2025 Annual Grants Guide

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The Annual Grants program harnesses community energy and ideas to promote a more connected and healthy Yarra Ranges.

These grants help groups and organisations respond to opportunities, creative inspiration and local needs to deliver outcomes in communities.

Grant funded projects leverage local knowledge, nurture networks, and support organisations, community groups and artists to promote community wellbeing.

To be successful, applicants need to:

  • meet the eligibility requirements
  • demonstrate a strong alignment with Council’s adopted strategies
  • fulfil the selection criteria
  • demonstrate a willingness to work collaboratively 


The next Annual Grants round will open online on 15 May 2024 for projects and events being delivered in 2025.

Apply for an Annual Grant


Key Dates


Grant round opens

15 May 2024
Online Grant information Sessions (Valley, Hills & Urban)

Thursday, 9 May 2024 | 01:00 PM to 02:30 PM & 06:30 PM to 08:00 PM (Online)

Grant Writing and Budgeting Workshop  Thursday, 16 May 2024 | 06:00 PM to 09:00 PM 

Applications close

17 June 2024 (3pm)
Funding announcements made November 2024
Grant celebration/networking event December 2024
Grants paid 30 days after funding agreement is returned
Grants projects commence 1 January 2025


Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements. Please note that ineligible applications will not be assessed.

Eligible Applications

  • Incorporated not-for-profit community groups*/organisation with an ABN are eligible to apply.
  • Unincorporated not-for-profit community group/organisation (you must be auspiced by an incorporated organisation)
  • An individual/artist, in the Arts & Heritage funding category only must be auspiced by an incorporated organisation.

  • Organisations, community groups and artists applying for a grant must demonstrate how their project will directly benefit residents of the Yarra Ranges. The project must also have a clear Yarra Ranges focus. Organisations based outside the region can apply if the projects outcomes benefit and occur within Yarra Ranges.
  • Applicants must commit to obtaining all necessary permits related to the funded activity, particularly for festivals.
  • Applicants must have successfully completed all reporting requirements for previous Yarra Ranges Council grants and have no outstanding debts with Council. If unsure, please contact the Grants Team.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of at least $10 Million Public Liability Insurance.
  • Child Safe Standards compliance is required if projects involve direct or incidental contact with children.
  • Applicants agree to acknowledge funding from Yarra Ranges Council in promotion, consistent with Council’s branding guidelines.
  • Applicants must consent to providing evidence of how funds were spent and outline project benefits through an acquittal process.
  • Purchase of food associated with community relief projects are capped at $500.
  • The grant activity must take place during 2025.
  • Applicants must submit all supporting material when applying. Given the competitive nature of grants, no late submission of supporting documents can be accepted.
  • Applicants must talk through their project ideas with a Council Officer before applying.

Ineligible Applications

  • A program, service or activity that is primarily considered the responsibility of State or Federal Government; for example, the core business of schools, hospitals or other services.
  • Activities that take place outside the Yarra Ranges (including touring costs).
  • A new building, capital works or facility maintenance works.
  • Ongoing staff salaries or administration costs not specific to the project.
  • Purchase of equipment only (equipment may be purchased as a small component of a broader project: up to 30% of the requested grant amount.).
  • Activities that take place at inappropriate venues; for example, gambling venues.
  • Activities that are sponsored by gambling businesses.
  • Political organisations will not be funded.
  • Applications with the singular purpose of promoting religion.
  • Training, study or academic research in Australia or overseas.
  • Applications that are solely for attending forums, workshops, conferences or for organising conferences.
  • Overnight camps/activities for children and young people
  • Competitions, prizes, award exhibitions or exclusively fundraising events.
  • Programs cannot be funded retrospectively (i.e. they cannot have already occurred).
  • Major partners are not eligible to apply and have been notified. This does not refer to 2023-27 Partnership recipients



2024 Successful Grant Recipients 

Applicants are encouraged to view last year’s successful grants to see the range of projects funded.

View a list of 2024 Grant Recipients.


* Please refer to the definition of a community group as it relates to our Grants Program in the Jargon Buster section of these guidelines. 


Application Process

Thing to do to prepare you for your application

  • Speak with a relevant council officer.
  • Allow adequate time to obtain quotes for expenses over $750 and obtain letters of support.
  • Ensure you have appropriate type and level of insurance ($10M Public Liability) for this grant application.
  • Check you have acquitted all completed projects funded by Yarra Ranges Council.
  • Secure an auspice well in advance (for individual/artist or a not-for-profit unincorporated community group).
  • Allow two weeks if you are requiring a quote for use of council's venues and open spaces.
  • Allow plenty of time to complete this application.

Speak with a Council Officer

Before submitting your application, you are required to discuss your project with one of the relevant Council Officer.

You can find a contact list to speak to a Council Officer in the table within this section. Otherwise if you prefer to speak with an Officer you can call 1300 368 333 and ask for the relevant officer.

Area Relevant Council Officer  Email
 Arts and Culture  Emma Buckley  e.buckley@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


Festivals and Events


 Kelly Toghill festivals@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


 Public Art


 Yolande Pickett publicart@yarraranges.vic.gov.au




 Bronwyn Ward exhibitions@yarraranges.vic.gov.au




Sarah Sato communityheritage@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


 Community Development (Hills)


Janette Scott janette.scott@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


 Community Development (Urban)


Santha Press




 Community Development (Upper Yarra)


Michael Goodrich




 Community Development (Valley)


Kellie McPherson




Disability Inclusion


Amanda May




Community Mental Wellbeing


Rachael Giddens r.giddens@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


Indigenous Cultural Development Sam Piper s.piper@yarraranges.vic.gov.au
Early and Middle Years


Loren Hedger l.hedger@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


Youth Development


Dudu Orman d.orman@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


Healthy & Active Ageing


Caroline Perry c.perry@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


Sustainability & Environment


Kym Saunders K.Saunders@yarraranges.vic.gov.au


Economic Development


Kirsten Garratt






How to apply

Please Note: The form through Smarty Grants will only be made available once the grant round opens on the 15 May 2024. 

Submit your application, including supporting material online at yarraranges.smartygrants.com.au by 17 June 2024 at 3:00pm (AEST). Submissions will not be accepted after this time.

If you have difficulty using the online application form please contact the Grants Team for assistance by phone on 1300 368 333 or by email at grants@yarraranges.vic.gov.au.

If you are having difficulty accessing your account or require troubleshooting support please contact SmartyGrants directly on (03) 9320 6888 or service@smartygrants.com.au.


The Annual Grant Program program is a significant investment by Council and there are reporting requirements to account for this use of public funds.

Applicants are required to provide a budget aligned with outcomes for the project. Budgets need to balance and demonstrate planning, be realistic and justified for the proposed application. A quote is required for each expense item that exceeds $750.00 (only for expense items requested as part of this grant).

If your organisation is registered for GST with the Australian Tax office, Council will add 10% GST to the grant which must then be paid to the Tax Office as per usual GST processing. If you have a project auspice, they will process the GST on your behalf. 

Supporting Documentation for Applications

All applicants must upload the following supporting documents and material as part of their submission through SmartyGrants:

  • Most recent Annual Report, including annual financial statement. If an application is being auspiced only an Annual Report and financial statement from the auspicing organisation is required.
  • A copy of the certificate of cover of the applicant’s public liability insurance ($10million Public Liability). If an application is being auspiced, this may be provided by the auspicer.

  • Evidence of partnerships, such as a letter of support (on letterhead) from individuals/organisations detailing their contributions and why they support, the project.
  • You may also wish to include any evidence (reports or other documents) that demonstrate the need and support for the project.

  • If an application is auspiced, an auspicing agreement signed by both parties, must be uploaded with the application. 

Yarra Ranges Council Venues & Open Spaces

Yarra Ranges Council has a variety of venues & open spaces available for community use.

Please Note: If your project or event requires the use of a Yarra Ranges Council venue or open space you will need a quote to include with your application within the budget. Please note in-kind support is only available on some venues. 
If the venue is available, this will be confirmed when you place your booking.
Quotes may take up to two weeks so please prepare early.
Availability and enquiries for Councils Cultural Venues, Community Halls can be made on our website.
A full list of Open Spaces can be found on our Parks and Recreation page.
If you have any enquiries please contact 9294 6681.

Unincorporated Organisations & Auspice Organisations

Applicants that are not incorporated must have their application ‘auspiced’ by an eligible incorporated organisation.

The auspice organisation is legally responsible for the funds and enters into a Funding Agreement with Council. Information on the auspicing body will need to be provided in the application, including their ABN, financial report, and

contact details. It is important that the auspicer and the applicant enter into an agreement to ensure clarity around roles and expectations of each party. Applicants can allocate a small auspicing fee as part of budget in the application.

Please note that unincorporated groups must still demonstrate that they are established and have experience delivering similar projects.

Further information on auspicing arrangements can be found at: http://www.nfplaw.org.au/auspicing

Assessment and Approval

All applications undergo a pre-assessment eligibility check conducted by a Council officer.

All eligible applications are assessed by an independent panel of community members and Council officers with subject matter expertise.

Please note: it is not appropriate to ask Councillors to provide letters of support or lobby them about a grant application.

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will receive formal notification. Unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to seek feedback from Council officers. 

Funding Agreement and Payment Arrangements

Funding agreements will be finalised and distributed within six weeks of Council approval. It is essential that all grant recipients and auspicing bodies enter into a funding agreement before the project commences and funds are released.

Grant payments will be made within 30 days of the completed agreement being returned to Council. 



Guiding Values

Good Governance

Yarra Ranges Council is dedicated to ensuring the Annual Grants program is run in a fair and transparent manner. We commit to managing an effective grants program that responds to community needs and represents good value for money.

This commitment is expressed through openness to constructive feedback and a desire for continuous improvement.

Successful grant recipients must have robust governance structures in place. 

Child Safety Standards

The introduction of Child safe standards by the Victorian Government stipulates that all organisations that provide services for children or receive government funding are now covered by mandatory reporting requirements. Grant recipients that have direct/incidental contact with children during the course of their project will be required to provide additional documentation as part of the application process. 

Gender Equity

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to gender equity and works alongside our grant recipients towards achieving this.

Women, men and gender diverse community members can face different expectations and challenges based on social conditioning and subtle biases.

Consequently, designing or delivering a project treating all people as the same may not necessarily result in equal inclusion and impact.

It is important that grant applicants apply a ‘gender lens’ when drafting their application. This involves considering the different needs and circumstances of people of all genders within the target group.

Further information on running gender-wise projects can be found on the Funding Centre website.

Alternatively, applicants are invited to contact Council’s Gender Equity Officer on 1300 368 333 for ideas on integrating gender-aware practices into your organisation’s work. 

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Yarra Ranges is renowned for its natural beauty and Council is committed to maintaining the health and significance of the region’s environment.

All proposed projects are encouraged to incorporate activities that improve sustainable outcomes and minimise unnecessary environmental impacts.

For more information or support on this please contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on 1300 368 333

Diverse and Inclusive

Diversity is a strength within Yarra Ranges and something the Program seeks to promote. Grant submissions from groups and individuals of all abilities, cultures, age groups, gender and sexual orientation are strongly encouraged.

Including People with Diverse Needs

Council is committed to increasing access and participation by people with disability in their community.

Consideration of how projects will reach out and include people with a disability is encouraged e.g. promotion, physical access, including performers with disability and on your organising committee.

For practical ideas and considerations please contact Council’s Disability and Inclusion Officer or Indigenous Development Officer on 1300 368 333.


Acknowledgement of Council

As with any partnership, recognition is important.

Acknowledgement of support provided by Council should be made in accordance with the Yarra Ranges Council Acknowledgement Guidelines. Successful grant recipients will be provided with further information as part of the Funding Agreement package.



All Annual Grants recipients are required to report on the success, outcomes, lessons learnt, and financial details through a final report. any interesting stories or photographs are also welcomed!

A template will be provided by Council through SmartyGrants to support grantees with this process.

Successful recipients will be required to keep copies of all receipts to substantiate financial information contained in the acquittal.

Please note you will be required to provide receipts for expense items above $750.00 as part of the acquittal process.

Please note that random audits may occur.


Key documents and contacts

Council has goals for improving the social connection and community wellbeing across Yarra Ranges. Grants are an important tool in realising these goals. It is important to consider how your proposed projects contributes to the overall achievement of these goals.

The table below details key strategy documents and the relevant Council Officer you can speak to about these community focused Council priorities. Council Officers can be contacted on 1300 368 333.

Council Strategy or Plan Relevant Council Officer
 Creative Communities Strategy 2019 (arts, culture, heritage) 

Arts & Culture - Emma Buckley

Festivals and Events - Kelly Toghill

Public Art - Yolande Pickett

Exhibitions - Bronwyn Ward

Heritage - Sarah Sato

 Community Development Officer

Community Development (Hills) - Janette Scott

Community Development (Urban) - Santha Press

Community Development (Upper Yarra) - Michael Goodrich

Community Development (Valley) - Kellie McPherson

 Health and Wellbeing Strategy Plan

Community Mental Wellbeing - Rachael Giddens

 Reconciliation Framework for Action 2013-2023

Indigenous Development - Garry Detez

Arts focused Indigenous projects - Sam Piper

 Environment Strategy 2015-2025  Sustainability - Kym Saunders 
 Child and Youth Strategy Youth Strategic Action Plan   Youth Development - Dudu Orman
Middle Years Strategic Action Plan Early and Middle Years - Loren Hedger
Healthy and Active Ageing Plan  Healthy & Active Ageing - Caroline Perry
Equity Access & Inclusion Strategy  Disability Inclusion Officer - Amanda May 


Jargon Buster

Not sure about some of the jargon used when talking about grants? Read our jargon buster list below to familiarise yourself with some key terms.

Acquittal - A written report submitted following the completion of a project. The acquittal should detail what was achieved by the project, lessons learnt and how the grand funding was spent. Council will provide grant recipients with an acquittal form. 

Advocacy – is the act of promoting, supporting or arguing in favour of an idea, need, cause or policy.

Auspice – an organisation that receives and manages grant money on behalf of an unincorporated grant applicant. To be eligible and auspicing body must be incorporated and have a current ABN.

Community group – a group of people working collectively in a voluntary capacity to deliver accessible community activities for the benefit of the broader community.

To apply for Yarra Ranges Council funding, a community group must be able to provide evidence, on request, that they have:

  • multiple people involved in planning activities (including the provision of contact details, details of relevant skills/experience to deliver the initiative)
  • delivered at least one community initiative (exceptions may be considered in the case of an urgent need or newly established group)
  • been in existence for at least 3 months (exceptions may be considered in the case of an urgent need or newly established group)

Capacity – refers simply to the skills or abilities of an individual or organisation to plan, deliver and achieve project outcomes. 

Capacity building – is more than just training. It refers to the process by which communities, organisations or individuals strengthen competencies and abilities to identify and achieve their development objectives. It is an ongoing and dynamic process.

Evidence based – Provides the proof that a project or approach is best placed to respond to a community need. This may include research, community consultation or data.

Incorporation - is a voluntary process where a not-for-profit or community group can apply to become its own ‘legal body’. This means that the group can enter into a contract, sign a lease or employ people. For further information please contact the Consumer Affairs Helpline on 1300 55 8181 or visit the Not-For-Profit Law Information Hub’s website.

In-kind support – is in place of monetary support. It could take the form of goods from businesses through to services and time from volunteers. Examples of in-kind support provided by Council include free training, networking and promotion opportunities.

Outcomes – are the changes, benefits or other effects that occur as a result of the project. Examples could include increased skills as a result of access to training opportunities, increased confidence in nutritional meal preparation or increased event management skills.

Project – is a set of organised activities or steps that are planned to achieve a particular aim or outcome. It will have a start and end date. Reconciliation – is about building positive relationships between Indigenous Australians and the wider Australian community.

Social enterprise – is a commercially viable business with the clear and stated purpose of generating positive social or environmental impact. They exist primarily to benefit the community, rather than shareholders or owners.

SmartyGrants – is an online grants management platform. All Council grant submissions must be made through this system. The system is easy to use and supports the goals of an effective and efficient granting process.

Variation – is any change to the project compared to the original grant application, Council understands that sometimes variations are required; however these changes must be discussed with the Community Partnerships Officers before the completion of the funding period.

Need further assistance?

For further information on the Annual Grants Program, please contact the Grants Team on 1300 368 333 or grants@yarraranges.vic.gov.au.