

To check a previously submitted request click here.


Improving  New Zealand’s social cohesion and supporting the development of established and emerging ethnic communities.

What we fund

There are three funding priorities.

Leadership development projects

Social cohesion projects

Cultural events

Projects that build leadership capability within and between ethnic communities. Projects that bring together diverse communities to promote social cohesion and community harmony.  Social cohesion is evident when ethnic people have a sense of belonging and participation and communities are inclusive and value diversity.

Projects that bring communities together to celebrate ethnic language/culture/identity, build intercultural relationships and demonstrate the benefits of ethnic diversity.


Peer mentoring support groups for ethnic leaders, ethnic youth leadership development programmes, governance and media training for ethnic community leader networks


An exhibition to explore issues of identity and belonging, community lecture series on growing an inclusive society.


Multicultural festivals, public Diwali celebrations, cultural spring festival celebrations showcasing cultural traditions to the wider community.

Requests should demonstrate how the project will build leadership capability and capacity among ethnic leader networks. Requests should demonstrate how the project will develop belonging, participation, inclusion and/or valuing diversity for ethnic communities.

Requests should provide an estimate of how many people are expected to attend, and demonstrate how the project will enhance intercultural relationships and demonstrate the benefits of ethnic diversity.

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What projects are not funded

Grants will not be awarded to projects that are:

  • aimed at staff development programmes or an individual’s development
  • for ongoing salaries, and/or administration costs, and/or
  • grants to individuals
  • for research or capital works
  • projects that have  been completed
  • for debt repayment
  • specifically intended to generate profit
  • to promote commercial, political objectives or religious ministry
  • fundraisers
  • for alcohol and similar substances.

Who can apply

Funding is available to not-for-profit groups. Individuals are not eligible for funding from this source. 

Groups without legal status are limited to a total of $10,000.

Funding available

Ethnic Communities Development Fund

Total $520,000.00

Leadership development projects

$100k allocated with grants of approximately  $5-$50k

Social cohesion projects

$300k allocated with grants of approximately  $5k-$50k

Cultural events

$70k allocated with grants of approximately  $1-5k

Plus $50k flexible allocation to any of the categories above

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How much to apply for

As a guide it is recommended that requests are made as follows:

  • Leadership development projects - $5-$50k
  • Social cohesion projects - $5k-$50k
  • Cultural events - $1-5k

Groups can apply to one priority per year.

Grants over $10,000 may only be approved to organisations with legal entity status. Legal entity status includes, but is not limited to, incorporated societies, Trusts registered under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, companies with charitable purposes, local authorities, school boards of trustees and/or Māori trust boards in accordance with the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955.

Registration with Department of Internal Affairs Charities Services does not confer a legal status.

How decisions will be made

Grant decisions will be based on those requests that show:

  • the project is aligned with the purpose of the fund and one of the three funding priorities
  • the project is well designed and planned
  • the group has the capability and capacity to deliver a successful project.

Projects should be undertaken within New Zealand, held in the next calendar year, be cost effective, and have clearly defined benefits and project outcome (or outcomes) that can be measured and evaluated.

The Office has established a Panel to make funding recommendations to the General Manager.  Membership of the Panel will change annually as membership rotates.  The current Panel is comprised of Ranjna Patel, Jason Sebestian, Tayyaba Khan, Vanisa Dhiru and Elizabeth Young. The final decisions regarding funding will be made by the Office of Ethnic Communities, General Manager. Any correspondence or communications about the fund will continue to be through the Department of Internal Affairs.

Making a funding request

There will be one funding round per year.

Funding decisions will be advised early December 2016.

The fund is currently closed for applications.

See information about applying for grants

See our Heritage and Community Language Celebration Guidelines with practical advice for organizing a language celebration.

Additional information

The term ethnic refers to people who are migrants, refugees, long-term settlers, and those born in New Zealand who identify their ethnicity as Asian, Continental European, Middle Eastern, Latin American or African1.

Download an ECDF Information Sheet (PDF 152kb)

Successful Grants - 2016 Funding Round (PDF 302kb)

Contact details

For further assistance call 0800 824 824 or email

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Last updated 30 November 2016