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How We Fund and Invest

Waikato Vital Signs Data Map

There are three decision-making paths for Momentum Waikato’s funding and investment for social enterprises and community organisations.

  • Our donors themselves choose the charities or causes that are to receive the income from our investment of their donations – see How You Invest.

  • The governance team of one of our dedicated giving circles or named funds makes a grant or investment, applying their own criteria and process – see Our Funds.

  • Momentum Waikato’s own Vital Impact Investment program makes an impact investment from the ‘untagged’ portion of the Waikato Regional Endowment Fund, namely those monies our donors have entrusted to us to create ‘A Better Waikato For Everyone, Forever’, as explained below.

Vital Impact Investment

Momentum Waikato has diversified its approach to funding the change needed for truly inclusive prosperity in our communities and environment. The foundation’s is now using its own capital to directly drive its mission, while still growing its endowment fund.

Our Vital Impact Investment program aims to meet the Waikato Vital Signs wellbeing goals by ‘impact investment’ that seeks both a financial AND a social or environmental return.

We are seeking to actively partner with changemakers, social enterprises and community leadership organisations to deliver financially and socially measurable returns, whether its via projects or ongoing relationships.

This could be in the form of start-up capital, equity stakes, underwrites, low interest loans or, still in some cases, grants.

If a community group or a social enterprise is looking for capital to achieve change, you can pitch to us for an ‘impact investment’ partnership at any time. Regardless of the financial mechanism, we will actively work with those we enable to realise our shared goals of creating ‘A Better Waikato For Everyone, Forever’.

Criteria and parameters

Momentum Waikato’s Vital Impact Investment program is informed by the Waikato Vital Signs community consultation process, carried out every four years.

Priority will be given to regional, transformational projects, at scale, that seek to address one of the following three priority areas of concern, as identified in the Waikato Vital Signs reports.

  • Affordable housing.

  • Educational and development pathways for young people.

  • Increasing community connectedness and access to services, knowledge and support.

Beyond that, investment and funding will be considered for projects and programmes that aim to bring about significant positive change in a locality or across the region to the indicators for the Vital Signs ‘Impact Areas’ - Children and Youth; Strong Communities; Arts and Culture; Economic Vitality; Education; Environment; Health; and Recreation and Sport.

Applicants will need to meet all the following criteria.

  • Respond to a clear need in the Waikato – the challenge is significant and deeply rooted in the Waikato community.

  • Be inspirational – the outcomes are visible and inspire greater community generosity.

  • Be transformational – the outcomes disrupt the status quo to catalyse and accelerate much needed change.

  • Demonstrates leadership – organisations have a track record and the organisational capacity to deliver the outcomes at governance, management and initiative levels.

  • Be scalable and sustainable – the outcomes have the potential to be delivered across the Waikato, and possibly nationally with other players, beyond the time that funding ceases.

In meeting these criteria, it is anticipated that initiatives will be in some way new or innovative. We also actively encourage collaboration across two or more organisations.

Grants and other financial support in the Vital Impact Investment scheme will be assessed by an independent Advisory Panel of subject-matter experts who, following a thorough due-diligence process will make funding recommendations to the Momentum Waikato Distributions Committee.

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Who Can Apply

Momentum Waikato is focused on helping Waikato-based community organisations who have bold ambitions and/or a track record of making a transformational impact in our region.

Specifically, this means initiatives in the local authority areas of:

  • Hamilton City

  • Waikato District

  • Thames-Coromandel District

  • Hauraki District

  • Matamata-Piako District

  • Waipa District

  • South Waikato District

  • Otorohanga District

  • Waitomo District.

See Waikato Vital Signs Data Map


Technically, we can distribute funds to anywhere in New Zealand, however we will normally only make grants to individuals or to non-Waikato organisations where either our donors direct us to do so, or where a project or initiative driven from elsewhere will have a significant impact in the Waikato.

Impact grants and other forms of for-purpose financial support will be considered for organisations that are:

  • a registered charitable trust

  • a limited liability company

  • a registered incorporated society

  • an education institution

  • a social enterprise.

Organisations should have a governing document (such as a constitution, rules, memorandum and articles of association) and a bank account in the organisation’s name with at least two independent signatories.

Grants and other financial support will not normally be available to support day-to-day operating costs.

We will not fund requests to support:

  • contributions to general appeals or circulars

  • religious activity which is not for wider public benefit

  • public bodies to carry out their statutory obligations

  • activities which have already taken place

  • grantmaking by other organisations.

How to Apply

We are happy to discuss your proposal at any stage of development to determine how your project may fit within our investment framework. Contact us via info@momentumwaikato.nz.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we meet with Momentum Waikato before we submit our Vital Impact Investment application?

We are happy to discuss your proposal at any stage of development to determine how your project may fit within our investment framework. Contact us via info@momentumwaikato.nz.

What feedback will you give us on our application?

Momentum Waikato will let all applicants know if their initiative has been successful, or not.

If requested, we are happy to provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

What are the obligations of successful applicants?

Momentum Waikato will work alongside those applicants who receive support from Vital Impact Investment to ensure successful outcomes.

Agreed milestones will be set out in the contract and progress will usually be tracked by quarterly reporting. It is our intention to keep the reporting requirements simple, both during and at the conclusion of the initiative. We will also share the changemaker’s story as it develops to inspire others.

What should we do if our organisations circumstances change during the application process – for example if we secure funding from another source?

We ask that organisations let us know of any circumstances as soon as they can so that we can understand the implications. Receiving funding from another source will not disadvantage an application. We encourage partnership arrangements with other funding sources.

We have an initiative underway and need funding to ensure its continuation – would we be eligible for funding from Vital Impact Investment?

Vital Impact Investment is not intended to support the operational costs of current and ongoing projects or ‘business as usual’. It is also unlikely that initiatives that are already funded in their current form will be successful.  We are no seeking to support the ongoing programme of delivery but initiate and enable new programmes of change or support the scaling of change programmes across the Waikato.

It is expected that initiatives will demonstrate ‘newness’ and ‘innovation’ in some way, for example it may:

  • Be a new initiative altogether;

  • Take an existing initiative into a new space through partnerships to create transformational outcomes;

  • Involve working in a completely new and inspiring way through collaboration with other organisations.

Will Momentum Waikato invest in initiatives that make a commercial return?

Impact Investment prioritises social and environmental outcomes and therefore expects a lower financial return than commercial rates. So, while we do not typically seek a commercial return on our investment, Momentum Waikato will consider funding proposals that include one, IF there is a plan to reinvest it into the community.

Does our initiative need to benefit the whole of the Waikato region?

No it doesn’t, although it must respond to a clear need in the Waikato and with time and funding could have the potential to be scaled regionally or nationally. There may be interest from community organisations working on initiatives that only benefit their town or community as a first step but opportunities for scale and replication are important.

Can a local authority apply for funding from Vital Impact Investment?

If community groups are working together with a government agency on a new initiative in a priority area and the initiative meets the criteria, that could be eligible.