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New Funding Supports Smaller Charities With Big Ideas

27 February 2017 at 4:17 pm
Wendy Williams
A new million dollar fund is being opened up to enterprising not for profits worldwide in a bid to help improve the lives of military veterans, young people or women and girls.

Wendy Williams | 27 February 2017 at 4:17 pm


New Funding Supports Smaller Charities With Big Ideas
27 February 2017 at 4:17 pm

A new million dollar fund is being opened up to enterprising not for profits worldwide in a bid to help improve the lives of military veterans, young people or women and girls.

Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting software, has launched Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund with a particular focus on supporting small to medium sized organisations across the globe that have ambitions to expand, grow and deliver sustainable change.

It is hoped that the fund will support traditionally hard to fundraise needs such as capital projects, core running costs or new ideas.

Sage Foundation regional manager (ANZ, Asia, Middle East and Brazil) Rebecca Harris told Pro Bono News they were committed to supporting “smaller charities with big ideas”.

“Support groups for domestic abuse, coding youth clubs or back to work programs for military veterans survive and thrive thanks to the dedication of staff and volunteers. But they also need funding to take action,” Harris said.

“That is why we have set up Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund, awarding grants up to US$35,000 (A$45,500) to support vital local projects.

“I’ve seen small charities with really exceptional, original ideas on the brink of delivering real change. Too often, all that is stopping them is access to funds to make an enterprising solution turn into reality.

“That’s what we are committed to, supporting smaller charities with big ideas.”

The US$1 million (A$1.3 million) funding pool will be split between two rounds of US$500,000 (A$650,000) with applications for the first round open from now until 5 April.

Grants between US$5,000 (A$6,500) and US$35,000 (A$45,500) will be awarded to successful applicants, with the second round ready for release in July 2017.

Harris said they were interested to see what projects emerged from the application process.

“To be honest we’re really interested to see what they come back to us with,” she said.

“We’ve noticed that in the charity space there’s some really, really great ideas, and there’s been a changing mindset on how to really look at solving some social issues.

“I think the charity space is quite crowded a lot of the time so doing things the same you’ll only get the same results, so we’re really looking to support those ideas that are a bit different, a bit more entrepreneurial thinking, a bit more sustainable as well in the long-term and really looking for new and maybe improved ways of looking at engaging with the people that need help.”

In particular the fund is focusing on three areas: military veterans, young people or women and girls.

Harris said within this they will be particularly focusing on entrepreneurship, education, social diversity and inclusion, and health and well being.

“So if you kind of imagine that as a matrix, if we can help a disadvantaged group of women potentially from a migrant background to gain meaningful employment then that’s the kind of project that we’d be focusing on,” she said.

She encouraged applicants to “really look at those areas of focus” but also to be creative.

“We’re really looking at the idea of charity building and business building, so it’s really about what is that next step for these small sort of grassroots charities or medium-sized charities to move into a new area of interest or innovation,” she said.

“So really looking at what their ideas are and how they can come to life but also then how does that then contribute to their charity or their social enterprise or their not for profit being a sustainable vehicle for social betterment.”

Sage Foundation’s Enterprise Fund was originally announced at Sage Summit in Chicago in July 2016, as part of a series of new initiatives to mobilise Sage colleagues, partners and customers around a common vision for change.

The foundation, which launched in October 2015, is powered by a “two plus two plus two” model. Through this, Sage Foundation donates: 2 per cent of employee time each year (five volunteer days), 2 per cent of free cash flow in grants and two donated software licenses to eligible partners.

Harris said the latest fund was not just about handing over money.

“So we have the model of two plus two plus two whereby we invest our time, our money, and our resources and expertise, so these ideas may also involve some work around skills volunteering, utilising some of our donated products as well, so we really hope to be involved in flushing out the ideas where possible, to again contribute to their sustainability,” she said.

“It [the fund] is open globally, but [we are] particularly focused on the areas that Sage operate in, so I think we’re in 23 different countries around the world. Primarily our focus is our own community where once this fund is distributed, we hope to be involved with those projects if there is opportunity.

“It’s not just a one off handing over money.

“We see it kind of as a kick start to some relationships which we can then develop and use in our foundation.”

For more information or 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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