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Applying for community grants

About our Community Grant Program

This Community Grants Program aims to work in partnership with community groups and individuals to create a sustainable, active, healthy, inclusive and empowered Merri-bek. The Program is based on Council’s Community Grants Policy and provides support for new and innovative initiatives that respond to emerging community needs.

It is a competitive process and limited by the amount of funds available. Applicants are not guaranteed funding, nor the full amount requested. Projects funded previously cannot be guaranteed funding in future years. This needs to be considered when developing an application.

  • The objectives of this program are aligned with the themes in the Council Plan 2021-2025 that has been shaped by the voice of the community:
    An environmentally proactive Merri-bek: To strive for maximum protection of people, plants and animals through leading an urgent response to the climate emergency and a regeneration of our natural environment.
    Moving and living safely in Merri-bek: To contribute to the health, safety, and security of everyone living in our diverse community and to increase safe, accessible, physically active and enjoyable ways to get around Merri-bek, especially via walking, cycling and public transport.
    A healthy and caring Merri-bek: To support Merri-bek to become a more inclusive, connected, healthy and caring community through providing equitable access to community facilities and services and facilitating local partnerships and programs
    Vibrant spaces and places in Merri-bek: To create welcoming, unique spaces and places across Merri-bek that attract and connect everyone, improving access to community facilities and affordable housing and encouraging vibrant artistic, social and economic activity.
    An empowered and collaborative Merri-bek: To build community trust through encouraging participation, evidence-based decision making, stewardship of resources and being accessible and responsive.

  • Applications that meet one or more of the Funding Priorities, will score higher in the assessment process:

    • The project supports Council’s priority communities including:
      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,
      Migrant and refugee communities,
      People with disability,
      Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual plus, Transgender and gender diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual and Aromantic communities (LGBTIQA+),
      Women,
      Youth,
      Seniors.
    • The project is planned and delivered by community groups and organisations that work together,
    • The project has clear benefits for people living in Merri-bek,
    • The project considers its environmental impact and tries to minimise it where possible.
  • Inclusion: Providing opportunities for individuals and groups to meaningfully take part in community life.
    Equity: Consciously addressing the barriers faced by disadvantaged groups and individuals.
    Impact: Taking a purposeful and strategic approach to funding projects that deliver meaningful social impact.
    Capacity building: Supporting individuals and groups to develop practices, skills and resilience to shape their own futures.
    Collaboration: Encouraging networks and partnerships to deliver exceptional strategic outcomes together.
    Transparency: Delivering a funding program that is transparent and accountable in all processes and decisions.

Who Can apply

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements. Ineligible applications will not be assessed. Eligible Applicants are:

    • Must be a Not-for-Profit community group, organisation or club,
    • Must be incorporated or auspiced by another incorporated organisation,
    • Have adequate public liability insurance,
    • Have acquitted previous Council grants and have no outstanding debts to Council,
    • Must be able to supply financial statements and requested supporting documentation,
    • Must ensure the proposed activity is consistent with Local, State and Federal laws.
    • Must be a resident of Merri-bek,
    • Show that they have been invited to participate in an activity by an organisation or group,
    • Show that there are financial barriers to participating in the activity,
    • Individuals may only apply under the Community Participation Grant (for individuals)

Application Process

A number of steps are required to be completed when applying for a community grant. The process is outlined below: 

  • We ask that you discuss your proposal with a Council Officer relevant to the focus area. Contact the Community Grants team on  9240 1111 or email Council Grants to be linked with the right Council Officer. 

    Speaking with a Council Officers can help to develop your ideas and provide guidance on Council’s priorities and support your  group to create partnerships and collaborations. 

  • 1.  Read the Community Grants Guidelines PDF 1.2KB.
    2.  Check eligibility against the Eligibility Criteria.
    3.  Discuss your application with a Council Officer.
    4.  Identify all costings needed for your proposal. 
    5.  Link with other groups and provide letters of support
    6.  View the application form online at https://moreland.smartygrants.com.au
    7.  Fill out the application form with all information requested
    8.  Provide all supporting documentation to attach electronically to your submission, including photographs, quotes, financial statements and insurance.
    9.  Submit your application online by the closing date. You will receive an email instantly confirming the application has been submitted

    Community Grants Program help sheet - Preparing your application (PDF)

    Community Grants Program help sheet - Completing the budget (PDF)

     

  • Collaborations and partnerships
    -
    Collect written support from other community organisations clearly indicating their contribution and how they will support the project.

    Costing and budget
    -
    Obtain quotes or pricing for all costs items - see the Costs and Budget Fact Sheet

    Financial and Legal Requirements
    -
     Collect your organisations ABN and tax status
    - Collect Certificate of Incorporation (not-for-profit incorporated groups)
    - Collect 
    Certificate of Public Liability Insurances Certificate
    - Letter confirming Auspice (if not incorporated)
    - Collect latest endorsed Financial Statements of organisation, as presented at most recent AGM.

     

     

  • When you are ready to submit your grant application, you’ll use an online program called SmartyGrants.  SmartyGrants lets you complete sections of your application in stages, save your progress and return to it later (you don’t need to do it all at once). Your application will be stored online, so there’s no need to save it to your computer.

    SmartyGrants is user friendly, but please keep the following in mind.

    • It’s helpful to read the SmartyGrants Help Guide for Applicants before you start the application form,
    • Allow plenty of time to complete your online application, so that if you run into difficulties, you can seek help,
    • Fields marked with an asterisk must be completed.
    • As part of completing the form, you need to upload supporting documents. Files must be no greater than 25mb but are best kept under 5mb each,
    • If you aren’t familiar with uploading files, please see if someone in your group knows how,
    • Please ensure the supporting documents you upload are the appropriate documents required for your application,
    • See what documentation do I need for information on the documents you need to supply
    • To avoid losing your work, remember to regularly save your progress in SmartyGrants every 10-15 minutes, as the form logs you out after 30 minutes of inactivity. You can receive support from a Community Grants team member (9240 1111 or e-mail communitygrants@moreland.vic.gov.au) before the closing date.
    • Review your responses, and then submit your application.
    • You will receive an email instantly confirming the application has been submitted.

    Applications will not be assessed unless they are formally submitted.

    Speak with us if you need to submit your application in another format. Example: hand written form or in another language.

    Late applications will not be accepted.

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What we won't fund

To make sure the Community Grant funding lines up with Council’s values and vision, there are some things we don’t fund. Please refer to the following list to ensure that your activities meet the criteria before you apply.

  •  

    What’s not funded
    Explanation

    Projects that do not align with the Community Grant Program Principles and Objectives

    The aims and priorities for our Community Grants are outlined in the sections:  Please read this and consider whether or not your project meets these aims/priorities.

    Applications that don’t meet the requirements of the grant category

    Each grant has unique eligibility requirements. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements listed for the grant type you seek, you can’t be considered.

    Legal fees or debts

    Funding is focused towards community activities that benefit Merri-bek.

    Fundraising activities. Projects that are for general fundraising and fundraising events, competitions, trophies, prizes or awards.

    We are not saying that your group can’t fundraise, have competitions or award prizes, but because we are granting public funds, we can’t financially support fundraising activities.

    Permanent public art installations

    Funding is focused towards community activities and projects, rather than any arts infrastructure. Contact: arts@moreland.vic.gov.au.

    Projects that have already started or have been completed

    If you’ve already completed a project or staged an event, or if you‘ve commenced work on a project (beyond initial planning/ scoping), you won’t be eligible for a Community Grant for that project/activity.

    Activities that are part of an organisation’s regular program or that duplicate an existing program (except for applications to the Membership Activity Grant category)

    Items that are part of an organisation’s core business or normal operating expenses e.g. salaries, insurances, utilities, rental of business premises (except for applications to the Organisational Establishment Grant category)

    Our Community Grants are designed to support our community members. With limited pools of funds available, our grants are not available to fund and supplement existing employees and wages, operating costs and other core business program and expenses.

    Projects that are the funding responsibility of other levels of government.

    State-wide activities that do not directly benefit the Merri-bek community

    Funding is focused towards community-led local activities that benefit people in Merri-bek. We can’t financially support these initiatives.

    Privately-owned, for-profit businesses

    This funding program is focused towards not-for- profit community-led  groups. For privately-owned businesses, contact Economic Development e-mail business@moreland.vic.gov.au

     

    Canvassing or lobbying of councillors, employees of the Merri-bek City Council or assessment panel members in relation to any grant, subsidy and sponsorship applications is prohibited.

How we assess grants

We assess eligible applications using the criteria listed below and funding is awarded based on merit and information submitted in the application.

The Assessment Process involves several stages, which is why it takes a little time before you find out the outcome of your application.

  • We assess eligible applications using the criteria listed below and funding is awarded based on merit and information submitted in the application.

    % of score

    Criteria

    How we assess applications

    40%

    Supports Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities

    35%

    Demonstrates community need

    • Why is the project needed?
    • How many local people will benefit from the project?
    • What benefits will the project have for the community?
    • Has the applicant asked local people or groups if this project is needed?
    • Is there anything else like this project in Merri-bek?

    25%

    Has capacity to implement the project

    • Is the project well planned and achievable within the timeframes?
    • Does the organisation have the resources and experience to manage the program?
    • Does the budget reflect value for money?
    • Is there evidence of in-kind contribution?
  • Council is committed to ensuring that the assessment of all grant applications is completed in a fair and transparent manner.

    The Assessment Process involves several stages, which is why it takes a little time before you find out the outcome of your application.

    • The Community Grants team conducts eligibility checks based on the Community Grants Policy and Guidelines. Applications that meet the eligibility criteria continue to the next assessment stage. (Eligibility checks relate to the information in the Who can apply and What we won’t fund sections.)
    • Eligible applications are then assessed by an Assessment Panel, who will come up with a list of applications recommended for funding.
    • Applications requiring an EOI for a Structural Improvement Grant will undergo a preliminary assessment process, including an interview and site visit where necessary, and be short-listed. Shortlisted applicants will then be asked to submit Part 2 of the application form, along with any additional supporting information, which will be further assessed by the Assessment Panel.
  • Are assessed throughout the financial year and are available until all monies are expended.

    Applications are assessed by a Council Officer to ensure all eligibility criteria have been met.

    Officers from across Council are consulted where specialist advice is required in formulating recommendations.

    Eligible applications are then assessed by an Assessment Panel, who will come up with a list of applications recommended for funding.

    Allow at least 4 - 6 weeks for the application process.

My application is successful

Successful Applicants will need to accept funding and agree to the items and terms stated in the Funding Agreement. Please read the agreement carefully because you are entering into a legal agreement with Council. More information is below about your responsibilities and other requirements.

  • Funding conditions as per theCommunity Grants Policy (DOC 82Kb):

    • All projects must specify a completion date and must complete the prescribed evaluation/acquittal on completion of the funded project or within 30 days of the end date on the funding agreement, whichever is earlier.
    • Successful Applicants will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement with Council, which outlines the responsibilities of the grant recipient and Council.
    • Funding will only be issued after the agreement is signed by Council and the grant recipient. Payments and terms will be specified within funding agreement for each category.
    • Funding must only to be used for the purposes outlined in the offer of the grant by Council. Any request for variation to the agreed purposes must be made in writing.
    • Signing of the Funding Agreement and/or Acceptance of Funding constitutes acceptance of all conditions within this policy and the guidelines relevant to the specific grant.
    • Council reserves the right to withdraw funding if objectives, eligibility or funding conditions are breached.
    • Receiving a letter of offer for a project does not absolve the recipient of statutory approvals required for the given project. The onus to obtain any relevant permits or approvals is upon the grant recipient.
    • Moreland City Council must be acknowledged in all promotional material for the funded project as indicated on the letter of offer and funding agreement. The use of Council's logo is strictly prohibited for any other use.
    • Successful Applicants will return unspent funds to Council as per agreed terms specified within the Funding Agreement.
    • Successful Applicants will be required to report on the spending of funding (grant acquittal), minimum requirements include, receipts, photographs, flyers and publications.
    • If the funding application is successful, Council requires the Applicant to sign a binding agreement to confirm the basis and arrangements for funding. This agreement will include a number of reporting and monitoring requirements in accordance with the amount of funding allocated.
  • If you receive a grant from Council, you’ll be expected to:

    • Spend the money for the purpose outlined in your application and Funding Agreement.
    • If your plans change (timing / budget / project), you need to submit a variation request to Council, and have it approved, before you make any changes to your project.
    • If you spend the grant differently than your application / Funding Agreement without approval, Council will ask for all grant monies to be returned.
    • Submit an Acquittal/Accountability Report that shows how the grant money was used, as set out in the Funding Agreement.
    • Return any unspent funds to Council.
    • Acknowledge Council’s support in any advertisements, flyers or other activities used to promote the project.
    • Tell people about the funded activity or project. Please note, evidence of promotion will be required in your acquittal.
    • Support Council's campaign to encourage the community to support local businesses by buying local goods and services.

    As part of the Community Grant accountability process, we reserve the right to audit any and all Community Grant recipients for compliance with the grant conditions and expenditure of grant monies received.

  • Once you have received approval for a grant you will receive notification that will include instructions on how to access your funding agreement and how Council will pay your grant funds. Payment can only be made once you return your funding agreement to accept the terms of the funding.

    Make sure you adhere to any special conditions that are outlined in your funding agreement or letter. Tell us in advance if you anticipate your funded activity or project will be different from your application in any way.

    Funding conditions as per the Community Grants Policy (DOC 82Kb):

    • All projects must specify a completion date and must complete the prescribed evaluation/acquittal on completion of the funded project or within 30 days of the end date on the funding agreement, whichever is earlier.
    • Successful Applicants will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement with Council, which outlines the responsibilities of the grant recipient and Council.
    • Funding will only be issued after the agreement is signed by Council and the grant recipient. Payments and terms will be specified within funding agreement for each category.
    • Funding must only be used for the purposes outlined in the offer of the grant by Council. Any request for variation to the agreed purposes must be made in writing.
    • Signing of the Funding Agreement and/or Acceptance of Funding constitutes acceptance of all conditions within this policy and the guidelines relevant to the specific grant.
    • Council reserves the right to withdraw funding if objectives, eligibility or funding conditions are breached.
    • Receiving a letter of offer for a project does not absolve the recipient of statutory approvals required for the given project. The onus to obtain any relevant permits or approvals is upon the grant recipient.
    • Moreland City Council must be acknowledged in all promotional material for the funded project as indicated on the letter of offer and funding agreement. The use of Council's logo is strictly prohibited for any other use.
    • Successful Applicants will return unspent funds to Council as per agreed terms specified within the Funding Agreement.
    • Successful Applicants will be required to report on the spending of funding (grant acquittal), minimum requirements include, receipts, photographs, flyers and publications.
    • If the funding application is successful, Council requires the Applicant to sign a binding agreement to confirm the basis and arrangements for funding. This agreement will include a number of reporting and monitoring requirements in accordance with the amount of funding allocated.

     

  • Each grant recipient is required to submit an Acquittal Form within one month of completion of the project. The acquittal includes questions about how many people participated in the event/program, what adjustments were made to the project as it unfolded, and whether the aims and objectives outlined in the application were met. The acquittal also includes a financial report, which shows how the funding was spent. You are required to keep accurate and up-to-date records including itemised receipts issued when funding is spent.

    The required acquittal form is attached to each successful application. Links to the acquittal forms are listed under each application in the 'My submissions' area of SmartyGrants.

    To access an acquittal form, please log onto SmartyGrants, click on the 'My Submissions' tab and scroll down to the specific grant. You can then complete and submit the acquittal.

    • Please keep receipts for all expenditure items to upload into your online acquittal.

    Facility Improvement Grants are required to submit completions certificates and evidence of occupancy when the project is complete to receive the final payment of funding.

  • Grant recipients must acknowledge Council with the text "This project is financially assisted by Merri-bek City Council's (name of grant category and program)".

    Please ensure you acknowledge the Community Grant funding contribution on all publications and advertising for your funded activity.

    Please use the grants logo to acknowledge support, the grants team can provide support and approval for your advertising and promotions of the funded activity.  

    Don’t forget to provide opportunity for a Council representative to speak and attend the launch or opening of the project.  

    Example of logo is below: Email us at communitygrants@moreland.vic.gov.au for more logos and help with promotion. 

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    If you need to use the community grants specific logo, email us at communitygrants@moreland.vic.gov.au and a copy will be emailed or sent to you.

    Versions of the Council logo are available in vertical and horizontal formats. The vertical version is preferred.

  • Any change to the project will require a formal variation request. This request is assessed and approval by the assessment panel. Written approval can only be issued by Councils Grants Team. Do not make changes to your project without receiving approval. You will be notified of the outcome

    A variation to a project may change how, when or the expenditure of a component of a funded project, while maintaining the outcomes of the project. Changes to the funded activity must be submitted via a Funding Variation Request form on SmartyGrants. Please request a variation form to be added to your submission. Discuss any proposed changes with the Grants Officer via e-mail or phone.

    Significant variation proposals that change the scope and impacts the outcomes approved by Council, may be viewed as a new project and a variation may not be supported.

     

Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly asked questions about grants and whats required when applying for a grant.

    • Seek letters of support and establish partnerships and links with other groups.
    • Get quotes for all expenses for your proposal.
    • Obtain copy of Certificate of Public Liability Insurances Certificate
    • Letter confirming Auspice (if not incorporated)
    • Obtain most recent Financial statements of organisation (as accepted at most recent AGM).
    • Written confirmation of any external funding contributions.
  • Your applicaiton must demonstrate you have sought a fair price and value for money. Therefore, you must demonstrate how your proposed budget expenses were ascertained. 

    • A written quote directly from the service provider.
    • A screen capture of the estimated cost from a reputable provider.
    • The costing should provide adequate description and detail for the assessorment panel to make their decision. 
  • Incorporation gives your group its own legal identity (the group becomes a 'separate legal entity' separate from its members). The incorporated group can enter into contracts, sign a lease, employ people, and sue and be sued.

    Activities occur in the group’s name, rather than in the names of individual members. Incorporated groups follow a particular structure, with group rules (or constitution), members, and a governing body (often called a board or committee).

    Many grants are unavailable to unincorporated groups, and this is why auspicing is suggested in these situations.

    For more information on incorporation, refer to the following helpful guides:

    Information regarding incorporation for your group can be obtained by contacting Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 or visit Consumer Affairs Victoria.

  • Your group may need to supply an ABN as part of your application. An ABN refers to an Australian Business Number issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If your organisation has an ABN, it must be included in your application.

    Your groups ABN will indicate if you are registered for GST or not registered for GST to find this information go to www.abr.business.gov.au.

    If your group is not registered for GST, then no GST is paid on the funded amount.  If your group is registered for GST then the GST amount: it must be added to your funded amount.

    Read more at: www.ato.gov.au/business/registration.

  • All those applying as an organisation must upload a copy of the organisation’s (or auspicing organisation’s) most recent annual financial statement to their grant application. For most applicants, this will be the previous year’s Financial Statements.

    The financial statements of an incorporated association must give a true and fair view of its financial performance and position during and at the end of the year.

    Requirements of Financial Statements is set out by Consumer Affairs and outlined below:

    Financial statements must contain

    • Income and expenditure (Income Statement)
    • Assets and liabilities (Balance Sheet)
    • Notes to the accounts, that includes:
      • information required by the accounting standards
      • information necessary to give a true and fair view
      • information required by the provisions of the Act and its regulations.

    More information is available at:  https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/clubs-and-fundraising/incorporated-associations/running-an-incorporated-association/annual-statement/financial-statements-and-auditing

    You can see an example as part of a Board’s financial report here www.ourcommunity.com.au

    If your organisation is a registered Not-For-Profit with ACNC, you are required to submit your Annual Statement. https://www.acnc.gov.au/for-charities.

  • Understandably Public Liability Insurance (PLI) may cost a significant amount to a group, however the risks of not having PLI could cost a group much more.

    Community groups/organisations will most likely interact with the public as part of running its activities or projects. PLI protects an group/organisation against the liability to pay damages for a bodily injury, death, or for property damage that may occur as a result of an activity by the organisation. Because of the enormous potential costs your group could face if something went wrong and you didn’t have PLI, we only fund groups who manage the risk by having PLI.

    Important note on Public Liability Insurance:

    PLI doesn’t cover everything you may expect it to. You may need separate insurance when required, such as volunteers insurance to cover volunteers in the event of an injury claim, or building and contents insurance, to cover damage to a property in your organisation’s control (if you’re renting a space).

  • Victorian organisations that provide services or facilities for children (anyone under 18 years old) are required by law to implement Child Safe Standards to protect children from harm. Therefore, if you project/program will engage children as either participants or audience members you will be required to demonstrate that you are complying with the Child Safe Standards by uploading a copy of your organisation’s Child Safe Policy or Statement of Commitment to Child Safety.

    For further information on the Child Safe Standards see: https://ccyp.vic.gov.au/child-safety/resources/

  • The ‘auspice organisation’ takes responsibility (legal and financial) of the grant on your group’s behalf. They will sign your grant agreement, receive and distribute grant funds under the grant agreement, ensure activities or events are completed, and submit accountability and evaluation reports with you and on your behalf. Your group/organisation will still be known as the ‘grant recipient’.

    Important information on auspice organisations:

    • The auspice organisation you choose must be incorporated and have an ABN.
    • The auspice organisation accepts legal and financial responsibility for the grant and will need to meet all eligibility criteria and provide public liability insurance coverage for the project(s).
    • Grant money will be paid to the auspice organisation, not the applicant.

    Auspiced applicants will need to provide the auspice organisation’s contact details, ABN, their most recent financial report, and evidence outlining your agreement with them.

  • You can approach a larger organisation to partner with your community group/organisation to fund a grant.

    • Local neighbourhood house
    • A community organisation you have worked or partnered with
    • Peak body or governing association of your field
    • Organisations with a similar mission and purpose
    • Auspicious Arts (designed to support grant applicants) – for more info visit the Auspicious Arts website

    You may apply through an auspice organisation if your group does not wish to purchase insurance.

    Or you may be covered under Liability insurance of the venue you are holding your project if your activity is entirely held at that venue.

Guidelines, Help Sheets and Templates