23 February 2024

A million ways to make a difference as charity grants go up for grabs

| Ian Bushnell
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Women with box of fresh food.

Grants from the Canberra Foundation Collaborative to Together 4 Youth and The One Box put fresh food into Queanbeyan homes in need. Photo: The One Box.

Canberra’s charity collective has a million dollars to give away to community-led initiatives that aim to make a positive difference for those doing it tough.

The Canberra Foundation Collaborative has launched its third annual grant round and is looking for grassroots projects with the potential to help the vulnerable and needy, not just with short-term assistance but also with long-term, sustainable change.

The Collaborative – which includes Hands Across Canberra, which administer the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund, The Snow Foundation, and the John James Foundation – are offering grants ranging from $5000 to $50,000, and is open to considering larger requests.

Snow Foundation CEO Georgina Byron said the Collaborative was not just about funding but building a stronger, more interconnected community sector.

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“By building their networks and capabilities, and sharing and learning together, we hope to create a more resilient community sector in the region, which will have positive long-term flow-on effects for people in need,” she said.

The Snow Foundation aims to respond to the needs in Canberra across a range of areas with a deeper focus on at-risk youth and preventing family and domestic violence, while the John James Foundation prioritises health and disability, and Hands Across Canberra tailors its support to enhance community wellbeing in unique ways.

But organisations from all areas of need are encouraged to apply.

Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon said the application process had been made as easy as possible.

“Streamlining the application process and reducing administrative burdens, in particular, has been a focus for us,” he said.

“This tried and tested approach has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community sector, simplifying their access to multiple funders and enabling a more efficient allocation of resources. This will result in more services for more people.”

Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon says it is easy to apply for a grant. Photo: HAC.

John James Foundation CEO Joe Roff said that over the past two years the Canberra Foundation Collaborative had supported 128 projects with $2.8 million.

“This year, with the same level of support and dedication, the Collaborative hopes to further our impact and build a resilient, inclusive, and vibrant Canberra. That’s why we are encouraging everyone to come to an information session and find out more,” he said.

Together 4 Youth received a combined $50,000 from The Snow Foundation and Hands Across Canberra last year to team up with national fresh food charity The One Box, to distribute boxes of food to the families of needy school students in Queanbeyan.

It will get a further $25,000 this year and next from the Snow Foundation to ensure it can continue the work.

CEO Andrew Turvey said the program would never have got off the ground without support from the Collaborative.

Mr Turvey said that over the past year his organisation had delivered about 4000 boxes to families.

“It was actually a brand new distribution route for One Box so we needed that funding to kick start that new delivery area,” he said.

“It’s going to be providing those desperate families in need with food security throughout the school year so the students can actually turn up to school with a full belly and be focused on their learning.”

Mr Turvey said working through schools was good way to identify families who needed help, because they would not usually come forward on their own but were happy to accept an offer of assistance.

He said the application process was easy and praised the support from the Snow Foundation.

“So contact the guys at Snow, chat about your procedures and your proposals and things like that, and if they see some merit, they’ll bend over backwards to help make sure that the grant application goes in,” he said.

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The Collaborative will hold two online information sessions on Tuesday, 27 February at 11 am, and Wednesday, 6 March at 2 pm.

These will provide insights into the application process and offer a platform for questions. Registration is required via any of the Foundation’s websites.

The Collaborative will also host networking and capacity-building events throughout the year, kicking off with a session on “Measuring Impact” to empower organisations with the tools to quantify their contributions to social change.

Grant applications, criteria and guidelines and information on the Grant Writing Seminar can be found at the Hands Across Canberra, Snow Foundation and John James Foundation websites.

Expressions of Interest are open until 18 March.

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