About the Giving Circle Small Grants Program

Our Grants Program is currently closed.

We anticipate another round in July 2024. Please join our email list to be the first to know when it is open.

What we fund

Our grants support women and/or gender diverse-led environment and climate action. 

What do we mean by women and gender-diverse led?

Leadership happens in many ways but for WELA this means your project or organisation will have women and/or gender-diverse people leading within some of these areas: your organisational structure, strategy development, storytelling, and organising. 

For example, we welcome applications from projects that are led by women and gender-diverse people in their development and decision-making. This might look like women and gender-diverse people as CEOs, co-CEOs, and Campaign Managers, on boards and at the centre of their strategy development and project implementation. We also want to see this representation in your communications, online profiles, and actions.   

What do we mean by environment and climate action? 

We’ll be on the lookout for impactful, cutting edge and inspiring advocacy, campaigns and projects in the issue areas of environment and climate. In our initial round, this granting process will focus on project funding not unrestricted/core funding.

We will support the full spectrum of changemaking tools, for example (but not limited to) events, grassroots organising, creating networks, training and building skills, lobbying, media and communication campaigns. Or surprise us with something we’ve never seen before!

Criteria

We will accept applications from organisations that are: 

– an Australian registered charity with the ACNC https://www.acnc.gov.au 
OR
– an incorporated organisation or individual with an ABN https://www.abn.business.gov.au/ 
– with or without Deductible Gift Recipient status. 
– have an annual income of less than $3 million. For exceptional projects, we are flexible on this. 
– projects and organisations based in Australia 

Our Framework

Conversations with our WELA community have shown that funding is particularly impactful in the following five areas. These areas will be prioritised in our funding considerations but not all five are required in your application.

  1. WOMEN AND GENDER DIVERSE LEADERSHIP (this is required)
    Our grants will build a new kind of leadership that is inclusive, collaborative, and relational. We fund organisations and projects that have women and/or gender-diverse leadership within their projects. 

  2. CREATING IMPACT (this is required)
    We understand that there are many ways to create change that include differing theories of change, timeframes, and approaches. At the core, we want to collaborate with organisations and projects that create powerful outcomes, impactful movements, address systems change, and have a clear focus on environmental and climate outcomes.
     
  3. CENTERING FIRST NATIONS WISDOM 
    We value and honour the leadership of First Nations women for Country, community, and culture over millennia. We welcome applications from projects and organisations that centre First Nations Peoples and their knowledge systems, First Nations science, systems of governance for Caring for Country, and the experience of First Nations women in efforts to protect nature and secure our future. 

  4. SUPPORTING DIVERSE VOICES
    WELA acknowledges the lack of intersectional and racial diversity in the mainstream environment and climate movement as a structural and systemic problem. Through our grants, we will aim to diversify the voices in our movements and put justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity (JEDI) at the heart of our strategy, storytelling, and solutions. We welcome applications that include the voices of underrepresented communities. 
     
  5. CREATING COLLABORATION
    Collaboration is one of the foundations of feminist leadership. We will support projects and organisations that prioritise building relationships and networks that enable learning and knowledge sharing across generations, sectors, communities, and geographic constraints.

THE KIND OF PROJECTS WE WON'T FUND

  • Retrospective activities
  • Non-charitable activities
  • Projects or activities that are politically partisan in nature
  • Commercial activities
  • On-ground environmental actions such as tree-planting, or installation of solar on buildings, for example
  • Grant funds cannot be used for electoral expenditure or the creation or communication of electoral matters (as defined in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918), or to incur electoral or political expenditure or communicate political or electoral matters under any similar applicable state or territory legislation.
  • Green building projects including energy efficiency upgrades
  • Political campaigns that support specific parties or candidates
  • Straight research, unless it is in direct support of a developed plan for specific action to alleviate an environmental problem
  • Land acquisition

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW TO APPLY?
Applications for the 2024 WELA Small Grants Program will be open on January 24 2024. Please join up to our email list or check our social media channels for the information. 

HOW MUCH ARE THE GRANTS?
We anticipate the average grant to be between $5000-$10,000 over 12 months. If your project requires a higher level of funding, please get in touch before submitting your application. 

WHAT CAN FUNDS BE USED FOR?
Our grants will support women and/or gender-diverse led environmental and climate action. (see here for more information)

OUR LEGAL STRUCTURE
The WELA Giving Circle is a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation. Australian Communities Foundation Fund is a tax-deductible Trust Fund.

WHO IS ON THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE?
The Advisory Committee will include key WELA staff, philanthropy experts, and women from diverse backgrounds and communities. Current members include Kate Walsh, Sarojini Krishnapillai, Ali Limb, and Jen Grindrod. 

WHO IS ON THE SHORTLISTING COMMITTEE?
The Shortlisting committee is made up of five WELA Giving Circle members. 

These positions will be chosen by the WELA Giving Circle Advisory Committee via applications from the membership. The term for the Granting Committee will be one grant round with two positions retiring and three positions overlapping with the next Committee. 

HOW WILL THE GRANTS BE SHORTLISTED?
The Grants will be shortlisted via a Shortlisting Committee, This Shortlisting Committee will evaluate all applications and then generate a shortlist which will then be voted in by the Giving Circle membership.

Any conflicts of interest must be disclosed between a Granting Committee Member during both the shortlisting and voting stages. If deemed serious enough by the Committee, the member will be required to remove themselves from discussions and voting concerning the applicant in question.

THE MEMBER VOTE
The member vote will happen via a member access only online form. Members will rank projects and then the Granting Committee will determine the successful projects and the grant amounts. 

WHEN WILL APPLICANTS BE NOTIFIED?
Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified within seven days after the closing date. 

WHEN WILL THE GRANTS BE DISBURSED?
Grant funds will be in bank accounts within two weeks of successful applicants completing the Grant Agreement with the Australian Communities Foundation. 

HOW LONG IS THE GRANT PERIOD?
Grantees will have 12 months to use the funds. 

WHAT REPORTING WILL BE REQUIRED?
The reporting will be kept to a minimum and it should only take you around two hours to complete our acquittal form.

WHERE CAN I GO IF I HAVE A QUESTION?
Please get in touch with us! Email us at info@wela.org.au and we can set up a time to talk. 

IF MY ORG DOESN’T HAVE DGR STATUS, CAN WE APPLY?
Yes! We will accept applications from organisations that are: 

– an Australian registered charity with the ACNC https://www.acnc.gov.au 
OR
– an incorporated organisation or individual with an ABN https://www.abn.business.gov.au/ 
– with or without Deductible Gift Recipient status. 
– have an annual income of less than $3 million
– projects and organisations based in Australia 

DO I NEED AN AUSPICE IF I DON’T HAVE DGR STATUS?
– You do not need DGR status to apply so no need for an auspice. (see above) However, we will accept projects that have an auspice if this is your arrangement but it is not our preference. 

Please get in touch with Kate Walsh if you are unsure if your project meets the granting guidelines at info@wela.org.au.