Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

Next open date for applications is 23.05.2017 View Grant Dates

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How we grant

HMSTrust’s funding decisions are guided by our vision, mission and values, and strategic aims of ‘Building. Enabling. Leading.’

These funding foundations emerged from a 2013 strategic review, conducted to ensure our grants program remains relevant and effective in a rapidly changing world.

New community needs, priorities and social issues steadily emerge, and so a new framework was developed. It is designed to meet current community needs and expectations, but also to maximise the major social impacts and long-term benefits that can be delivered through strategic philanthropy.

Our grants program reflects our mission statement:

“To help build fair, creative and resilient Victorian communities through initiatives that promote positive change.”

It is also aligned with our strategic aims of Building. Enabling. Leading. which include:

  • Building the capacity of charitable organisations and the communities they serve
  • Enabling collaborative projects that can deliver even greater social benefits
  • Supporting initiatives that demonstrate leadership and invest in Victoria’s future leaders.

HMSTrust encourages grant applications for projects which show vision and an innovative approach to solving problems, which have an emphasis on research or shared knowledge, and which have potential for further development and long-term outcomes.

Our grants structure

HMSTrust receives hundreds of grant inquiries and applications every year of which less than one third are successful. The grants structure has been designed to help you determine whether your organisation is eligible and whether your project meets HMSTrust’s funding criteria. Once you are ready to apply, our online process makes lodging applications much easier and more straightforward.

HMSTrust can only fund organisations and projects that meet essential criteria. Check your eligibility before you decide to apply.

Funding criteria
When you prepare your application, you will be asked to select:

  • The program which best fits your project. You can apply in one program only.
  • At least one of the three focus areas listed in your selected program. You can select more than one relevant focus area, but you will need to justify your selection.
  • At least three of HMSTrust’s five key objectives, which are important funding criteria. These objectives must match your own project objectives.

Ticking the right boxes
The Grants Matrix below is a graphic representation of our grants structure. The vertical axis represents our five Programs. The horizontal axis represents our five key Objectives.

Your project is required to match at least three of HMSTrust’s five key objectives. Throughout this website, we have provided sample case studies of projects that have matched three or more objectives.


See if your project ticks the right boxes.

The easy-to-follow Application Flowchart will help you navigate through the application process. If you have any questions, please contact us.

What we look for:

Here are some key points to consider when developing your application:

  • Potential for leverage
    Our grants have greater impact when combined with support from other sources. These might include other trusts and foundations, government, business or volunteers. We are happy to be one of a number of supporters of a program.
  • Sustainability
    In addition to reviewing the project budget, we take into account your organisation’s financial position and capacity to deliver the proposed project. 
  • Long-term thinking
    We look for projects that will continue to have an impact well beyond the period of our grant.  The long term sustainability of the project is an important consideration.
  • Evaluation
    We look for a commitment to measurement and evaluation.  At the conclusion of a project, grantees are required to report outcomes and outputs against the project’s original objectives, which match HMSTrust’s objectives.

What we have funded:

View the list of approved grants in our Grants Database.