Community Environment Fund

Applications are currently closed

The Community Environment Fund empowers 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.

Amount funded

Between $10,000 and $300,000 (excluding GST)


Eligibility criteria

  • Your project will contribute to one or more of the following:
    • strengthening partnership
    • raising environmental awareness
    • encouraging participation in environmental initiatives in the community.
  • Your 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.
  • You are a legal entity.
  • Your application is seeking between $10,000 and $300,000 (excluding GST) from the Community Environment Fund.

Assessment criteria

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 be 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 should apply to the:

Applying - stage 1

Submit application

Complete the application forms and submit to by the due date. Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Application assessment

An independent assessment panel will review all completed eligible applications and make funding recommendations.

All applications are assessed against:

  • CEF eligibility criteria and assessment criteria
  • general government 'value for money' criteria
  • the Ministry’s key priorities
  • the funding principles [Controller and Auditor General website]
  • other applications received in the same funding round.

Panel recommendations

The assessment panel recommends applications for funding to the Minister for the Environment.

Invitation to Stage 2

The Minister decides which projects are invited to proceed to Stage 2 of the funding process. An invitation to Stage 2 is not an approval for funding. The invitation to proceed to Stage 2 will stipulate the maximum amount of funding provisionally awarded to the project. This can be less than the amount of funding requested and may require the scope and scale of the project to be amended during Stage 2 of the funding process.

Applying - stage 2

Finalise the project

  • finalising the details of the project for incorporation into a Deed of Funding
  • independent third party due diligence and reference checks on all applicants approved to proceed to Stage 2.

Applicants have approximately three months to complete Stage 2 of the funding process.

Applicants will be allocated an analyst from the Ministry to support them through Stage 2 of the funding process.

Sign deed of funding

Successful applicants are required to sign a Deed of Funding with the Ministry. Proof of legal entity status will be required before the Deed of Funding is signed.

The Deed of Funding describes the obligations and rights of the contracting parties and includes the following details:

  • contracting parties
  • contract term (maximum of three years)
  • project description
  • funding conditions
  • activities and deliverables
  • intellectual property
  • liability
  • payment conditions.

Start project

Fund recipients begin work on their projects and report to the Ministry as stipulated in the Deed of Funding.

The Ministry monitors and assesses each project against the stated performance measures and conditions within the Deed of Funding. Progress payments will be made in arrears once agreed deliverables have been submitted to the Ministry and have been assessed as complete and satisfactory.

Previously funded projects