Sharing our funding practice: action funding

Through our ‘Change’ funding stream, The Todd Foundation supports communities to tackle some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most pressing social issues, such as housing, digital equity, food resilience, and diversity and inclusion.

Our community partners tell us that sustained funding is key to achieving their mission. The issues they are trying to shift require a long-term focus so we offer flexible, untagged, multi-year funding where we can – alongside other funders.

We’ve observed that our community partners often allocate funding early on to help pay for basic operating costs and some initial project costs. While working alongside them, we’ve identified several instances where additional funding – delivered in a timely way, with minimal red tape – could help them achieve ‘quick wins’, accelerate progress towards their long-term vision, and maximise their impact. 

So over the last two years, we’ve trialled ‘action funding’ as a flexible and agile way we can further support our community partners, in addition to the multi-year support we give them. We are finding that action funding is a useful tool to have in our toolbelt.

Transformational change requires responsive, flexible and high-trust funding

Action funding is for groups that staff already have high-trust relationships with and who we fund under our ‘Fairer Futures’ Change funding stream. It supports clear, deliverable actions, which are emergent, timebound, and mission-aligned. The groups that have received action funding include:

Kōkiri Marae

Kōkiri Marae have been working towards their long-term aspirations for kai sovereignty and resilience. In the four years we’ve supported them, they’ve developed a Pātaka kai (food pantry) and an abundant māra kai (food garden), to produce nutritious food for local whānau and to revive knowledge about how to grow kai.

In 2022, our action funding supported them to establish a new collective called He Puāwai Trust. Emerging from relationships formed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust brings together community organisations in Te Awa Kairangi (The Hutt Valley), focused on making the shift away from foodbanks towards resilient food hubs and sustainable, local food systems.

Manaaki Rangatahi

We support the Manaaki Rangatahi collective on their mission to end youth homelessness in Aotearoa. An action funding boost has enabled them to:

  • send a delegation of young people with lived experience of homelessness to Parliament to advocate for change

  • become their own independent legal entity

  • travel to communities around the country to support the development of local housing initiatives that meet the needs of rangatahi.

Hikurangi Enterprises

One of our long-term community partners, Hikurangi Enterprises, is delivering healthy and affordable housing for whānau experiencing severe overcrowding through their Whare Ora initiative, and there is a lot of interest in their model. To support other hapū to get buy-in to build Whare Ora in their own communities, Hikurangi Enterprises is developing an evaluation framework to share their learnings and demonstrate their impact. Alongside contributions from MAS Foundation, Tindall Foundation, WEAVE, and Te Kāhui Pūmanawa, Todd Foundation action funding is supporting them to make this happen.

How is action funding administered?

  • Todd Foundation staff identify opportunities to support emergent action alongside our community partners as they arise.

  • There is no need for our community partners to fill in an application form. Our staff write action funding proposals, undertaking due diligence, and ensuring there is a clear rationale for action funding that meets our criteria.

  • Action funding donations are often relatively small (between $5,000 and $50,000) and are usually able to be approved under our Executive Director’s delegated authority with oversight from our Board Chair, or by our trustees for larger amounts (with a turnaround of five days). This allows us to be agile and respond quickly.

  • Sometimes our funding contribution is small, however, it can be leveraged to facilitate other funders to come on board. Some other funders who we work with are also able to support rapid, emergent action. This means that we can respond as a collective. 

If you’d like to find out more about our approach, we invite you to get in touch.