Grants for Community Program Guidelines


Yarra Ranges Council welcomes you to the 2024 Grants for Community program guidelines.

The annual Grants for Community program is one of four grant programs Council delivers to help achieve a connected and healthy Yarra Ranges.

Grants for Community are a powerful way of responding to local needs and delivering outcomes that Council, on its own, may not be able to achieve. The Grants for Community program does this through leveraging local knowledge, nurturing networks between stakeholders, and supporting organisations well placed 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

Applicants can apply for up to $10,000. The total funding pool available is $500,000.

The next Grants for Community funding round will open online on 1 June 2023 for projects and events being delivered in 2024.

  Download a copy of the Community Grants Program Guidelines PDF.

Key Dates

Grant round opens 1 June 2023
Online Grant information Sessions (Valley, Hills & Urban) May 2023
Applications close 17 July 2023 at 3pm
Funding announcements made October 2023
Grant celebration/networking event December 2023
Grants paid 30 days after funding agreement is returned
Grants projects commence 1 January 2024

Categories and priorities

The Grants for Community program provides funding in each of the following categories:

  1. Festival and Events
  2. Arts and Heritage
  3. Community Development (Health and Wellbeing, Environment, Reconciliation, Young People, Children and Families)

Speak to a council contact

Applicants are required to have a meaningful conversation with a relevant Council Officer about their application before submission. Officers are able to provide insights, tips and suggestions on project proposals.

For contact details of Council Officers and their areas of subject expertise, please refer to the Key Documents and Contacts section of these guidelines. 

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* with an ABN are eligible to apply. If you are an unincorporated not-for-profit community group (or an individual artist who contributes to our creative communities) you must have your application auspiced by an eligible incorporated not-for-profit 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 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 adequate 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 2024.
  • 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).
  • Activities that take place at inappropriate venues; for example, gambling venues.
  • Activities that are sponsored by gambling businesses.
  • 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


Pre-Application Checklist

Thank you for your interest in the 2024 Grants for Community Program – we are looking forward to receiving your application.

  • Please refer to this checklist to help you to prepare.
  • I have read the 2024 Grants for Community Program Guidelines and Selection Criteria
  • I have discussed my project with a relevant Council Officer (an eligibility requirement)
  • My organisation is incorporated and not-for-profit organisation or our application is auspiced by an incorporated organisation
  • I am an individual artist (Arts & Heritage funding category only) and my application is auspiced by an incorporated organisation.
  • My organisation/auspice has an ABN with a corresponding Australian bank account
  • I am located within the Yarra Ranges municipality, and/or provide services within the region

Before you submit your application, please make sure you have all the supporting documentation you require including:

  • Contact details (name, address, phone, email)
  • Project key contact details (name, position, phone, email)
  • Incorporation Number (for your organisation or your auspice)
  • ABN Number
  • GST status
  • Memorandum of Understanding (for auspiced applications)
  • Detailed budget information (including quotes for expenses above $750)
  • Evidence of community need and support (This can be statistics, surveys, participant responses)
  • Letters of Support (if applicable)
  • Public Liability Insurance ($10,000,000) certificate (or note to say you will have policy in place if your project is successfully funded)
  • Child Safe Documentation – State your contact level only 


Application Process

How to apply

Submit your application at by Monday 17 July 2023 @ 3pm (AEST).

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

If you are having difficulty accessing your account or require troubleshooting support please contact SmartyGrants directly on (03) 9320 6888 or


The Grants for Community 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 duration. Budgets need to balance and are required to demonstrate considered planning, be realistic and justified for the proposed application. Individual expense items which exceed $750.00 require a quote.

If your organisation is registered for GST with the Australia Tax office, GST will be applied to your grant. In these cases, Council will add 10% to the grant for GST which must then be paid to the Tax Office as per usual GST processing. This GST component of payments is not part of the budget for funded projects. 

Activity Plan

Applicants are required to outline an activity plan for the grant project. The plan for a project needs to articulate the activity and related outcomes in line with the budget, for the funded period (12 months)

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 organisation’s public liability insurance.
  • Evidence of partnerships, such as a letter of support (on letterhead) from individuals/organisations detailing their contributions to the project, and reports or other documents demonstrating the need and support for the project.
  • Documentation to support the proposed project or evidence of previous projects and outcomes e.g. photos, videos.
  • If project is auspiced, an auspicing agreement must be uploaded with the application.


Unincorporated Organisations & Auspice Organisations

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

Whilst the application is submitted by the group being auspiced, the auspicing organisation accepts responsibility for the application. Please note that information on the auspicing body will need to be provided in the application, including their ABN, financial report and contact details. The auspice organisation is legally responsible for the funds and enters into a Funding Agreement with Council.

It is important that the auspicer and group being auspiced enter into an agreement to ensure clarity around roles and expectations of each party. Grant applications can allocate a small auspicing fee as part of 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:

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 staff with subject matter expertise. panel members review applications independently before meeting to discuss. Funding recommendations put forward during this process are then submitted to Council for approval.

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

Council reserves the right to refuse funding or provide partial funding. 

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 Grants for Community 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.

We hold ourselves to a high standard of grant making and support our partners to do the same through their work. 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 Wise

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to gender equity in the region and consider our partner organisations as key in pursuing this. Men and women can face different expectations and challenges based on social conditioning and subtle biases. Consequently, when designing or delivering a project and 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. An example of this is considering the different needs and circumstances of people of all genders within the target beneficiary group. Further information on running gender-wise projects can be found at: 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. Grants projects can lead the way in this. Consideration of how projects will reach out and include people of all abilities is encouraged (e.g. promotion, physical access, including performers of all abilities). All grantees are encouraged to consider how their project will be accessible to people with a disability or marginalised groups. For practical ideas and considerations please contact Council’s Metro Access 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 Grants for Community program grant 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 strategies that detail the priority areas and goals for improving the liveability of the Yarra Ranges. Grants are an important tool in realising these aspirations. It is therefore essential to consider how proposed projects contribute to the overall achievement of Council strategies.

The table below details key strategy documents and the relevant Council Officer you can speak to about Yarra Ranges Council’s key priorities. Council Officers can be contacted on 1300 368 333.


Documents & Contacts
Council Strategy or Plan Relevant Council Officer
 Creative Communities Strategy 2019 (arts, culture, heritage)  Cultural Development Officer
 Planning an Event Creative Communities Strategy 2019 Festival and Events Development Officer 
 Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2017-2021 Social Planner
 Reconciliation Framework for Action 2013-2023 Indigenous Development Officer 
 Environment Strategy 2015-2025 

Sustainability Officer 

 Child and Youth Strategy Youth Strategic Action Plan  Early Years Development Coordinator - Youth Team
 Equity Access & Inclusion Strategy  Metro Access Officer

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 – is a collective of individuals that are committed to working for the public benefit. In the grants context, these groups are usually comprised of volunteers. It is encouraged that community groups have an established governance structure (committee) and strong membership base before applying for grants.

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 Grants for Community Program, please contact the Grants Team on 1300 368 333 or