If you are feeling unwell and think you may have COVID-19 symptoms, contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 (Freecall). Official information about COVID-19 from the NSW Government. Resources and information on support for Aboriginal people can be found at the COVID-19 and Aboriginal Communities – Essential Information page.

2022 Closing The Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants (CLOSED)

The Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants program aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the NSW Government working together to overcome inequality and achieve life outcomes equal to all Australians.

The Closing the Gap NSW Implementation Plan commits to building the capability of ACCOs through funding and business opportunities.

The Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants program provides one-off funding to eligible ACCOs to address common challenges acquiring NSW Government funding.

Important dates

Applications open 9am Tuesday, 22 February 2022. 

Applications close 5pm Monday, 4 April 2022. 

View the Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants Webinar replay here 

Projects must be delivered by recipients between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 (this will be a condition of grant funding). 

One application per applicant is eligible per calendar year.

Timeline

Date 
Task 
22 February 2022 
Applications Open 
4 April 2022 
Applications Close 
Late March – mid May 2022 
Assessment and approval of applications 
Late May - early June
Successful and unsuccessful applicants notified
Mid - late June 2022 
Funds released 
Beginning July 2022 
Projects commence no earlier than 1 July 2022
30 June 2023
Projects completed no later than 30 June 2023
August 2022 – July 2023 
Project reporting and financial acquittals  


Late applications will not be considered or accepted unless Aboriginal Affairs NSW, in its sole discretion, determines that it is in the interests of the fairness of the program to accept the late application – please see ‘How to Apply’ for more detail.

Applications are to be completed online at https://aboriginalaffairs.smartygrants.com.au/

How much can I apply for?

A total of $4.225 million in funding is available via two streams:   

Stream 1: Strengthening Capability – Grants of up to $50,000

Stream 2: Grow and Expand – Grants of up to $200,000

Program objectives

The Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants funding program aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Strengthen the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector operating in NSW to deliver more services that meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the state.
  • Grow the capability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations (ACCOs) to win NSW Government contracts and/or receive NSW Government funding.
  • Scale-up and diversify ACCOs to help establish service delivery plans with new sectors, locations, audiences or markets.


What can I apply for? What will not be funded?

Funding can be used for projects that meet the outcomes of Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants program. The following are examples of the types of activities that may be funded.

Stream 1: Strengthening Capability
Grants up to $50,000 for ACCOs to address common challenges securing NSW Government funding.  

Funding can be used for:

Category
Examples of Projects
Strategic Foundations
 

Activities may include, but not limited to:

  • Grant writing support
  • Exploring how to diversify funding sources
  • Business case development
  • Feasibility studies
  • Support to set SMART goals and develop project plans
  • Establishing corporate and business values
  • Creating and developing corporate governance structures
  • Developing  strategic plans, organisational vision and strategy
  • Developing organisational policies and procedures
  • Compliance with sector-specific governance standards
  • Planning for scaling up and down operations
Business Operations
 
Activities may include, but not limited to:
  • Leadership training/programs
  • Planning for leadership succession, including for young people
  • Improving management practices and systems (including human resource management)
  • Financial management systems
  • Staff empowerment and organisational change management
  • Developing partnerships, external relations and networking, including with community, NSW Government and the private sector
  • Establishing and supporting place-based partnerships and coordination mechanism
  • Incorporating community feedback into service planning, design and delivery
  • Facilitating community ownership and control, embedding culture
  • Harnessing existing community capability and its leaders
  • Embedding community development approaches
Operating Systems
 
Activities may include, but not limited to:
  • Procurement planning
  • General IT and software training courses, or training on how to use technology to better engage specific communities or client groups
  • Personal technology and equipment for a flexible workforce
  • Review and develop a mixed service delivery model that allows for improved online and face-to-face services
  • Purchase of new or upgrade software to manage client information, bookings, and client files
  • Developing  a social media and/or digital marketing plan
Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting
Activities may include, but not limited to:
  • Strengthen capability to monitor progress and performance
  • Develop monitoring and evaluations plans and program logics
  • Capture output and outcome data for reporting
  • Demonstrate impact of project activities
  • Strengthen grant acquittal skills


Stream 2: Grow and Expand

Grants up to $200,000 for ACCOs already receiving NSW Government funding, to grow and/or diversify their service offerings.

Funding can be used for:

Category
Examples of Projects
Service Models
 
Activities may include, but not limited to:
Undertake market research, user testing and data analysis
Develop a business plan to expand existing services into a new sector, location or target community
Develop a business plan to expand into new sectors and service offerings
Develop new policies, procedures, staffing structure or risk management framework
Operating Systems
 
Activities may include, but not limited to:
Procurement planning
General IT and software training courses, or training on how to use technology to better engage specific communities or client groups
Personal technology and equipment for a flexible workforce
Review and develop a mixed service delivery model that allows for improved online and face-to-face services
Purchase of new or upgrade software to manage client information, bookings and client files
Develop  a social media and/or digital marketing plan
Establish a Social Enterprise
Activities may include, but not limited to:
Establish a legal entity including legal fees and registration costs
Develop a funding model and business plan
Establishment costs to commence service delivery or production
Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting
Activities may include, but not limited to:
Strengthen capability to monitor progress and performance
Develop  monitoring and evaluations plans and program logics
Capture output and outcome data for reporting
Demonstrate the impact of project activities
Strengthen grant acquittal skills

 

Funding cannot be used for:

  • Capital works, including building, construction, renovations, housing-related costs or the purchase of land.
  • Purchase of vehicles.
  • Wages, salaries and on-costs for ongoing staff.
  • Sitting fees, travel allowance or costs associated with membership of boards/councils.
  • International travel costs. Proposals for domestic travel costs need to demonstrate the benefits of travel to the project, organisation, and community.
  • Activities that may create an ongoing dependency on Closing the Gap Grant funding, i.e. funding over multiple years.
  • Costs that are not directly associated with the delivery of the project that is funded by the grant.
  • Project costs that are supported by another grant, subsidy or financial assistance.
  • Project costs incurred prior to earliest possible project start date of 1 July 2022 (no retrospective funding will be awarded)
  • Cost to cover existing debts or budget deficits
  • General operational costs.


Who can apply for funding?

To be eligible for a Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grant, applicants must be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Organisation (ACCO) or an unincorporated Aboriginal community group with an agreement for an ACCO to auspice the funding.

An Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Organisation delivers services, including land and resource management, that builds the strength and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and people and is:

  • incorporated under relevant legislation and not-for-profit
  • controlled and operated by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people
  • connected to the community, or communities, in which they deliver the services
  • governed by a majority Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander governing body.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant organisation must be an eligible legal entity located in NSW and able to enter into a funding agreement with Aboriginal Affairs NSW.
  • Applicant organisations must have public liability of at least $10 million per claim or include the cost of insurance within their application.
  • Unincorporated Aboriginal community group that has entered into an agreement with an eligible organisation to auspice the funding. Unincorporated groups must be Aboriginal community groups – that is, they must be led by Aboriginal people.

 
Applicants applying under Stream 1: Strengthening Capability also need to meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants who intend to apply for NSW Government funding, contracts or supply goods or services to NSW Government in the next twenty-four months (i.e. 30 June 2024) and need support

Applicants applying under Stream 2: Grow and Expand also need to meet the following criteria:

  • Receiving NSW Government funding to deliver an existing service to communities within NSW.
  • Developing a new or expanding an existing service or social enterprise that includes NSW Government support

Applicants not eligible for funding are:

  • Individuals.
  • Incorporated not-for-profit organisations not controlled or operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Federal and State Government agencies and bodies.
  • NSW Public Schools.
  • For-profit organisations, including Aboriginal businesses.
  • Unincorporated organisations or groups without an eligible auspicing organisation.
  • Organisations that have not met project requirements, including acquittal, and reporting for funding received from Aboriginal Affairs NSW in the previous two years.
  • Organisations with redress sanctions, as described in the National Redress Scheme.

See the FAQs for further information on what can and can’t be funded.

 
Auspice Organisations:

An auspicing organisation means that another organisation, which is an eligible organisation under this grant program, agrees to apply for and be responsible for the grant funding, on behalf of your unincorporated association or group.

Aboriginal Affairs NSW has template Auspice Agreements available for funded organisations to use and adapt.

 
How to apply

Applications are to be completed online at the Aboriginal Affairs NSW online grants platform.

Apply Now Apply Now

Applicants can choose to submit a video response to application questions on project objectives and outcomes. Grant Contact Officers are available to support applicants with recording and preparing a file for upload, if required.

Applications must be submitted by 5pm Friday, 25 March 2022. Late applications will not be considered or accepted unless Aboriginal Affairs NSW determines that it is in the interests of the fairness of the program to accept the late application.

This may include that an applicant experienced exceptional circumstances that were:

  • reasonably unforeseeable
  • beyond the applicant’s control
  • unable to be managed or resolved within the application period.

Exceptional circumstances will be considered on their merits and in accordance with probity principles.

If your organisation is affected by exceptional circumstances, contact Aboriginal Affairs NSW to advise of the circumstances as soon as possible and be able to provide detail and evidence of the exceptional circumstance.

The applicant will be advised of the outcome of their project application by late May-early June 2022.

 Unsuccessful applicants will be offered a feedback session, if required.

 
Assessment criteria and process

This is an open and competitive grants program. Applications will be assessed against the criteria and ranked competitively against each other. 

Applications with the highest scores are more likely to be funded. 

Once the funding round closes, applications will be screened for eligibility. Ineligible applicants will be notified in writing. Eligible applications will then be assessed by a panel comprising senior Aboriginal Affairs NSW officers and independent subject matter experts based on the assessment criteria.

The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs is the final decision-maker and will consider the recommendations of the assessment panel in making a decision. 

Aboriginal Affairs NSW staff may request further advice and/or clarification from applicants at any time during the assessment process.

If there is a high demand or where the application includes some ineligible activities or budget items, applicants may be offered part of the funding sought in their application. 

Independent probity advisers will provide guidance on issues concerning integrity, fairness and accountability that may arise throughout the application, assessment and decision process. This will help ensure decisions are made with integrity, fairness and accountability, while delivering value for money for NSW.

Assessment will be based on the following criteria:

Criteria 
 
What are we looking for? 
 
Weighting 
Impact
Evidence the project will strengthen capability to apply for NSW Government funding.
Evidence the project meets a community need and will improve outcomes for community.
30%
Delivery

Demonstrated project planning
Explanation of what the funding will do, how it will be spent, and how the project meets the program aims and objectives

30%
Capability
Experience managing previous projects or relevant training and experience of key staff involved in the project.
 
20%
Value/Viability It is clear how budget items contribute to the project outcomes.
A realistic and accurate budget that represents value for money.
 
20%

 

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information on the criteria.

Resources

Program Guidelines

Stream 1 Step-by-Step guide for Applicants

Stream 2 Step-by-Step guide for Applicants

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Budget guide


Other important information


COVID-19 impacts

Due to the changing impacts of COVID-19 across NSW, projects must be in-line with NSW Government public health orders and advice, for example with regard to social distancing and public gatherings. Up-to-date information is available here.

If COVID-19 rules in NSW change during the grants period, Aboriginal Affairs NSW may request further information from you on how you propose to manage COVID-19 risks for your project.

Funding arrangements and reporting

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Enter into a Funding Agreement with Aboriginal Affairs NSW within two weeks of the grant offer being made.
  • Start and complete funded activities and events by the dates specified in the Funding Agreement.
  • Notify Aboriginal Affairs NSW of any proposed changes to your funded activity.
  • Acknowledge the support of Aboriginal Affairs NSW in accordance with the Funding Acknowledgement Guidelines insert hyperlink to grant program website.
  • Report on outcomes from the activity and acquit the grant within 21 days of project completion. Evidence to support this can be uploaded in SmartyGrants and must include proof of expenditure (copies of invoices and receipts) as well as photos, media coverage, links to video clips, etc., where relevant.
  • If the acquittal is not completed within the required timeframe, you will not be eligible to apply for Aboriginal Affairs NSW grants for the following two years.

Disclosure of information

Information relating to the successful applications will be included in:

  • public media releases
  • an announcement on the Aboriginal Affairs NSW website
  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW social media.

This information may include the name of the applicant and their business, a description of the funded project and the funding amount.

Applicants should be aware that information provided to Aboriginal Affairs NSW may be made publicly available under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW). Information may also be made publicly available as a result of an order for papers made by the NSW Legislative Council under Standing Order 52. 

Before information is released in response to an application under the GIPA Act, there will be an assessment of the public interest considerations in favour of and against disclosure of that information and there may be consultation requirements that apply. 

Any Aboriginal Cultural or Intellectual Property submitted in an application remains the property of the relevant community organisation or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person and will be dealt with in accordance with the Aboriginal Cultural and Intellectual Property Protocol which is available at insert hyperlink to grant program website.

 
Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that this publication is free from error and/or omission at the date of publication. The authors, publisher and any person involved in the preparation of this publication take no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of information contained herein.

 
Support and contacts 

Grant Contact Officers are available to answer questions regarding the Aboriginal Affairs NSW Closing the Gap Strengthening Community Capability Grants:

Telephone: 1800 019 998

Email: grants@aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au




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