As we continue to experience unprecedented disruptions that leave communities facing new challenges, funding processes are evolving with the changing landscapes to maintain and grow the support on offer.
Over recent years, a diverse range of innovative approaches to funding have been implemented to provide support that better reflects the needs of communities. These funding initiatives, programmes, and kaupapa seek to address barriers and power imbalances within traditional funding structures.
Foundation North is grateful to several kaupapa that have enabled us to explore new ways of providing funding support. Through participating in innovative funding approaches, the Foundation can learn more about our communities and ensure our practices evolve to become more relevant and accessible.
The Funding Network New Zealand
This year, Foundation North engaged in matched donation funding alongside The Funding Network New Zealand.
Arriving in Aotearoa in June 2014, The Funding Network NZ was co-founded by Nick Edgar and Hilary Sumpter as an affiliate of The Funding Network UK, which was founded in 2002 by Frederick Mulder CBE to spark a worldwide ‘giving revolution’.
The Funding Network NZ is focused on strengthening the fundraising capacity of small, Kiwi grassroots charities, so they can continue to do good in their communities. They have done this in different ways; through creating live crowdfunding events, online crowdfunding events and most recently through their Generosity Generator online fundraising training programme and nationwide crowdfunding event.
“In the last 10 years we’ve walked alongside a large number of small Kiwi charities, training and coaching them in online fundraising and growing their giving community. Through this we get to know them and their mahi and the challenges they face.”
Since 2014, The Funding Network NZ has supported over 150 charities with training, and helped 129 charities raise a collective total of over $1.25 million in funds. While the kaupapa had evolved to adapt to the changing environment, the capacity building of small Kiwi grassroots charities has remained at the forefront, and has provided an opportunity for funders to engage with a greater number of small Kiwi charities through matched donation funding.
Foundation North’s relationship with The Funding Network NZ began in 2020 and was one of the Foundation’s first forays into matched donation funding. Since then, the Foundation has been able to engage with a greater number of small, grassroots charities, that we may not have been able to engage with without this model.
Over the year, Foundation North was able to support four organisations through this funding model, each time matching up to $10,000 worth of donations during two of the Generosity Generator nationwide crowdfunding events. This has enabled us to create new relationships with charities and organisations and grown the types of support we have been able to provide.
Through matched donation funding, we have been able to better support our priority communities. From kaupapa that provides safe spaces for Muslim women to learn and develop as leaders, through to programmes that help parents understand how to talk about climate change with their children.
“Small Kiwi charities are some of the most under-resourced organisations in the country, and yet they are the ones on the frontline, addressing significant social or environmental issues in their community or region at the grassroots level. They are a crucial lifeline for people and natural environments across the country.”
Matched donation funding is a great way to support community-led mahi, build new relationships with grassroots organisations, and provide a diverse stream of funding support. The Funding Network NZ’s wraparound support ensures that as organisations receive funding and donations – they are also able to strengthen the capacity and capability of their teams, enabling their social change mahi is better supported and grown authentically.
Asian Artists' Fund
Participatory grantmaking initiatives serve as a reciprocal funding process that shifts the power from funders into the hands of the communities we mahi to support. Participatory grantmaking frameworks aim to address blind spots in funding processes that create barriers to accessing grants.
When creating funds that aim to support a particular community or kaupapa, there is growing recognition surrounding the power imbalances between funding organisations and the community. One response to this power imbalance is to bring the impacted communities into the room where it all happens. No one understands community need more than the members of these communities themselves; and inviting participants to help design targeted funds enables community voice to not only be heard but acted on.
Recent research from Creative New Zealand has highlighted that, Asian artists, underrepresented in the sector, face barriers and disparity during funding processes when seeking funding for projects and initiatives.
To address these insights, the Asian Artists’ Fund (AAF) was created in partnership between Foundation North and Creative New Zealand.
Designed using participatory grantmaking principles, the second iteration of the AAF opened for applications in December 2022 and closed in March 2023. The fund seeks to transfer funding power to the community it was created to support, Asian artists. Co-designed and assessed by a group of Asian artists and practitioners who made the final grant recommendations, the result of their mahi were targeted grants, specifically for their community. In co-designing the fund itself, the team created a funding process that allowed applicants to authentically represent their ideas and initiatives, without compromising their visions to fit application requirements.
Additionally, three Outreach Advisors connected with applicants to provide support and advice on how to develop a strong grant application. Over the application period of the AAF, the fund received over 60 applications from artists and collectives, with a total of $1.6 million requested. These numbers provided valuable insight into the need currently experienced within the artistic community.
Through the second iteration of the fund, $650,000 was made accessible to successful applicants, with a maximum grant of $35,000 per applicant. Applications ranged from Indian classical dance exploration to publications focused on sharing stories of experiences and culture. The diverse range of applicant kaupapa showcases the thriving arts scene within Tāmaki and Tai Tokerau Asian communities, and a drive to share individual and collective experiences, relate, connect, and create.
The Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund
The Rule Foundation was established in 2008 as a charitable trust to facilitate the distribution of funds left by the estate of Peter Rule in support of projects and activities that mahi to uplift Rainbow, Takatāpui, and MVPFAFF+ communities.
Over 15 years, the Rule Foundation has provided grants to individuals and collectives that drive the improvement of health, wellbeing and visibility of Rainbow communities in Aotearoa. In 2019, the New Zealand Government endowed $1 million to the Rule Foundation in recognition of the men who were convicted for consensual homosexual activity prior to 1986, forming the Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund (RWLF). The idea for the fund, however, was conceptualised a year earlier by the men who had faced conviction before the Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 and have or are currently being expunged of their convictions.
Foundation North first contributed to the RWLF in 2022, providing $99,999 to the Rule Foundation for the third iteration of the fund. This contribution, combined with an additional endowment from the New Zealand Government, saw $299,999 in grants distributed to mental health focussed programmes across the rohe. Organisations such as Body Positive Inc., Te Huia and Rangiwhero Whānau Trust, and China Pride were grant recipients of the 2022 round.
“The Rule Foundation is a by rainbow, for rainbow, funder established from the estate of Peter Rule. We fund a broad range of projects, have a simple application process, and strong relationships within rainbow spaces. By partnering with the Rule Foundation, Foundation North can leverage these strengths to increase access to philanthropic funding for rainbow communities.”
Supported by this funding were outreach programmes, sexual health support, research projects, and educational initiatives. The RWLF has enabled initiatives large and small to continue their mahi toward a more inclusive and equitable Aotearoa.
The ongoing impact of the global pandemic and cost of living crisis has put communities under immense stress. With communities experiencing greater need, many are left without the funding support they need to continue their mahi. Funds such as the RWLF enable greater access to grants, and create equitable, relevant funding processes designed with the needs of the communities they serve at the forefront.
Building on this success, Foundation North contributed $200,000 in funds toward the 2023 round of the RWLF, which closed in July. This contribution, combined with the Ministry of Youth Development’s $100,000 addition to the round, made $500,000 in grants available to Rainbow programmes and initiatives.