Hui E! Community Aotearoa: A funding partner for community action | He hoa pūtea moni mō te hohenga hapori
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As a peak body for the community sector, Hui E! Community Aotearoa has an extensive network from Bluff to Cape Reinga. In April 2020 we were uniquely placed to ensure Government funding got to the right community groups during the Government’s COVID-19 response.
Our team at Hui E! worked quickly to pair community goodwill to grassroots action: matching volunteer grant writers with community groups. Due to Hui E!’s involvement, 55 community groups applied for approximately $175,000 of funding they otherwise would not have been able to access.
The Government’s announcement of community funding was essential for the community sector and Aotearoa New Zealand’s response to the pandemic, but many eligible groups either lacked the skills or the capacity to write a grant application or didn’t know funding was available. For many their main concern was supporting and delivering for their communities.
By working quickly and engaging our extensive network we connected experienced grant writers with 55 community groups who needed help accessing funding.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, these groups were in overdrive. Many had pivoted from their everyday activities to ensure their community were receiving necessities they required to survive: food, electricity, sanitary items, cellphone vouchers and community connection.
Community organisations come in many forms, but most of them are small grassroots groups, led by locals ready and willing to respond to the immediate needs of their communities.
Those in our communities already marginalised and who needed additional support during the pandemic included our elderly, people with disabilities or who were immune compromised, families and individuals in rural communities, and people who had lost jobs or were already finding life difficult. Groups also supported new immigrants who were suddenly without work or accommodation and international students who were stranded without support.
We used social media to reach out to the many groups we knew weren’t aware they were eligible for funding.
We created grant writing guidelines, budget and funding guidelines and other online resources to help our grant writers draft applications.
Applications for grants were often completed within 1 -3 days of matching a volunteer to a community group.
We consistently provided phone support to our grant writers and ran an information sharing session online for new grant writers coming onboard.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa
Ngā Rangatahi Toa is an Auckland based group helping young people. Director Huia O’Sullivan says they had no idea the funding was available and only applied because they saw Hui E! would provide a grant writer.
“We were so under the pump with families in crisis, we wouldn’t have had time otherwise.
I was contacted by a grant writer within one day of speaking to Hui E!. She was amazing. She pulled everything together herself, took the initiative, did her own research, and came to me with an application that was 80 per cent complete. It was just wicked. When working out the budget I was relying on her knowledge to guide me. I had created four possible budget packages and she recommended we pitch the one around wellbeing of our kids.
Hui E! definitely matched us with the right person. She’s Māori so she understood the position we were coming from in terms of tikanga and Māori methodology. That’s really significant for our families. She knew the nuance of what we were trying to portray for our young people. She told us she wanted to build the capability of our organisation, so she created a foundation document for us, something we can pull from in the future.”
The Timaru Muslim Educational Trust
During lockdown the Timaru Muslim Educational Trust was inundated with requests for help from their community. Hui E! matched Elizabeth Young with a number of community groups, including the Trust, within a week of applications opening.
Elizabeth had already applied for the grant for her own organisation, KiwiClass, in Wellington and wanted to help other groups.
“Grant writing is a necessary skill in the community sector but it’s a skill that can be hard for a community group to access at times. I started by speaking to each of them about what they were wanting to do with the funding and helped them develop a budget. Many groups don’t have a targeted need. You ask them what they need money for and they say ‘everything!’. Hui E!’s resources helped us define how they would spend the funding.
As an experienced grant writer I knew what sort of language needed to be used for the application to succeed. I was identifying funding needs for culturally diverse communities, from migrant support groups in the South Island and marae in the Far North. It was important each group was represented well, that the application was written with them not about them.
Thanks to the grant, they [the Timaru Muslim Educational Trust] received $5000 and were able to supply food parcels and vouchers for large numbers of the Muslim community who were without income and others who had been financially affected. I hope the work I did will help them apply for grants themselves in the future.”
With Hui E!’s help SriLankaNZ accessed $4830 and were able to support a greater number of migrant workers and international students who had newly arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand and were without jobs.
Sri LankaNZ is a free distributed Sri Lankan Community Newspaper that aims to reach a Sri Lankan population of over 18,000 all over Aotearoa New Zealand. Over the lockdown they quickly pivoted to addressing the immediate needs of their community using their own limited resources.
“We had never applied for funding before and had no idea how to write an application. We are primarily a newspaper, but because of that we had contact with the community and people started getting in touch with us. When we approached Hui E! for help they matched us with a grant writer within two days.
“We had never applied for funding before and had no idea how to write an application. When we approached Hui E! they matched us with a grant writer within two days.”
We continued to work with a Hui E! grant writer, they helped us look at future funding for the newspaper because we’ve seen a huge decline in advertising revenue. Without their support it would be hard to know what we’re eligible for and how to apply. We have never had to do budget statements or applications before!”