5 April 2019

Outer suburbs in Charitable Fund's sights as first grants round launched

| Ian Bushnell
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Chief Minister Andrew Barr: “All Canberrans can be philanthropists.” Photos and video: George Tsotsos.

The Chief Minister’s new Charitable Fund will focus on meeting areas of need in Canberra’s outer suburban areas in its first round of grants, worth $400,000.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr launched the grant round, to be managed by community foundation Hands Across Canberra, on Wednesday (3 April) in the City, saying the outer suburbs’ challenges were not unique to Canberra but the Fund offered a way of providing new services and support.

“It’s a shared priority of the community sector and the Government,” he said.

The Government provided seed funding of $5 million in last year’s Budget and the Fund will be topped up with 0.4 per cent of annual gaming machine revenue, about $400,000 a year, as well as philanthropic contributions. ACT charities and community organisations can now apply for up to $20,000 in grants.

Hands Across Canberra chair Diane Kargas said the Fund would be looking at vulnerable Canberrans such as refugees, migrants, the families and children of those serving time in jail, and ‘those pockets of Canberra where we could be doing such a lot more’.

She said Hands Across Canberra and the Fund hoped to raise awareness, build partnerships and increase the giving in Canberra.

“It’s about time, treasure and talent, and Canberrans have got all of that in truckloads,” she said.

Mr Barr said the Fund drew on similar models in other cities and had the advantages of pooling resources, drawing on and widening Canberra’s philanthropic base, and facilitating more targeted delivery of services.

“All Canberrans can be philanthropists,” he said. “This provides the opportunity for further resources, for new partnerships to emerge between non-government providers, government and the broader community.”

Mr Barr said services could be delivered at different levels and sometimes collaboration, co-design and working together would make the biggest difference.

“Being flexible enough and being prepared to look at different models, both in terms of resourcing and solving problems, is a good thing,” he said.

Hands Across Canberra chair Diane Kargas: “Its about time, treasure and talent, and Canberrans have got all of that in truckloads.”

Mr Barr said the relatively small size of the ACT meant people could work closely together on projects, on solving problems and pooling resources to make a difference.

“This grants round won’t solve them all but it’s a positive start,” he said.

Ms Kargas said the Fund offered the capacity to work one-on-one with the community.

“The Government doesn’t have the time to do that, and arguably the resources,” she said. “We can actually get the community together to talk about where that unmet need is and what resources we need to put into it.”

Hands Across Canberra is an independent philanthropic community foundation, working with more than 250 local community organisations.

The 2019 priorities for the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund include:

  • Improving wellbeing, mental health and employment outcomes for a range of beneficiaries including children and youth
  • Supporting people and families impacted by incarceration
  • Addressing homelessness
  • Activating services in outer suburban areas.

Priorities are based on identified areas of greatest community need through research and consultation with the community sector and ACT government agencies.

Alignment to the priorities is an important consideration for selection, however it will not preclude organisations submitting applications for other important initiatives where need is evidenced.

Interested organisations can apply through the Hands Across Canberra online application process at handsacrosscanberra.org.au. Applications close at midnight on 6 May 2019.

Charities considering applying for grants are encouraged to attend a free Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund Grant Program workshop.

Workshops will be held on Thursday, 11 April at ACTCOSS in Weston (1:30 – 3:30 pm) or Friday, 12 April at Uniting Care Kippax in Holt (9:30 – 11:30 am). To RSVP email julia@handsacrosscanberra.org.au

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The Chief Minister has ignored the outer suburbs for years through his Government’s annual budget cycle and now he wants his charity to return a few bucks to the outer suburbs for publicity purposes. Bring back our bus services, schools, parks, playgrounds and sporting facilities.

Glad to see the money saved from little kids sports is now spent on something more important.

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