Empowering and Supporting Local Communities Grants Program

Applications have now closed.

During COVID-19, we understand that place-based and community led initiatives are critically important in supporting our most vulnerable communities.

We also know that community organisations and local services are best placed to know what their local communities need.

That’s why local community organisations and groups are now eligible to apply for a share of $4 million funding to deliver community-led grassroots projects supporting vulnerable members of our community.

Eligible organisations can apply for funding between $5,000 and $30,000 for their projects.

Read our detailed Grant Guidelines here

Program objectives

This program aims to fund community led initiatives that contribute to:

  • Decreasing the transmission of COVID-19
  • Increasing the number of individuals testing for COVID-19
  • Increasing vaccination rates (including the booster vaccination)
  • Purchase and distribution of essential health-related items to communities (including Rapid Antigen Tests)
  • Building capacity to deliver and / or supporting release and distribution of community led health communications (such as information around booster vaccinations or Rapid Antigen Testing)
  • Encouraging local communities and services to build resilience, recover from and live with the impacts of COVID-19.

A minimum of two of the above program aims will need to be selected by applicants.

Target Groups

Priority target groups for the program are outlined below. Applicants can still apply for funds for initiatives that will support other groups not identified on the list below.

The priority NSW groups are:

  • emerging communities who may not have the established community infrastructure to help support them
  • people with lower digital literacy and other barriers to accessing information
  • young people (particularly those under the age of 24 years)
  • seniors with additional vulnerabilities such as increased need for care, mobility support and experiencing social isolation
  • people with disability
  • carers
  • women who are experiencing hardship
  • families who are struggling to effectively help their children learn from home due to a range of vulnerabilities and barriers
  • people who are experiencing domestic and family violence
  • people who may be working in precarious employment
  • aboriginal communities
  • migrant and refugee communities
  • other communities experiencing hardship

What can be funded?

Activities that can be funded include, but are not limited to:

  1. Delivery of services – which help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example:
    • social and emotional wellbeing support
      keeping communities connected
    • responding to immediate needs
    • advocacy and community information
  2. Purchase of essential items – that assist community led initiatives to support vulnerable cohorts. If you are applying for food relief, your application must clearly outline if and how there is an unmet demand which cannot be satisfied through established food relief services and agencies.
  3. Purchase of essential equipment – which helps community members, staff and volunteers to keep safe from COVID-19, including the purchase of protective gear (such as masks) and other health-related items (such as Rapid Antigen Tests).
  4. Short term leasing of computer hardware – which assist community led initiatives that support vulnerable cohorts. For example leasing computer hardware and equipment like laptops, tablets, modems.
  5. Other community-based activities – which support people to follow and act on public health messages and support one another in response to the pandemic.

Successful applicants may be required to distribute NSW government health messages, to meet the needs of the communities where the projects are being delivered.

To find out if you are eligible to apply, please read the grant guidelines


What will not be funded?

Applications seeking to undertake activities that contradict current health directions and advice will not be supported.

Applications seeking ongoing or recurrent funding for programs will not be supported.

Applications directly from individuals seeking individual personal payments will not be supported.

Applications seeking funding towards ongoing capital expenditure will not be considered.

Applications from for-profit organisations and or commercial enterprises will not be considered.

Applications that are seeking funding for the same stage of a project, or the same project resulting in duplicate funding will not be supported. Multicultural NSW may seek confirmation or clarification regarding a project’s activities and funds sought as part of this program before funds are released.

Funding is not available for:

  • supplementing, increasing, or continuing ongoing service delivery that is the core business of the organisation unless this is directly related to increasing capacity to support the identified target groups impacted by COVID
  • an organisation’s operating costs including office rent and administration costs
  • broader work that the organisation already delivers such as services, programs and activities that support members of the community who are not part of the priority target groups listed in these guidelines
  • projects and/or activities that are not related to COVID-19 response activities
  • reimbursement of expenses already incurred
  • covering existing debts or budget deficits of the organisation
  • party political activities
  • purchase of TV’s, alcohol, tobacco products, gaming services, computer software, entertainment streaming
  • capital works and equipment purchases (for example, purchase of phones, computer hardware, laptops, tablets, routers, modems, webcams, entertainment systems, TVs, etc. will not be funded)
  • commercial or fundraising activities
  • celebration of national or independence days
  • cash prizes or gifts
  • religious festivals, rituals, religious events, or religious promotion.

Assessment criteria

The following criteria will be considered during the assessment process

  • applicant meets the eligibility criteria
  • application form is complete and submitted on time
  • application demonstrates how it will meet program objectives
  • application demonstrates capacity to successfully deliver activities.

Please read the grant guidelines for more information.


Assessment process

Grants are awarded on merit following a competitive assessment process.

All applications for grants are initially reviewed by a Multicultural NSW Grants Officer to ensure mandatory compliance with eligibility criteria and required documentation.

Compliant applications are then assessed by an Assessment Panel convened by Multicultural NSW.

Project Budget

Please note that the project budget will be assessed. All applications must submit a clear and complete project budget outlining project expenditure. The final list of approved budget items will be in line with eligible expenditure and subject to funding availability. In some cases, partial funding may be awarded or not all expenditure items supported for funding.

The project budget will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Reasonability and accuracy of the proposed cost
  • Amount and proportion of expenditure going towards staff related costs (noting that ongoing or recurrent operational and/or administration costs will not be funded)
  • Scope and reach of activities proposed
  • Organisation’s ability to acquit the funds
  • Co-contributions, including cash and in-kind are strongly encouraged.

The Assessment Panel will make recommendations for grant funding to the Delegated Approver who will approve successful applications. Both successful and unsuccessful grant applications will be notified in writing. Multicultural NSW does not provide feedback regarding applications.

Funding agreement

All successful applicants (organisations) will be required to:

  • adhere to the NSW Government’s Public Health Orders and perform the requirements of the project in a COVID safe way
  • have a current COVID Safe Plan
  • distribute COVID-19 public health information and key messaging to community members as part of this program
  • complete a short survey
  • adhere to the reporting expectations of Multicultural NSW
  • participate in meetings and or forums with Multicultural NSW as required to share updates, insights, and learnings and foster collaboration.

If funding is awarded, the Multicultural NSW Grants Program Terms and Conditions will apply to the grant funding agreement.

Applicants will be required to:

  • review the Terms and Conditions and declare that they have read and understood them
  • acknowledge that an agreement based on those Terms and Conditions will apply to the grant
  • if awarded a grant, agree to comply with the Terms and Conditions in acquitting the grant.

Successful applications for funding must be delivered on time and on budget. No extensions to the completion deadline will be provided. If you are successful in receiving funding, the project must be completed and all funds must be expended by 31 October 2022. 

Multicultural NSW would like to partner with successful grant recipients to work through community issues and co-develop solutions to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. This could involve consultation with Multicultural NSW, forums and meetings that will connect grant recipients with each other and government to ensure that solutions are developed with and informed by community.