About the Community Environment Fund

About the Community Environment Fund and the criteria projects must meet to be eligible for funding.

Fund purpose

The purpose of the Community Environment Fund is to empower New Zealanders to make a positive difference to the environment. It supports projects that strengthen environmental partnerships, raise environmental awareness and encourage participation in environmental initiatives in the community. The fund has an annual appropriation of $2.172 million.

Eligibility criteria

Eligible applications are assessed by an independent review panel. The panel makes recommendations to the Minister for the Environment who decides which projects will be invited to enter the next stage of the funding round.

1.    The project will contribute to one or more of the following:

    • strengthening partnership
    • raising environmental awareness  
    • encouraging participation in environmental initiatives in the community

    2.    The project is for a discrete timeframe of up to three years. After this time, the project objectives will have been achieved and, where appropriate, the initiative will have become self-funding.

    3.    The applicant is a legal entity.

    4.    The application is seeking between $10,000 and $300,000 (excluding GST) from the Community Environment Fund.

    Preference will be given to:

    • Applicants that demonstrate their project will support more than one of the following objectives:
      • raise awareness and involvement in resolving environmental issues
      • involve the community in practically focused action to improve environmental quality
      • support and strengthen collaboration between organisations to find community solutions to environmental challenges
      • provide improved community-based advice, educational opportunities and public information about environmental legislation and policy
      • provide wider economic, social or cultural benefits.    
    • Applicants that demonstrate:
      • their ability to deliver the project
      • the likelihood of the project’s success 
      • how the effectiveness of the project will be monitored, evaluated and reported
      • how the project will continue after funding ends and become self-sustaining (where applicable).
    • ​​Projects that have shared funding (the level of funding from other sources will considered).
    • Projects which focus on supporting community initiatives that contribute to:
      • reduced greenhouse gas emissions
      • improved freshwater management
      • improved coastal management
      • improved air quality
    • Projects with strategic value in achieving the purposes of the Fund. Strategic value means the likely ability of projects to act at catalysts that enhance and extend the uptake of good environmental practice.
    • Projects that collectively give the largest net benefit over time.

    Applicants of projects better suited to other government funding streams, such as the Waste Minimisation Fund - Pūtea Whakamauru Para or Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund - Pūtea Whakaora Wāhi Tāhawahawa, will be expected to apply to those funds before the Community Environment Fund.

    Applicants with biodiversity focused projects are expected to apply to the Department of Conservation’s Community Fund Pūtea Tautiaki Hapori [Department of Conservation website]