Social Justice Small Grants Criteria

The Mercy Foundation’s Social Justice Small Grants Program provides seed funding to assist communities and organisations to build capacity that will help create structural change and bring about greater social justice in Australia. The Mercy Foundation seeks to create greater social equity and inclusion in the Australian community.

Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000.

The closing date for grant applications is 4 March 2019.


Each year, the program will have a particular focus on, although not limited to, a specific social justice issue. The focus for 2019 is Justice for our Environment. Projects that work to protect, restore or repair our environment will be prioritised.

This includes issues such as:

  • Protection and conservation of water
  • Conservation or rehabilitation of the environment
  • Minimising waste
  • Care for wildlife especially threatened species
  • Rebalancing ecosystems
  • Minimizing future environmental damage
  • Addressing depleting resources
  • Clean and renewable energy


The following criteria will be used to assess Social Justice Small Grant applications:

  • Innovative projects that require seed funding to increase social equity and inclusion and challenge unjust structures and systems will be prioritised. The focus for 2019 is on projects that work to protect, restore or repair our environment. Projects that address other social justice areas may also be submitted for consideration.
  • The Mercy Foundation prioritises projects that target disadvantaged women and/or women with children, regardless of the annual social justice focus issue.
  • Applications are accepted for projects that are run wholly within Australia, by community based groups or organisations based in Australia.
  • Organisations applying for funds must be a legal entity (or auspiced by a legal entity), not-for-profit and therefore exempt from income tax, but are not required to have Deductible Gift Recipient status.
  • Small to medium organisations with a turnover of less than $500,000 with limited access to other funding sources are prioritised.

Social Justice Small Grants do not fund:

  1. Core (normal) operating costs of applicant organisations
  2. Vehicles
  3. For-profit organisations
  4. Private individuals
  5. Projects that require recurrent funding
  6. General fundraising appeals
  7. Research
  8. Deficit funding
  9. Duplication of existing services
  10. Organisations that have, or have access to, significant government or other funding
  11. Government entities
  12. Projects that do not meet the identified goals and priorities of the Mercy Foundation.

Other considerations:

  1. The objective of the project must be clear and measurable.
  2. Organisations must demonstrate capacity to implement and manage the project.
  3. Organisations need to explain how a project will continue if the key person (who might be a board member, staff member or volunteer organiser) leaves the project while it is still being implemented.
  4. The application should include how the project will be evaluated and what developments or future actions will come from the project.
  5. Applications require the completion of the appropriate application form and a brief description of the organisation and an annual report or similar document to substantiate the organisation’s status.
  6. Applicants must provide referees who can vouch for the organisation’s competencies and the project’s viability.

The small grants applications will be assessed and prioritised for funding according to the above criteria, with consideration given to ensuring there is a fair representation of projects from different states across Australia.

Please contact the Mercy Foundation on 02 9911 7390 or email if you have any questions about the grants eligibility guidelines.

2019 Social Justice Small Grants Criteria