Community Capacity Building-Victorian Perspective
17 October 2005 at 1:10 pm
The Victorian Government has invited the philanthropic sector to consider working more closely in partnership with it to assist in community capacity building.
The Minister for Victorian Communities, John Thwaites told the International Philanthropy Australia Conference last week that government has to start creating partnerships that bring together the substantial resources that exist outside it.
And that the skills and knowledge of the philanthropic sector are included in those resources.
Thwaites told the conference that philanthropic Foundations have a track record in social policy “research and development” – carried out through their regular grantmaking and community links.
In April this year the Bracks Government released an action plan for reducing disadvantage in Victoria. Called A Fairer Victoria, it includes $788 million dollars of new programs and services for the communities facing the most disadvantage.
He says the new programs mean a series of new opportunities to have better dialogue between government, business and community groups – including foundations – on the key issues these communities face.
The Minister says the government understands that the effectiveness of this investment depends on forming more partnerships with organisations already working in those areas – and on doing things differently when we do spend our money.
And there are already a number of examples of how those partnerships can include philanthropic foundations.
The Minister acknowledge the contribution made by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust working in partnership with the Victorian Government .
The Trust has created the Macpherson Smith Community Alliance – a new funding pool of one million dollars for small rural townships in Victoria.
The funding pool will complement the work done through the Government’s Community Capacity Building Initiative.
That initiative has helped small towns build up the skills to start their own local planning and develop priority activities…they are all projects planned, designed, prioritized and developed by local communities themselves.
The Minister says that with the support of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust it will mean a whole raft of new local community projects can now go ahead.
The Community Capacity Building Initiative has also produced some useful lessons on how to work with communities – lessons in the practical steps of community building – and lessons that the government is happy to share.
And to help encourage new types of partnerships the Victorian Government will also support the development of a think tank called “The Agora”.
The Agora idea brings together the business and community sectors, with local government and the state government to develop new policies and new opportunities for joint initiatives.