Funding for Schools

Our Funds - Learning Impact Fund and $for$ Funding 

The Otago Community Trust (the Trust) has identified education of Otago’s young people as a priority area for funding and recognises that schools themselves are best placed to determine the needs of their students. As part of its commitment to this area and with the aim of helping Otago’s young people reach their potential the Trust has set aside funds that gives schools in its region the flexibility to respond to the needs of their students. 

Outside of our Community Grants, in 2017 Otago Community Trust established two additional Funds to support Otago schools, each with their own criteria - the $for$ Fund and the Learning Impact Fund.

The objectives of the $for$ Fund and the Learning Impact Fund are as follows: 

Fund Objectives

  • Designed to lift student achievement; and/or
  • Address learning needs specific to your community; and/or
  • Target students with greater or different needs; and/or
  • Reduce barriers to education for students; and/or
  • Increase student participation in Sports and Cultural activities; and/or
  • Engage parents in student learning and connect families, Whanau and communities to school; and/or
  • Facilitate delivery of learning programmes not already funded through volunteer training and/or staff development; and/or
  • Purchase or replace resources or equipment (not funded by Govt) where acquisition will support improved outcomes; and/or
  • Encourage schools to work collaboratively.

Examples of funding that could be applied for

  • Development and delivery of projects that address raising the educational achievement of a group of students;
  • Support for the sharing of resources between schools and/or between schools and community;
  • Development of bespoke educational resources to enhance the quality of educational engagement of students;
  • Professional development and training that is not otherwise funded but which supports teachers, teacher aides and other staff/volunteers in their roles in supporting students;
  • Purchase of equipment and physical resources not currently funded that supports the quality and delivery of education;
  • Enhancing identified subject areas where students would benefit from extra support to lift achievement;
    Developing innovative pathways which improve rates of retention in education and an awareness of career options.

We do not fund

Core school activities, operational expenses (incl salaries), activities that are otherwise funded by the Ministry of Education or other providers, retrospective projects, repayment of debt etc.

$for$ Fund - Now Closed

The Trust acknowledges all schools have students who have various learning needs and wishes to support schools to address these.  The Trust has established a $1 for $1 Fund which matched a dollar for each dollar that a school made available up to the allocated amount to address the learning needs of their students.

Each school was allocated a fund based on the school roll as at July 2016 at a rate of $50 per student, with a minimum allocation of $3,000 per school.

The fund could be applied for in instalments and schools must have had matching funding available at the time of application. 

Applications were assessed in regard to the objectives of the $ for $ Fund, noted above.  All schools in the Trust’s region were eligible. 

Application Process and Timeline for the $for$ Fund:

  1.     Application received;
  2.     A decision made and communicated to applicants within four weeks from date of receipt of application;
  3.     Funding paid to applicant;
  4.     Project undertaken;
  5.     Accountability report submitted.

Learning Impact Fund - Now Closed 

The Otago Community Trust Learning Impact Fund is now closed to new Expressions of Interest and Applications. 

The Trust established the Learning Impact Fund in early 2017 to be available to support projects which would make a real difference to student achievement, but which are unable to be funded through traditional funding channels. Such projects were asked to fulfil at least two of the following criteria:

  •      Are designed to lift student achievement and/or
  •      Address learning needs specific to your community; and/or
  •      Target students with greater or different needs; and/or
  •      Reduce barriers to education for students.

Since launching the Learning Impact Fund three years ago, Otago Community Trust has approved just over $2.5 million to 13 separate Learning Impact Fund projects.

Whilst the Fund is closed for new applications, those that were submitted before the 31st March deadline will be considered by our Board in the coming months. Unfortunately we have had to hold off discussing these as we deal with more pressing matters arising from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Otago Community Trust, Learning Impact Fund Recipients - 2020

Sara Cohen School

Transition Project


George Street Normal School

Lighthouse Project


Columba College

Burn Bright & KiVa Programme


Dunstan Kahui Ako

STEAM Education Development


Weston School

Makerspace Development


Big River Cluster – South Otago

STEAM Education Development


Mornington, Opoho, Bradford School Cluster

Nga Tapa Wha - Building Strong Lives on Solid Foundations


Silverstream South Primary School

Preschool initiation into primary school


Kings High School

Positive Education Programme


Otago Peninsula / Otakou Cluster

STEAM Education Development


Kaikorai Valley College

Urban Farm Programmes


Cromwell Communities of Learning

Makerspace Development


Hills Cluster

STEM Education Development


For Further Information

For information on the $ for $ Fund and the Learning Impact Fund please contact us on 0800 10 12 40 or email