What Are Community Grants? Understanding the Basics

Do you have an idea that could transform your community for the better but don’t have the money to make it happen?

You might not be surprised to know that you’re not alone. Many people have great ideas, but they lack the financial resources to turn them into reality. Fortunately, there’s a solution that could help you achieve your community improvement dreams: community grants.

What Are Community Grants?

Community grants are funds that are awarded by organisations or governments to individuals or groups for projects and initiatives that aim to improve the lives of people in a particular community. These grants provide financial support for various activities, including education, health, infrastructure and social services.

Community grants can come from different sources such as private foundations, government agencies, and non-profit organisations. These entities provide funding for specific proposals that align with their mission or cause.

These grants are essentially free money; they are different from loans in that they are given as donations and do not have to be repaid.

Why Are Community Grants Important?

Community grants are important because they play a significant role in enabling people to work together towards community development. They provide an opportunity for individuals and groups to access funding that they wouldn’t otherwise have to bring about positive change.

The great thing about community grants – they are relatively easy to apply for. Unlike other forms of funding, community grants do not require a lot of paperwork or complicated applications. As long as your project meets the eligibility criteria and aligns with the grant’s objectives, you stand a good chance of receiving the funds.

Community grants benefit all members of the community, not just those who are directly involved in the project. By supporting initiatives that address local needs and issues, grants can help improve the overall quality of life for everyone in the community.

Furthermore, community grants promote civic engagement by encouraging individuals and groups to take an active role in shaping their communities. By providing an opportunity for people to be involved in the decision-making process and contribute to community development, grants help foster a sense of ownership and pride in the local area.

Types of Community Grants

Community grants can be broadly classified into three main categories:

  1. Project-based grants – These are grants that fund a specific project or initiative, such as building a community garden or hosting an event for the elderly.
  2. Operational grants – These are grants that provide support for ongoing activities of an organisation, such as paying staff salaries or covering rent expenses.
  3. Capital grants – These are grants that fund long-term capital projects that require significant investment, such as constructing new community facilities or renovating existing ones.

How to Apply for Community Grants

The process of applying for community grants may vary depending on the funding source and organisation offering the grant. However, if you have an idea that could benefit your community and are interested in applying for a community grant, here are some steps to guide you:

  • Research the available grants: Start by researching what types of grants are available from different sources. Look at the eligibility criteria, application requirements, deadline dates and successful projects from previous years.
  • Develop a project proposal: Once you have identified a suitable grant, develop a detailed project proposal that outlines your idea, objectives, expected outcomes, and budget. Make sure to align it with the grant’s objectives and provide evidence of community support for your project.
  • Submit your application: Follow the application guidelines carefully and submit all the required documentation before the deadline.
  • Await results: After the application deadline, it may take several weeks for the organisation to review all submissions and make a decision. If your proposal is successful, you will receive notification of approval along with the funding amount and any conditions attached to it. If your application is unsuccessful, don’t be discouraged. Use the feedback provided to improve your proposal and try again in the future.

Inner East Community Finance (IECF) – Who Are We?

IECF is a community bank that provides financial services, loans and grants to individuals and organisations in the Inner East of Australia and surrounding areas.

Started in 2003 as Canterbury Surrey Hills Community Finance Limited (CASH Group) and rebranded in 2022, IECF has been financially supporting people in the local area and giving back to the community through various sponsorships, awards and grants.

At IECF, our grants aim to empower individuals and groups to create positive change in their communities. We offer various forms of funding and believe that every person should have access to fair and affordable capital, regardless of their income or background.

Who Do We Support?

Our investment program reallocates up to 60% of our profits back into the community through grants and sponsorships.

We accept applications from local organisations and clubs in the Canterbury, Ashburton, Surrey Hills, and Balwyn areas.

We prioritise projects and initiatives that are community-driven and Provide services that address local needs and improve community links, such as:

  • Community groups and events – scout groups, trader associations, rotary clubs & probus clubs, community festivals and events
  • Community welfare organisations – aged care & seniors, disability organisations, neighbourhood houses and centres and parent support groups
  • Schools and early childhood organisations – primary schools, secondary schools, special schools, kindergartens, early learning centres and toy libraries
  • Sporting clubs – athletics, football, basketball, tennis and cricket clubs.


Community grants are an excellent way to turn your community improvement ideas into reality without having to worry about financing. They provide not only financial support but also promote civic engagement and empower individuals and groups to make a positive impact on their communities.

At IECF, we are committed to supporting local initiatives that benefit the Inner East community and encourage you to apply for our grants if you have a project in mind. Together, we can create a stronger, more connected and thriving community. Look out for upcoming grant opportunities from IECF, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information.

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