Community Environment Fund eligibility criteria

This page lists the Community Environment Fund eligibility criteria that a project must meet before an application may be submitted to request funding. Note that meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that your project will be funded.

Eligibility criteria

The following table provides the eligibility criteria. These are subject to changes.


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

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

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.


The applicant is a legal entity.


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

Applications that meet the Community Environment Fund eligibility criteria will be assessed by an independent review panel. The panel makes recommendations, and the Minister for the Environment decides on projects that will be invited to enter the next stage. 

Preference will be given to:

  • Applicants that demonstrate that their project will support more than one of the following objectives:
    • Raise awareness and involvement in resolving environmental issues
    • Involve the community in practically focussed action to improve environmental quality
    • Support and strengthen collaboration between environmental groups, business/farmers/industry, iwi and local authorities on finding 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 success of the project and how the project will achieve its goals
    • how the effectiveness of the project will be monitored, evaluated and reported
    • if the funding is for the establishment phase of a longer-term project, how the project will continue after funding ends and become self sustaining.
  • Projects that have shared funding. The level of funding from other sources will be taken into account.
  • Projects which focus on supporting community initiatives that contribute to:
    • reduced greenhouse gas emissions
    • improved freshwater management
    • improved coastal management
    • improved air quality
    • some waste management initiatives
  • Applicants with biodiversity focused projects that would be more appropriately funded by the Department of Conservation’s Community Fund will be expected to apply to that fund instead. Applicants of projects that are better suited to other government funding streams such as the Waste Minimisation Fund or the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund will be expected to apply to those funds before the Community Environment Fund.
  • 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.