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New Grants Help Australia’s ‘Little Dragons’

12 January 2017 at 8:50 am
Wendy Williams
Organisations that work to provide a brighter future for socially, economically or physically disadvantaged children are being encouraged to apply for grants to help their “Little Dragons”.

Wendy Williams | 12 January 2017 at 8:50 am


New Grants Help Australia’s ‘Little Dragons’
12 January 2017 at 8:50 am

Organisations that work to provide a brighter future for socially, economically or physically disadvantaged children are being encouraged to apply for grants to help their “Little Dragons”.

Applications have now opened for grant funding of up to $50,000 from St.George Foundation.

Since its establishment by St.George Bank in 1990, the foundation has partnered with more than 800 organisations across Australia to grant more than $27 million to improve the lives of Australian children.

In particular the foundation focuses on helping smaller community organisations that attract little assistance from the government and are not able to generate significant fundraising income of their own.

Head of St.George Foundation Vanessa Barry told Pro Bono News the aim of the grants was to “find little, tiny charities that otherwise don’t have a big voice”.

“If we can do that and support their good work then we are really making a big difference,” Barry said.

“For them they don’t want to spend heaps of time marketing and things like that but they are still doing amazing work and deserve to be supported. So that hopefully is where we can add value.

“The more that we can support, especially teenie, tiny charities that are doing something that might be really, really niche in their community or it might be [something] specific, like a very rare disease wouldn’t get noticed or whatever it is that makes it hard for them to get out there, if they come to us then I think we can really help.

“And St.George Bank employees put their payroll donations into a lot of the money we are giving out and so we like to know that all of the little $2 that we collect here and there can be put together and give a big impact out in the community and so I think that’s very, very important for us.”

Barry said there was a usually a lot of competition for the grants but she would encourage “everybody to apply”.

“We do get more applications than we can fund but we are very lucky because we manage to give out $2 million at least a year which means we can support a lot of little charities,” she said.

“The board of governors at St.George Foundation make the final decision, but what we look for is a project that can hopefully have some legacy beyond the initial work.

“So it might be something that can be a pilot project that is whittled out or can go into different communities or whatever it is that might sustain it beyond the initial funding, would really help for us when we are looking for applications.

“But that’s not the only thing we fund. Pretty much if a charity is a high quality organisation, which we tell through our applications and our due diligence processes and all those things, and the project is doing good work in the community then we’ll consider it.

“We want everybody to apply, we really want to see a broad, diversity of applications from around Australia and I just think that if you know that you have a good program out there and it deserves to be supported then you should put an application in because we’d love to hear from [you].”

In the last grants round, St.George Foundation awarded a total of $1 million in funding to a variety of organisations, including Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation, which supports children who suffer from long term, serious illnesses.

Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation founder Suzanne Tunks said, they were “overwhelmed”  to receive a $50,000 grant which allowed them to fund the Little Star Beads program to support seriously ill children and their families.

“The Little Star Beads program offers a silver lining to the many painful and distressing medical procedures that children with serious illnesses constantly encounter,” Tunks said.

“Thanks to the funds from St.George Foundation, children in the program are able to share the story of their medical journey, whilst recognising the long and challenging path children diagnosed with a serious long term illness face.”

Barry said she was “so proud” to provide organisations like Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation with much needed funds to help improve the quality of life for children.

“From providing educational initiatives to help youth at risk, to implementing support programs to help children diagnosed with rare diseases, these are just some of the types of programs St.George Foundation supports,” she said.

“One I really, really like is Be Centre Foundation, I mean we love all the charities we support, but the Be Centre Foundation is a northern beaches in Sydney-based charity and what they do, is for children who are too little to have therapy in a traditional sort of verbal sense, they do play therapy and it’s so important because if a child has suffered a trauma at a young age and you can get to them with specialist therapy then when they are tiny, it may look… like playing with puppets but actually that’s how tiny children communicate.

“We were able to give them $50,000 to access a whole lot of children on their waiting list to get this play therapy. We got the most beautiful letter from the CEO there, Marisa Chilcott, who passed on some letters from the family around the outcome of that and gosh it is so moving, it makes you realise how important it is for us to find the small charities and support them, it is incredible.

“There are so many like that and the more that you can find the small ones that are just out there in the community working so hard but don’t necessarily have any means of telling people, that’s what makes us really proud.

“I encourage community organisations that focus on disadvantaged children to visit our website and consider applying for funding.”

To be eligible for funding, an organisation must:

  • focus its efforts on Australian children under the age of 18 years
  • be located in NSW, ACT, QLD or WA
  • have a gross annual revenue of less than $3,000,000
  • receive less than 40 per cent of its income from recurrent state, federal or local government funding (unless it receives an income less than $1 million per annum, in which case government funding can exceed 40 per cent)
  • be endorsed as a deductible gift recipient (but not another ancillary fund).

Applications are open until 10 February. For more information and to apply see here.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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