Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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As a testamentary trust, HMSTrust is governed by the Will of our benefactor, Helen Macpherson Schutt (née Smith), under both Victorian and Commonwealth law.

The following eligibility criteria reflect HMSTrust’s policy, taking into account both its legal obligations and the spirit of Helen’s Will.

  • HMSTrust can only fund charitable organisations that meet the eligibility criteria listed below.
  • Individuals are not eligible.
  • Please note that only eligible organisations will have access to the online application form.

Eligibility criteria

Is your organisation eligible?

  • Charity status

Organisations must be registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Click this link to check your organisation’s ACNC registration.
NOTE: HMSTrust does not require your charity to have DGR endorsement.

        Environmental organisations not registered with the ACNC, must be entered on the Register of Environmental Organisations

  • Situated in Victoria

HMSTrust will only fund:

– a charity based in Victoria and operating solely within Victoria; or
– a charity operating both inside and outside Victoria, if its head office is in Victoria.

If your ACNC registered charity has its head office outside of Victoria it is not eligible to apply.

Is your project eligible?

Applications will only be considered for projects that:

  • are undertaken solely in Victoria for the benefit of Victorians;
  • have a ‘Charitable purpose’ as defined in the Charities Act 2013;
  • align with one of our program focus areas; and
  • are a strong match to HMSTrust’s funding criteria.

HMSTrust will not consider the following:

  • Applications submitted by an auspice(1) organisation;
  • Maintenance of an established program;
  • Retrospective funding for projects that have already started or taken place;
  • Deficit funding or organisations with a potentially negative equity position;
  • General fundraising appeals;
  • Infrastructure projects and service programs considered to be government responsibility at a Federal, State or Local Government level;
  • Promotion of religion;
  • Conferences and seminars;
  • School building projects, unless the project is used for wider community benefit; and
  • Political organisations.

(1) Auspicing refers to the practice of an ineligible organisation (one that it not a charity) applying to HMSTrust via an eligible organisation which acts as the auspice. Auspicing arrangements are excluded under HMSTrust’s guidelines. The organisation applying to HMSTrust must be the organisation that will run the project or program for which a grant is being sought.


There are limitations on the number and frequency of grant applications that can be submitted by any one organisation:

  • Only one application per organisation within any 12-month period;
  • Only one grant at a time (universities are excepted; see below for details);
  • Existing grants need to be successfully acquitted at least three months before a new application is submitted;
  • An approved pilot project may be considered for a further grant by invitation following discussion with HMSTrust staff;
  • Organisations that are a party (other than the lead applicant) to a collaborative partnership application may also apply for a grant in their own right.

University limitations

  • HMSTrust does not liaise directly with researchers. All enquiries from universities are required to be made through the university’s Advancement Office or equivalent;
  • Victorian universities may only submit one application per grant round and via their Advancement Office or equivalent;
  • A university may have up to two active grants at the time of submitting a new application;
  • The application is required to be signed-off by the university’s Advancement Office or equivalent; and
  • University research projects also require a letter signed by the Research Office confirming that this application is approved for consideration in the selected round.