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Otago Community Trust - Arts & Culture

Always open for applications?


Eligible districts

Otago Region EXCLUDING Queenstown, Arrowtown and West-Otago.


Any incorporated or non-incorporated not for profit body can apply for a donation.
In general this means an organisation will be:
• an incorporated society
• a charitable trust
• a limited liability company fully owned by one of the above and operating for charitable purposes
• a non-legal (non-incorporated) entity which may apply for a donation of up to $1,000
• state funded education provider

Available to groups or individuals?

Groups may apply


The Otago Community Trust is a philanthropic organisation which applies its Trust funds for charitable and other purposes which are of benefit to the community.


The Art & Culture sector provides opportunities to put Otago on the world stage and bring the world to our doorstep through performances and exhibitions.

Projects funded

The Trust recognises the Otago region as an important incubator for talent with opportunities for artists to participate in and produce many different art forms. We support projects that build the skills and abilities of our local creative community.

Our Priorities:
Projects which:
• encourage the wider community to contribute and participate in the arts;
• expost audiences to innovative ideas, performances and experiences;
• support Otago as an incubator for talent.

The Trust is not a principal funder of projects. It expects that the applicant will raise a significant proportion of the project cost elsewhere.

Excluded projects

• individuals
• commercial organisations
• sponsorship
• projects considered to be the responsibility of central or local government

Activities funded

Examples of expenses funded include:
• development of performance spaces
• theatrical performances
• exhibitions
• equipment
• event costs
• training opportunities

Excluded activities

Example of expenses not funded:
• travel to conferences, seminars, reunions etc.
• endowments or capital funds
• political parties or lobby groups
• repayment of debt
• retrospective costs
• core operational expenses

Additionally, the Trust does not consider donations for mainstream salaries and overheads.

Funds available


Upper limit per grant application

No set upper limit.

Grants made last year


Funds available last year


How to apply

Applications have to be submitted online.

To help you through the process you can download our Applying Online Guide HERE

Applications will be accepted at any time, there is no closing dates unless you are seeking more than $100,000. It is important to contact the Trust if you are thinking of applying for a donation of more than $100,000 as there are specific cut off dates for these applications.

Organisations can only receive one donation in the year running from 1 April to 31 March. If your application is declined during the year please feel free to apply again.

Information required with your application

Additional information in support of the application may be attached.

Make sure you are ready to apply for a donation, things to consider include:
• you can demonstrate a clear need in the community for the project
• the project meets your organisational objectives and fits with your overall mission and vision
• the project can be defined as a specific activity; you are not applying for general overheads
• you know how much money is needed for the project and you are being realistic in your ability to raise the amount needed
• you have the skills and expertise available to carry out the project
• you have completed all of the necessary planning and addressed any consent issues
• you have researched all of the alternatives and avenues for funding

Larger projects:

For projects over $25,000 you may need the following:
• a description of educational or skill development strategies
• evidence of community consultation in programming
• an explanation of how your project may become self sustaining.

Decision makers

The Trustees of the Otago Community Trust

Decision time

Once received, staff at the Trust will check your application and make sure all of the required information is supplied. We often seek additional information from you by letter, phone or a meeting. A final application is then presented to the Trustees for a decision. You are also welcome to contact us at any time to check on the progress of your application.

How notified

We do not write and tell you we have received your application but we may contact you to discuss your application before it is presented to the Trustees.  You will usually receive formal written notification of the Trustee’s decision on your application two to three months after you apply. This will outline any conditions we require you to fulfil before receiving the donation.

Donations are not usually paid out until the Trust is satisfied that the conditions in the letter of offer have been satisfactorily completed. 

How paid

By cheque or direct credit, once conditions of the donation offer are met.

Conditions of acceptance

Successful applicants are required to submit an Accountability report available from:

Other information

The donation should be spent within 12 months for the purpose set out in the application, or as directed by the Trust, otherwise the donation becomes repayable. The Trust may consider any submission for an extension of time or for the funds to be spent in a manner different to that indicated in the original application.

Funding Application Tips:

Frequently Asked Questions:

Making an application:

You can contact the Trust’s staff at any time to ask questions to help you complete the application form.


Otago Community Trust
PO Box 5751
Dunedin 9058
Phone: 0800 10 12 40 or 03 479 0994 Fax: 03 477 1869