Catalysts for Change

Foundation North has an increasing focus on working in partnership with grantees to achieve projects of greater scale and impact for the communities of Auckland and Northland.  The Catalysts for Change programme seeks to fund and support community organisations taking innovative approaches to identified social issues. 

The Foundation funds organisations in a sustained way over a number of years to deliver upon their vision for ‘catalytic change’ within their community. The Foundation’s Centre for Social Impact provides intensive support for these organisations to develop their capacity and capability, ultimately contributing to greater social impact.

This is a unique programme. It targets a small number of organisations that are ready and willing to work in a close partnership with the Foundation and the Centre for Social Impact over several years. We are looking for organisations that demonstrate strong leadership, are open to ongoing learning and challenge, are innovative and adaptable, and can add value to the sector(s) they work in. 

We want to support initiatives that will contribute to improvements at a system or sector level, as well as contributing to better outcomes for individuals, families and whānau and communities. This may involve, for example, replicating and scaling effective models.

Organisations wishing to apply to the Catalysts for Change programme must be able to clearly describe what makes their initiative a good fit.

We currently support six organisations under the Catalysts for Change programme. To find out more about these initiatives, and the type of support provided by the Centre for Social Impact, visit    

Case study - Te Ira (from the Centre's Social Impact report). 

Priority areas

The two priorities for the 2017 fund are:

1)      Young people aged 12 to 24 who are not in education, employment
         or training (Y-NEET)
2)      Early Years (pregnancy up to the first five years of a child's life) 
Please read the YNEET and Early Years factsheets for further information.

Your programme must be aligned to one or both of these priority areas.

Assessment Criteria

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria: 

           - Alignment to priority areas
           - Capacity and capability to deliver catalytic change
              (that is, not just business as usual)
           - Clear outcomes framework demonstrated
           - Demonstration of previous outcomes (your track record)
           - Programmes based on good practice for the sector or
              programme area
           - Demonstration of collaboration and/or partnership
           - Ability to share knowledge and learning with others
           - Demonstration of strong leadership, with clear commitment to
              engaging in this funding and capacity support programme.

We will prioritise initiatives that:

            - Build on individual, family or community strengths
            - Are focused on outcomes
            - Are culturally responsive and relevant
            - Have a focus on learning and development, including the
               sharing of learning and migration of good practice
            - Have a multi-faceted approach and develop relationships across
               communities and sectors (e.g. partnerships with Government, 
               Iwi or business), to enable the development of long term
               and sustainable solutions
            - Provide support for individuals, and develop supportive systems
               or processes for long term outcomes
            - Demonstrate innovation to support catalytic and systemic change
            - Follow the good practice guidelines for Y-NEET or Early Years 

 (see YNEET fact sheet and Early Years fact sheet) 

Process and timeline

The 2017 application process has changed from previous years. 

Initial enquiry and one-to-one meetings
If you are interested in applying to Catalysts for Change, please contact Audrey McLaren. You will be asked to complete a short form outlining your proposed initiative. 

These forms must be returned to the Foundation no later than
9am, 4 November 2016.

Foundation North will meet with applicants that demonstrate a potential fit for the programme. Applicants will be notified no later than Friday 11 November, for meetings taking place between 14-23 November 2016.

Written application
Shortlisted applicants will be notified in mid-December 2016, and invited to complete a written application form. Completed application forms are due no later than 5pm, 23 January 2017.


February to May 2017
Applications are assessed, and those that demonstrate strong alignment to the criteria will be shortlisted. Shortlisted organisations will undergo a readiness assessment which will help us determine your ability and willingness to participate in the Catalysts for Change programme. This is conducted by the Centre for Social Impact with support from Foundation North. Our Board will meet in May to determine which proposals progress to Stage Two. Only a very small number of organisations will be selected.


June to October 2017
If your proposal is progressed to Stage Two, Foundation staff and the Centre for Social Impact team will support you to develop a comprehensive investment proposal for the term of your grant. 

During June to October, you will need to commit substantial senior staff and leadership time for this process, which will include development of programme, evaluation, operational and financial plans for the term of the grant. The Centre for Social Impact will provide intensive support during this phase, and you may also be financially supported to participate.

This will be a rigorous period of engagement between the Foundation and your organisation which requires a very high level of commitment. 

Funding Decision – December 2017
Your investment plan will be submitted to the Foundation in October, and you may be invited to present this to our Committee meeting in November. Our Board will make a funding decision in December. Your funding proposal is to cover programme delivery starting at the end of 2017 or early 2018. If you are successful, you will join the existing Catalysts for Change organisations and become part of a significant journey of support, innovation and development for the term of your grant.


If you are interested in applying for the Catalysts for Change programme, contact:

Raewynne Jacobs
Funding Programme Manager
360 0291


Alternative Foundation North funding programmes

If you do not feel that this fund is for you, take a look at our other funding programmes.

Under our Community Support Grants funding programme we provide funding for operational costs, programme costs and resources: Find out more