Criteria for applications

The Gambling Act 2003 requires us to annually review the criteria, methods, systems, and policies we use for distributing our net proceeds. In November 2023, The Lion Foundation Trustees reviewed the grants criteria. The review did not result in any material changes to the criteria, methods, systems, and policies.

Who can apply?

In order to successfully obtain a grant, your organisation must be incorporated (e.g. under the Incorporated Societies Act,  Charitable Trusts Act or other legislation).  It must also have Charities Commission registration or an IRD income tax exemption (e.g. for sports bodies as a body promoting amateur games and sports).

Information about how to become incorporated can be found at

If your organisation is “charitable” it may register with the Charities Commission (see

If your organisation is not deemed to be “charitable” but nevertheless has objectives which are beneficial to the community it may qualify for an exemption from income tax from IRD.  IRD will consider your organisation for income tax exempt status if you send them the following:

  • IRD number – if your organisation does not have one, you will need to apply by completing an IRD number application – non-individual (IR596)
  • a copy of its rules, constitution, trust deed or other founding  documents
  • a copy of its Certificate of Incorporation (if applicable)
  • a letter stating the type(s) of exemption being requested (eg income tax exemption as a body promoting amateur games & sports / local or regional promotion body / non-profit organisation)
  • details of how it has been or will be operating

Your organisation may also be eligible if it is affiliated to a group that is legally constituted and can provide a governance letter stating:

  1. the group follows the constitution of the parent body
  2. the group provides the parent body with a copy of their annual accounts
  3. should the group close, the parent body will assume their assets and liabilities e.g. local branches of Special Olympics affiliating to Special Olympics NZ.


Funding Workshop Webinar

We hold regular Funding Workshop webinars where we provide information about making an application for a grant from The Lion Foundation, some of the dos and don’ts, plus we provide some tips to assist you to make a successful application. Take a look…


What can you apply for?

Funds are available for charitable, philanthropic or cultural purposes that benefits the local community. 

Funding is distributed between the areas of community, which includes arts and culture (30%), health (15%), sport (40%) and education (15%).

All grants must be used for goods and services within New Zealand to meet Inland Revenue requirements and we can generally only fund events or projects that will take place during the next six months. We cannot fund any retrospective activities or transactions already incurred e.g. deposits and purchases made prior to approval of the grant. No exceptions.

Please note that all applications are subject to the availability of funds within the local community and compliance with authorised purposes.

Things we cannot fund:

Retrospective grants
All grants must be applied to specific and future based purposes, and we generally only fund events or projects that will take place during the next six months.

Unfortunately, we cannot fund any events, activities or projects where expenses and costs have been already incurred or pre-paid e.g. deposits and purchases made prior to approval of the grant. In general, applications received less than eight weeks prior to the event or activity taking place are less likely to be successful.

International Travel expenses
Although The Lion Foundation funds certain travel within New Zealand we do not fund international travel. This includes costs associated with international travel such as: departure tax, travel insurance, overseas accommodation or internal travel within an overseas country.

Certain Sporting expenses
To be eligible for a grant, your club/organisation must be taking part in a ‘bona fide’ event sanctioned by a legitimate regional or national body that is organised as a controlling body of the sport. It must also have genuine standards and rules, be played on a regular basis as part of a significant competition and be affiliated to a regional or national body.

We are unable to fund (for example) :

  • grants for individual sportspersons unless the grant is made to, and administered by an incorporated sporting body to which the individual is affiliated. If the individual is participating in an event that attracts prizes, all prizes must be forfeited to that sporting body.
  • grants that further the activities of professional sportspersons.
  • prizes for sporting events, except trophies or modest non-cash prizes for use in genuine community sporting events.
  • trade tournaments or sporting events staged primarily for publicity and /or the benefit of a select/invited industry group.
  • food and alcohol.
  • sporting trips for supporters and spectators.
  • the provision of furniture, equipment, refurbishment or upgrade of a bar facility in clubrooms.
  • dress or training uniforms, or any equipment or apparel of a personal nature.
  • costs associated with staging ‘after match’ functions for sporting groups.

Please note: Travel and accommodation costs can only be approved where an official itinerary endorsed by the host body is supplied with an itemised breakdown of proposed costs.

Although we will consider vehicle leases and the purchase of a vehicle to carry out the day to day business of an eligible organisation, we cannot fund the purchase or subsidy of vehicles to be used for private or commercial activities, social functions or motor sport.

We do not fund fuel charges.

We are unable to fund the promotion of tourism, unless the specific place being promoted is a public amenity such as a park or a museum.

The Racing Industry
We are unable to fund:

  • stake money
  • payments to professional jockeys.
  • activities or expenses in connection with the breeding of racehorses or greyhounds.
  • payment for a facility or service that would give commercial benefit to owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders or other people in the racing industry.

Grants which have already been funded by another organisation.
We can only approve a grant if the applicant has not received full funding from another source for the same purpose.

Any grant in which a venue has a vested interest.
There must be no intent by a Lion Foundation venue and the recipient of funds to enter into a verbal or written agreement where there is a clear commercial benefit to the hotel, for example, backhanders, the purchase of alcohol, patronage of the hotel etc.

No grant may be linked to, or be conditional on, any venue-related arrangement.

No procurement fee, commission and/or discount, contra arrangement or payment of any kind may be entered into with any person(s) who is an employee or member of The Lion Foundation.