The Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund was founded in 2019 through a $1 million endowment from the New Zealand Government in recognition of the men who were convicted for consensual homosexual activities pre-1986. The original idea for the Fund was put forward by the men whose convictions have or are being expunged through a scheme established in 2018. The Homosexual Law Reform Act 1986 decriminalised sexual relations between men aged 16 and over but, prior to its passage, men having consensual sex with each other were liable to prosecution and a term of imprisonment. These men were the recipients of an apology issued by the Minister of Justice in 2017.

After the Fund was announced, it was agreed that it would be held and administered by The Rule Foundation, given the alignment with the Foundation’s kaupapa and focus. In 2021, a further endowment of $800,000 was made to the Foundation by the New Zealand Government.


The intention for the Fund is to support projects, activities and organisations to improve mental health outcomes for future generations of Rainbow communities, particularly for young people. It was the hope of those who initially put forward the idea for the Fund that their suffering as a result of their convictions would be turned into positive outcomes for others within the rainbow community.

The Fund will allocate grants with a view to improving, sustaining and/or supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the Rainbow Community. Grants will be targeted at activities that will improve the capacity and capability of communities to support Rainbow mental health and wellbeing, such as resource development, community events, digital supports, information sharing initiatives and campaigns, research and training.


Key criteria

Applications must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Clearly demonstrate the difference that the application, if funded, will make to the mental health and wellbeing of the rainbow community, and the context or evidence that has informed the need for this funding.
  • Promote community wellbeing with a focus on cultural, sporting or historical elements of rainbow communities.
  • Develop capacity, for example: training for staff, volunteers and members in rainbow community organisations; developing and disseminating mental health and wellbeing resources on what works; developing rainbow communities’ leadership and self reliance.
  • Show consideration of and directly address communities that are more vulnerable to mental distress including: Māori, Pacific peoples, migrants, refugees, bisexual, gender diverse and intersex people.
  • Have a focus on youth.
  • Take a holistic view of wellbeing. Applications that can demonstrate a link to wellbeing from activities that focus on raising awareness, participation, inclusion or accessibility are especially welcome.
  • Involve rainbow personnel/organisations in a leadership, planning, implementation or partnership capacity.

Other criteria

Please consider the below additional criteria before submitting your application:


  • Collaborations between community organisations are encouraged, and will be considered favourably. 


  • Applications should demonstrate compliance with current (and potential future ongoing) Ministry of Health social distancing and other legal requirements related to COVID-19.

Duplication of existing work

  • Applications must not seek funding activities that are primarily the domain of the Ministry of Health, or other government agencies, to fund or deliver, or otherwise duplicate activities that are already funded.

  • Applications are expected to take the wider Rainbow community context into account.

  • Applications that are able to demonstrate how the proposed research or initiative will fill a current gap, or can clearly indicate how the project fundamentally differs from existing service offerings will be considered favourably.

Funding amounts

  • The minimum grant request is $5,000, maximum is $20,000 (including up to $20,000 per year if applying for multiple years of funding)

Individuals applying to the fund

  • Generally, grants will not be awarded to individuals, although groups are not required to have a formal organisation in order to apply

Media / creative applications

  • Media/creative applications should have at least one of the following qualities: 
    • The application strongly mixes a creative pursuit with another purpose of the Fund (e.g. legacy, youth participation in telling their own stories, a focus on marginalised communities within the rainbow community).
    • Broad appeal and/or free distribution and/or easily accessible and/or not only in one part of the country.
    • Community, population or issue focused – not focused on one individual.

Multiple grants benefitting the same organisation

  • An organisation can be the main fund holder for only one application per round.

  • It is unlikely that grants will be awarded if the effect would result in is such that any one organisation benefits significantly from multiple grants

  • However, organisations may collaborate on more than one application per round.

Multi-year funding

  • Applications may be accepted for funding for  up to three years, paid annually over this period.

  • Applicants will be asked to provide a brief project update after the first year in order for years 2 and 3 of funding to be released to them.

  • An applicant/organisation already receiving a multi-year grant from the Fund will not be eligible to reapply to the Fund until their multi-year funding has been completed.

Project timeframe

  • The activities being funded should be delivered or completed within 12, 24 or 36 months (dependent on the number of years funding is awarded for).

  • Activities beyond 12, 24 or 36 months may be considered if future planning for the project is clearly demonstrated. 

Operating costs

  • The RWLF is not able to fund operating costs (sometimes called ‘business as usual’, BAU), for example, rent or utilities.

Research applications

  • Research applications should have at least one of the following qualities: 
    • The purpose and outcomes of the research will be of direct benefit to the Rainbow community.
    • Has been requested/commissioned or co-designed  in partnership with a Rainbow community organisation.


  • Named referees must be able to speak to the application and applicants.

2021 Dates

  • Open 1 June 2021
  • Close 31 July 2021
  • Decisions and distribution in September 2021
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