Grants: Frequently Asked Questions

The information below applies to our grants for projects. For answers to common questions about our Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards, see the Fellowship Application Guide.

Should I apply for a grant for projects or a fellowship?

Grants for projects are grants that can be given to an organisation or to individual(s) to support their work related to a project. The length of time and amount of funding for these grants depends on the specific needs of the project. There are guiding principles that apply to our consideration of grants for projects.

Grants for fellowships & awards are given to only one individual. They can be given to a host agency for administration but only for the purpose of supporting one individual. The available amount of funding and time are limited by the specific fellowship or award. There are specific guiding principles that apply to Fellowships & Awards.


Who can apply for funding?

Organisations or individuals with ideas and initiatives that can contribute to our vision and focus on benefiting Aotearoa New Zealand may apply for grants for a project. You do not need to have non-profit status to apply, however we do not fund profit-making activities. Your idea must fit with at least one of the areas identified in our Eligibility.

Be sure to also check our exclusions and guiding principles to better understand what we do and do not fund.


Do you need to be a lawyer to apply for project funding?

We fund multi-disciplinary teams, and we have found that it is generally helpful for at least one member of the team to have legal qualifications. Our purpose is to make a difference to the lives of New Zealanders through the law. As we fund legal research, legal education and legal scholarship, a team will generally be better placed to engage in this if it includes at least one legally qualified member.


Does the Borrin Foundation offer scholarships for law students?

Two of our individual programmes can be used to fund postgraduate legal study. See the specific eligibility criteria and application timelines for the Women Leaders in Law Fellowship and the Borrin Foundation – Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Postgraduate Scholarship. Outside of these programmes, we do not provide other scholarships or grants for individual postgraduate study. We do not offer funding or scholarships for undergraduate law degree study. Our project funding can be used for legal research where the research team can include legal students, but the purpose of the project funding cannot be to fund an individual’s study programme.


Do you accept proposals outside your focus areas of family law, the criminal justice system and access to civil justice?

We will consider ideas outside our strategic focus areas, depending on their alignment with our guiding principles, eligibility, vision, and mission. It will also depend on funding priorities and the number of requests and grants relative to our available pool of funding. If you have an idea outside our strategic focus areas and it fits with our guiding principles and eligibility, you can submit an unsolicited idea for consideration. See our information on applying for funding.


Do you support multi-disciplinary projects?

Yes. Our funding focus, guided by our Trust Deed, is about supporting legal research, education and scholarship. We believe multi-disciplinary projects that bring together legal expertise with other expertise such as economic or social justice, will have greater impact. See our previous grants for examples of multi-disciplinary projects.


How do I apply?

We are a proactive grant-maker. That means we actively seek out, and are open to approaches from, high-performing individuals and organisations with ideas and initiatives that can contribute to our vision. We do not run open application rounds for grants for projects. Our application process involves two steps. We will first asses an idea to determine if it fits with our funding approach. If we determine the idea fits, then we will invite you to submit a proposal for review. For more details about our application process see How We Fund and Applying for funding.


Do you have an application or template?

We do not have an application. We do have a proposal template. This will be provided to you if you are invited to submit a full proposal for funding.


Do I need letters of support or reference letters?

Reference letters and letters of support are not required to be submitted with grant proposals. However, if your proposal is for a project that is contingent on a specific relationship or provision of support or service from an organisation, you should include confirmation in writing from that organisation of their agreement to provide this. For example, if you propose to analyse data held by a government agency, it would be beneficial to include written confirmation (such as an email or letter) if you have already received approval for this data to be provided.


Do I need to consider ethics approval?

If your proposal involves people or the collection or analysis of personal information, you should seek ethics review and approval. If you are unsure, ask us when you are preparing your proposal.

If you are based at a tertiary education institution, we expect that as part of your project you will seek approval from the institution’s ethics committee. If you do not have an institutional ethics committee, we recommend you seek approval from the New Zealand Ethics Committee. For more information about research ethics see the Royal Society Te Apārangi Code of Professional Standards and Ethics and Research Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand. If your proposal involves research, you should include a statement about your plans to seek ethics approval.


What is the deadline for submitting a proposal?

We review grants year-round. Unsolicited ideas for funding can be submitted at any time. Full proposals are reviewed at our Grants and Scholarships Committee meetings. These meetings usually occur every two months. Proposals must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of a meeting to be considered. When we invite you to submit a proposal, we will outline the specific upcoming timelines.


How much money can I ask for?

The amount of funding we have available to award each year in total is $1 to $1.5 million. While there is no restriction on the amount of funding you may request, most of our grants are for less than $80,000 provided over one to two years. A small number of grants are awarded over $200,000 and for more than two years. If your idea requires significant funding or will span multiple years, you may want to consider seeking funding from multiple sources or applying for funding for the first step of your project, such as background research, pilot project, evaluation, or seed funding. For examples, see grants we have awarded in the past.


Do you provide operational funding?

We do not fund service delivery or operating costs for business as usual.


Do you provide sustainable funding?

We do not provide ongoing or long-term support.


How long does it take to find out if we will receive funding?

Typically,  our process takes about 3 months. If your timeline is urgent, please let us know when proposing your idea.


Who will consider my application?

Ideas for funding are initially reviewed by our staff for fit against our funding focus, guiding principles, eligibility, and exclusions.

The Grants and Scholarships Committee makes decisions on grant proposals.


Can I apply again if we have previously been unsuccessful?

Yes. You may submit a new idea for consideration. If your unsolicited idea or proposal was declined, we are unlikely to reconsider a request for funding in the same idea.