Apply for Funding

Welcome to our ‘Apply for Funding’ page where you will find some key information and a short quiz. The quiz is designed to save you time by providing you with some guidance around whether your application is likely to fit within our funding parameters.

If you are interested in applying for funding, we recommend that you complete this quiz as your first step. Once you are confident that your programme or initiative fits our funding focus, you can complete the application form – a link is located at the end of the quiz.

Our Funding Focus

The J R McKenzie Trust was established as a charitable trust in 1940. Each year the Trust receives a dividend from its assets, that it can apply towards projects and initiatives that contribute to our vision A socially just and inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand: Kia hua mai he whenua ka toko i te tika me te pono hei korowai mō Aotearoa.

Click Here to read our full Strategy and Funding Focus.

The Trust offers a range of grants to eligible community organisations and advocacy groups with an emphasis on long-term change – working with the aim of reducing the need for health and social services over time.

What We Do and Don't Fund

The Trust has three focus areas for funding:

  • Disadvantaged Children and their whānau: those disproportionately affected by poverty and exclusion
  • Māori Development: Māori-led and supported activities, by Māori for Māori
  • Issues of Social Justice and Inclusion: marginalised people and unpopular causes

If a project fits within one of our funding focus areas, then the kinds of activities we are interested in funding include:

    • CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT – activities that strengthen leadership, participation, community skills and resources
      • Leadership – skills in social innovation and enterprise, governance, management, community engagement, collaboration and sector leadership, etc.
      • Participation – engaging users and communities as participants and decision makers; diverse groups working together; participation of citizens in iwi/hapū, communities and civic affairs, etc.
      • Community skills – training for staff, volunteers and members in community organisations; developing and disseminating resources on what works, developing communities’ leadership and self reliance
    • MĀORI DEVELOPMENT – Tino Rangatiratanga, self-determined development activities
      • Supporting the wellbeing and aspirations of whānau, hapū, iwi and communities
      • ‘by Māori and for Māori’ and utilising a kaupapa Māori approach
      • Ensuring Māori participation in decision-making
      • Māori economic development and provision for long-term sustainability of outcomes
    • SOCIAL CHANGE – advocacy and other work towards social and systemic change
      • Systemic change – increasing opportunity for the least well off and reducing the need for social services in the long term
      • Advocacy – ‘voice’ for people or groups whose ability to influence systems is limited
      • Social change activity based on evidence

We prefer to fund multi-year projects that demonstrate impact and financial sustainability.

Click here to learn more about the projects we are currently funding.

We Do Fund We Don’t Fund
  • Social development projects
  • Scaling or evaluating a project
  • Resource development or digitisation
  • Events that are part of a project
  • Skills training or professional development opportunities
  • Māori-led projects ‘for Māori, by Māori’
  • Activities that have financial sustainability goals
  • Advocacy or systems change projects where people affected by policies are given a chance to have their voices heard
  • Innovative projects that have long term goals to improve people’s lives
  • Provision and delivery of services in the health and education sectors
  • Individuals or advocacy for individuals
  • Sporting groups
  • Schools, early childhood centres and other academic institutions
  • Out-of-school care and arts programmes
  • Rest homes and hospitals
  • Environmental groups
  • Disaster relief organisations
  • Uniformed youth groups
  • The purchase of land, buildings, equipment or vehicles
  • The promotion of religion
  • Building construction and alterations
  • Overseas travel
  • Projects already completed
  • Conference or event costs where income could be derived to recover what we would fund


Our Processes and Key Dates

Each year, we run two funding rounds for groups seeking support for projects and initiatives that fit our funding focus. The full process for successful applicants takes four to five months. Unsuccessful applicants will be advised if they have not been selected for funding within six weeks of outline applications closing.

You may submit one application only per calendar year.

All outline applications received are assessed by staff and a subcommittee of Trustees in a double review process and a shortlist is agreed. Applicants who are shortlisted are notified six weeks after the closing date of their outline application submission that a full application can be submitted.

Our next funding round opens 8 July 2020 and closes 12 August 2020.

Round One:

  • opens for outline applications in December
  • closes for outline applications in March
  • In July, the J R McKenzie Trust Board will meet and decide which programmes and initiatives will receive funding.

Round Two:

  • opens for outline applications in July
  • closes for outline applications in August
  • In December, the J R McKenzie Trust Board will meet and decide which programmes and initiatives will receive funding.

For each Round, the following steps apply:

  • six weeks after the closing date you will be notified if you have been shortlisted
  • shortlisted groups will have approximately one month to submit a full application
  • a panel of 3 – 4 people from the J R McKenzie Trust will visit your organisation during this time to see and hear what you do and offer support for completing your full application
  • J R McKenzie Trust staff members are available by phone or email to help you with both the outline and full applications, and can review a draft full application if required

Other Funds We Support

  • Working Together More Fund

    The Working Together More Fund (WTMF) – He Pūtea Mahi Tahi – was established to help groups wanting to work together to achieve greater results for our communities.

    Representatives of funders Wayne Francis Charitable Trust, J R McKenzie Trust, Todd Foundation, and The Tindall Foundation came together in 2009 to discuss how they could best support NGOs to manage through the recession and into the years ahead. The funders commissioned research and consultation into collaboration and found that:

      • Community groups work together a lot already
      • Successful collaboration takes time and isn’t always easy
      • It’s unlikely to work if forced
      • It can add significant value to groups’ effectiveness and efficiency

    In October 2009, the WTMF was launched. In October 2011, The Hugh Green Foundation joined the group, and was followed by the DV Bryant Trust in December 2013.

    For more information and to apply visit the website.

  • Deaf Development Fund - CLOSED

    Please note this fund has now closed.

    In 1992, Sir Roy McKenzie established the Deaf Decade Trust funded by his Rangatira Ltd shares. Sir Roy originally planned the fund to operate for ten years, but it continued supporting initiatives until the end of 2017. Called the Deaf Development Fund (DDF), it operated as a committee of the J R McKenzie Trust. 

    The purpose of the DDF was to support projects that contribute to the development of the Deaf/NZSL community. DDF especially sought to fund projects that may not fit the criteria of larger funding sources. Grants were made to organisations, community groups and individuals for a wide range of purposes. They ranged in size from under $500 to $10,000, with most grants being under $4,000. 

    Grant decisions were made by the DDF committee, Lesley Carmichael, Rachel McKee, and Victoria Manning. 


    DDF funded Deaf Studies Awards to support Deaf people to train as NZSL teachers in the ‘Certificate in Deaf Studies: Teaching NZSL’ programme at Victoria University of Wellington. The Sir Roy McKenzie VUW Deaf scholarships were also funded by DDF. These awards will continue to be available through the Victoria University Scholarships Office.

  • J R McKenzie Youth Education Fund

    Having a very similar name means that we are often contacted with applications for this fund. The Youth Education Fund is a separate funding body established by J R McKenzie. Although similarly named, this fund is not run by the J R McKenzie Trust. It is administered and distributed by Rotary District representatives around the country.

    The funding focus is on providing assistance where death, sickness, family breakup, or economic hardship causes difficulty for young people and their caregivers to meet the young person’s education costs.

    For more information on the types of things funded by the J R McKenzie Youth Education Fund, and who to contact, visit  

Currently Funded Projects – Stories from Ngā Kaikōkiri

Ngā Kaikōkiri means the people who champion, promote, advocate and lead their communities. These are the people behind the organisations and projects J R McKenzie Trust provides funding for.

If you’re interested in learning more about these projects, please check out our Stories page here. You can also subscribe to our quarterly newsletter ‘He Pito Mata’.