Success stories

Grants & Success Stories

Here at the New Zealand Football Foundation (NZFF) we are proud to be able to support the New Zealand football community, with over $1.9 million donated to football programmes and projects since 2011.

Our impact has been felt far and wide, from supporting clubs with the purchase of new equipment and delivery of programmes for our tamariki, referee recruitment and retention programmes, initiatives to remove barriers to football for high deprivation and new migrant communities, the support of women and girls' development programmes and growth of the Kate Shephard Cup to name a few.

Check out some of the amazing projects we have supported below.

Grant Applications

The New Zealand Football Foundation grant application process will re-open in 2025. Please check out current Foundation grant priorities to review your eligibility.

Kate Shephard Cup

Total grant value

Sponsoring the “Kate Sheppard Cup” by providing $100,000 over 3 years in support of the national club-based women’s knockout competition.

Football Connect

Football Connect is all about access. At the Football Foundation we believe that sport, and its health and social benefits, should be available to all young people regardless of who they are or where they live. But this is an ideal that has not been reached in Aotearoa for a long time. Before a young person takes to the pitch at the weekend, there are club fees that need to be paid, boots and equipment to be purchased, transport to be organised, and time on a Saturday to be found. For many families, these barriers result in sport becoming a luxury.

These hurdles have only increased in recent times. After three years of pandemic disruption, youth participation in sport is declining as the cost of living sharply increases. We know that for many families, the costs of sport are no longer able to be borne. We want to do everything we can to help.

From the very beginning, Football Connect has worked to remove barriers. Fees are paid where possible, equipment and coaching are provided, and life skill sessions accompany football training to help support young people and their families. The school holiday programmes provide an opportunity for kids to meet and socialise with peers beyond their immediate surroundings and get a taste for football before they can play at the weekends.

The impact of the programme has been visible and inspiring from the outset. This year, as access to sport becomes more difficult for many, Football Connect is expanding.

In 2022, Football Connect will have financial support from the New Zealand Police fund, as part of an initiative to redistribute profits from organised crime to community programmes for social good.  The Police want to support programmes which help create positive environments for young people, so that their support networks help carry them through to a successful life on whatever path they choose.  We are grateful that the Police see and support the benefits of football to do real good in our communities, helping our rangitahi achieve their potential – whether on the pitch, or off.

Total grant value

Over the last year, the New Zealand Football Foundation has worked with YouthTown New Zealand to create the Football Connect Initiative. In 2022, Football Connect has strengthened and expanded. The Foundation and Youth Town will now be able to offer our support to a larger number of kiwi kids who will be able to experience the benefits of football and team sports.

NZFF First Footballs for NZF First Kicks

New Zealand Football provides a pathway into football with its First Kicks programme.  The Football Foundation saw an opportunity to mark the occasion of a player’s first football registration with their very own football, to ensure that-all children who sign up to play the beautiful game have access to their first football, no matter their circumstance. The initiative was born “First Footballs for First Kicks”.  

After a challenging two years, when football and life have been very disrupted for many, the Foundation is excited to be able to open the pathway into sport for many young people by removing the barriers of equipment. The Foundation is incredibly grateful for the considerable generosity of Dr Johanna Wood, President of New Zealand Football, which was critical in turning the First Footballs idea into reality.   Dr Woods passion for and support of the grass roots game in Aotearoa New Zealand will have a legacy for young people throughout New Zealand.  Her contribution has been invaluable to this project, which we hope will increase access and the love of the game for young people across the country.

The New Zealand Football Foundation have organised the production of Football Foundation footballs, which would be provided to the regional federations and distributed to families when children signed up for their first football team.  

The footballs, in Football Foundation green, are a tool to provide increased access to football for all kiwi children.  Recipient, Capital Football Federation, highlights the importance of being able to kick a ball around outside of training and games, for keeping players in the game. Steeve Sharp of Capital Football says, “Capital Football is grateful to the generosity of the Football Foundation in providing footballs for our first kicks players. The footballs will go directly to 5- and 6-year-olds experiencing the game for the first time throughout the region. There is no better incentive for young people to fall in love with the game than by having a ball at their feet whenever they wish to use it. We cannot wait to get the footballs out to the kids.”

Central Football said, “this is a fantastic initiative by the NZ Football Foundation which will see lots of smiles on kid’s faces as the junior season kicks off for 2022.”  

“There is something special about seeing children receive their first piece of sporting kit.  We hope that the raw joy and passion they feel when receiving their ball will mean we have a whole new generation of footballers staying and contributing to football within New Zealand.  We thank Dr Johanna for her generosity and passion for allowing this initiative to go ahead and to further contribute to the growing talent pool of footballers throughout the country.”

Total grant value

It is a rite of passage for many young footballers: signing up to your very first team, excitedly trying on your very first pair of boots, and training on your own with a football. It is an exciting way to begin a footballing journey, a door into a game which will bring opportunity, fitness, and friendships.

Supporting the Football Ferns

Total grant value

Providing $60,000 to support the Football Ferns to the Rio Olympics, providing critical support to many members of the team who were struggling financially.

Future Ferns Development Program

Total grant value

Helping to establish the Future Ferns Development Programme (FFDP) with $40,000 contributed to date. The FFDP seeks to compensate for the cut in funding from High Performance Sport NZ and the loss of carding (which has meant loss of access to a range of athlete support services). FFDP supports ~25 women who are at or just below national team level with much-needed training and living expenses.

Promising young players

Total grant value

Provided flight costs for five promising young NZ players to attend various international club trials, all five players securing professional contracts and now benefiting from playing and training in a professional environment while continuing to represent NZ. An example is Katie Rood who is now playing for Juventus, Italy. Some noting “I wouldn’t have made it to the trial without the support of the Foundation”.

Youth Football

  • Funded the U20 New Zealand coach, Darren Beazley, during the year leading up to the U20 FIFA World Cup held in New Zealand in 2016.
  • Funded the U17 NZ team in 2017 to play warmup games narrowly losing against Brazil and England prior to the U17 FIFA World Cup in India.
  • Funded NZ Football Futsal programme to promote football amongst youth and minorities.
Total grant value


  • Provided funds to Federations around New Zealand so that they could  distribute “hardship grants” where needed. 
  • Funded bus volunteer programmes for New Zealand FIFA U20 World Cup in  2015. 
  • Obtained FIFA earthquake funding and made grants to support the repair  of Christchurch facilities post earthquake.  
Total grant value

Grant Recipients


Our Partners & Supporters

Every team needs supporters.  At the New Zealand Football Foundation we are so grateful for our partners who believe in Football For Good just as much as we do. They know the power of sport to make real change in society and they are committed to helping us do the māhi to support our communities.  The generosity of our partners is crucial to enable us to support so many worthy projects.  

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