Mayor’s Foundation -A ‘gutsy’ 90 Years of Philanthropy
13 June 2013 at 10:32 am
The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation prides itself on tackling issues it says are “quite gutsy”, having funded projects that worked with HIV/AIDS and immigrants, at a time when there was little knowledge or acceptance of these issues in society.
As the Foundation celebrates its 90th anniversary on Friday, CEO Catherine Brown spoke to Pro Bono Australia to reflect on the Foundation’s history, its consistent traits and its future plans.
“What we realised through looking at the history of the foundation, was the foundation has been very progressive and responded to issues as they came along,” she said.
“We’ve been quite gutsy in the things we have tacked and I would like to think we can continue doing that.”
The Foundation aims to increase life opportunities and promote social inclusion through fundraising, partnerships and the distribution of grants to charitable agencies supporting people who are socially and economically disadvantaged. The areas of impact include homelessness, youth, ageing, environment, health, and arts and heritage.
In 2012 the Foundation provided $9.2 million in grants to more than 500 charities including very small local charities working at the frontline providing health, accommodation and food services to people in need, to larger charitable organisations working towards positive social change.
The Foundation is focusing on four strategic achievements as it looks toward the future, Brown said.This includes a focus on affordable housing, ageing in a multi-cultural community, alternative pathways to education and employment and food security.
Brown said responsive grantmaking would continue but she wanted the Foundation to not only just sit back and wait for grant applications to come through but to initiate some activities themselves.
“We don’t have to go with the sexy or easy areas [of focus in regards to funding], we basically want to go where we can make a difference,” she said.
Brown said the Foundation wanted to make more impact and was focusing on its grant impact evaluation framework to find out exactly what sort of an impact the Foundation was having.
As part of the Foundation’s 90th Anniversary celebrations, the Foundation is launching a new school grants program. The In Our Community program will provide grants between $500 and $5000 to encourage schools and students to engage with a Not for Profit organisation in their community.
Brown said the In Our Community grants program would see a range of flow-on effects for the schools and its community.
“This program not only provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the relationship between students and their extended communities, but also takes learning beyond the classroom, incorporating community leadership and philanthropy within the school experience,” she said.
“The Foundation hopes that students are enriched by the expertise and knowledge of their local charitable organisations and likewise, that these organisations are inspired by students’innovation.We’ve seen in the past, the little grants can make a huge difference.
“[The students] learn about Not for Profit charitable organisations in their community and become knowledgable; they learn about philanthropy, that foundations exist and its not government funded; and they get to know who we [the Foundation] are.”
Brown said her vision for the future of the Foundation was clear as it looked toward another 90 years of philanthropy.
“I’d like everyone to know more about philanthropy and particularly the Foundation and the great 90 years of community philanthropy and what can be done when people get together,” she said.
“I’d like people to come to us and bring good ideas to us on how we can help the community.
“We are not political and we cover [causes relating to] all ages and backgrounds.
“We look at what the issue is and how we can solve it.”
To apply for the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation ‘90 Grants Program’, visit www.lmcf.org.au and lodge an application by Friday 6 September 2013. Applications open on Monday, June 17. Grant recipients will be announced on Thursday 24 October 2013, with projects to be completed by Monday 30 June 2014.