The Ultimate Guide to Sports Grants in Australia
The Ultimate Guide to Sports Grants in Australia
January 19, 2024
For the majority of Australians, sport is an essential part of life. However, findings from the Australian Sports Foundation’s “Your Sport Your Say” report indicate a concerning decline in participation within community clubs, with 52% citing the cost of living as a growing barrier to member registrations. With athletes having to spend an average of $13,850 each year to cover registration fees, equipment, travel, coaching and other expenses, the sad reality is that many Australians simply can’t afford to participate in their sport. Adding to this dilemma, a recent study has also revealed that physical inactivity is estimated to add $2.4 billion to the nation’s annual health bill.
Making sure Aussies of all ages stay active in sports isn’t just about having fun – it’s also a key health priority. To help make sport more accessible to all, various organisations and governments offer grants for individual athletes, organisations, and learning and development opportunities for officials.
Individual Athlete Grants
If you’re an individual athlete needing support to play your sport, here are four grants that you may be eligible for:
Local Para Champions
The Local Para Champions grant is available to athletes aged 12-24 who are participating in an event, division or competition that is only open to athletes with a disability.
The total value available for this grant is dependent on the distance the applicant has to travel to compete, with between $750 and $1,000 available. There are three rounds of applications annually for the grant, with the wait time for outcomes sitting at about one month from the closing date for that round.
Local Sporting Champions
Following similar guidelines, the Local Sporting Champions grant is available to athletes, coaches, and officials participating in state, national, or international championships.
In this case, the applicant must be turning 12 to 18 years old in the same calendar year as the nominated championships and live more than 125 kilometres from the championship venue. The funding available is between $500 and $750, with the total amount received similarly based on the required travel distance. Again, three application rounds for this are open throughout the year.
Compensation Grant Program
The Compensation Grant Program offers financial support to Paralympians whose Disability Support Pension (DSP) payments have been affected due to travelling outside Australia for training and/or competitions exceeding the general travel allowance of 28 days per financial year.
There is no maximum limit, and one application round per year.
dAIS Athlete Grant
The dAIS Athlete Grant is designed to identify, develop, and progress elite athletes by providing them with direct financial support to allow them to focus on training and competitions when representing Australia.
To be eligible for this grant, the athlete in question must be participating in the Olympic, Paralympic, or Commonwealth Games, and should be working along a defined and time-limited pathway to their competition.
While dAIS is a direct athlete grant, athletes do not apply for a dAIS grant by themselves and instead must be nominated by their National Sporting Organisation (NSO).
Grants for Clubs & Organisations
Sporting organisations are also eligible for grants to help fund their activities and promote participation in sport within their community.
Play for Purpose
The Play for Purpose funding solution is the first of its kind in the world, taking the form of a year-round fundraising raffle. Clubs can register for free online.
50% of all tickets purchased are directed towards club projects, and there are hundreds of prizes available, along with bonus incentives and a top prize of $250,000.
The Sporting Schools grant aims to increase children’s participation and community involvement through sport, by providing 35 different Sporting Schools programs to schools at no cost to students or their families.
There are a number of programs targeting a few different age groups, including primary school, years 7-8, and years 9-10. There are four application rounds for Sporting Schools - one per term.
Funding available ranges from $1,000 to $3,650, with additional funds available to support schools with additional needs, including regional/remote and special schools. Any Australian school registered with their respective state or territory school registration authority and with an ACARA ID listed on the Australian Schools List website can register with Sporting Schools.
Play Well Participation Grant Program
This program is intended to expand existing or invest in new programs to address the barriers to sports participation within the community. The funding available is between $10,000 and $300,000.
NSOs and national sporting organisations for people with disability (NSODs) are welcome to apply but must be not-for-profit and at least three years old. Individual clubs are not eligible but are encouraged to talk to their state and/or national bodies to express their interest in the Program.
Local government councils are also welcome to apply, and must partner with a state or local sporting organisation or university to deliver at least one sport listed on the ASC's Sport Directory. These applicants are eligible to receive up to $40,000.
National Integrity Capability Enhancement Program
The National Integrity Capability Enhancement Program aims to support national sporting organisations and NSODs in enhancing the integrity capability of their organisation by embedding the National Integrity Framework at all levels of their sport. The National Integrity Framework is a set of rules to ensure consistency in the standard of behaviour and conduct in sport.
The first stream is available to organisations funded through the National Integrity Manager grant program. The funding pool is a total of $1.67mil, with a maximum benefit of $120,000 for a single organisation.
The second stream is for those who do not receive funding through the aforementioned program, and has a total pool of $330,000, with the same maximum single benefit of $120,000.
Active Kids Grant
As the name suggests, this grant aims to provide organisations with additional support, such as uniforms or equipment, to help boost engagement in sport by children. This is offered by the Australian Sports Foundation and applies to organisations supporting youths under 20 years of age. There is no maximum value for this grant, however, on average, the amount granted is usually between $3,500 and $4,500. Organisations can register with the ASF for free before applying.
Learning and Development Grants
The third type of sporting grant available in Australia are Learning and Development grants. These are intended to improve sporting communities through education, development, and leadership opportunities.
Elevate Learning Grants Program
This grant is aimed at the Performance Pathways workforce, helping to identify, support, and progress them by supporting the cost of sport-specific education, professional development opportunities, and associated expenses.
The application requires a 2,300 word summary detailing the athlete's specific goals, as well as how the grant and experience will impact them. There are three application rounds annually for this grant program.
AIS Research Program
The AIS Research Program aims to support the undertaking of quality R&D project(s) that will lead to better decision-making in the context of return to play and sport performance, supporting safe and efficient, state-of-the-art management of injuries and/or illnesses.
The total amount available for this grant is $400,000, and the two-year project is intended to begin in 2024. There is one application round each year for the AIS Research Program. There are a number of factors for those considering applying for this grant to take into account.
Women in Sport
Women in Australia are underrepresented across the sporting industry, whether it’s as athletes or as officials, coaches, and board members. Luckily, the AIS has grants available to level the playing field, with over 26,000 women across over 800 sporting organisations already being supported.
In particular, the AIS funds learning and development opportunities falling into four main categories, with each requiring a letter of support from a relevant manager or direct report.
The Executive Program is designed to improve diversity, equity and inclusion among women in sport. This is achieved through an assessment and action plan, as well as workshops and real-life implementation support.
Leadership Workshops involve three sessions that take place over seven weeks and cover a range of topics involved in leadership. The goal of these workshops is to enhance leadership skills and to offer women access to professional development opportunities.
Individual Grants to access professional development is open to women at every level of the sporting community. There are three application tiers, with a total of $200,000 available to be used towards select courses and training programs. These must align with the goals of the individual and the scheme and cannot be used for courses that offer fee deferral.
Organisation Grants are intended to better reflect Australian society and create a fairer and more inclusive environment for all genders, as well as address systemic and cultural barriers. There is $170,000 in the pool for this, and a maximum of $15,000 available to a single organisation, with the total amount awarded determined by assessment.
We hope this helps to direct you towards the right grant for yourself or your organisation.
Take your time to learn more about the grants that you may be eligible for by following the relevant links provided above, where you’ll find more about the requirements, important dates and application guidelines.
Don’t forget, these are just general grants available largely at the federal level - there are often more grants available depending on your sport and your state of residence. Plus, you can always start your own fundraiser through ASF!
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