Ethnic Communities Development Fund

Image of people at a conferenceThe Ethnic Communities Development Fund is a contestable fund with a total of $520,000 to be distributed in one funding round each year.

Funding is for projects to be undertaken in the next calendar year 1 January – 31 December.

The fund will open on Wednesday 14 August 2019 and close at midnight on Wednesday 25 September 2019.

For other funding options please visit the Community Matters website or contact a Community Advisor on 0800 824 824 or by email at


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

What we fund

The fund is available for projects that meet the purpose and one of the three funding priorities.

Download an ECDF Information Sheet (PDF 152kb)

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What we do not fund

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
  • grants to individuals
  • for research or capital works
  • for reimbursement of 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

  • Groups with projects that benefit ethnic communities in New Zealand.
  • Groups without legal status are limited to a total of $10,000.Grants over $10,000 may only be approved to organizations 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.

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Funding available

Groups may make just one request in each funding round. If you have a number of different projects you may want to use the social cohesion priority.

There is no limit to the amount that you or your organisation can request.  However, because of pressure on funds, the Ethnic Communities Development Fund is rarely able to provide funding to the level requested and is more likely to consider only a contribution towards a project.

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
  • the project has clearly defined benefits with an outcome (or outcomes) that can be measured and evaluated
  • the project has a clear start and end date within the funding period
  • the project will be undertaken in New Zealand

The Office will establish a Panel to make funding recommendations to the Director, Office of Ethnic Communities. Membership of the Panel will change annually as membership rotates. The final decisions regarding funding are made by the Director, Office of Ethnic Communities. Any correspondence or communications about the fund will be through the Department of Internal Affairs.

Decisions about grants will be available in mid-December 2019.

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Making a funding request

Organizations must provide the following financial information to support their request for a grant.

  • the most recent set of annual accounts, financial statements or performance report
  • a budget showing how the grant will be used.

See further 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 African.

Successful Grants - 2018 Funding Round or (PDF 168kb)

Successful Grants - 2017 Funding Round or (PDF 152kb)

Successful Grants - 2016 Funding Round (PDF 302kb)

See your organisations previously submitted request

Contact details

For assistance call 0800 824 824 or email

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Last updated 07 March 2019