Love thy neighbour (and donate to them as well)
Wednesday, 5th June 2019 at 5:29 pm
A community fund in western Sydney is aiming to tap into philanthropic funds normally funneled into more affluent areas of the city, and harness local knowledge to help communities in need.
The Parramatta Community Fund will bring together local residents, councillors, and businesses to form a committee that will offer grants to charities and organisations improving the wellbeing of local residents and nurture a culture of giving in the Parramatta area.
It will also build a giving circle of high and low net-worth residents and local businesses that will decide collectively which local initiatives to fund.
Parramatta Community Fund chair Anna Ashenden said there was great power in community philanthropy.
“We are very excited that Parramatta has embraced the concept of a local foundation, collaborating with partners who can get behind our vision of place-based philanthropy to address our community’s specific needs and help people who are suffering from disadvantage,” Ashenden said.
In 2016, the City of Parramatta Council provided $100,000 in seed funding to support the not-for-profit organisation, which is a sub-fund of the Sydney Community Foundation.
John Greig, executive director of community services for the City of Parramatta, told Pro Bono News they hoped the fund would increase philanthropic funding as the city grew in size.
“A lot of the focus of philanthropy has probably been in the more affluent parts of Sydney, but as western Sydney and Parramatta grows, we’re really keen to make sure we’re in a position to maximise that opportunity around philanthropic giving in the region,” Greig said.
David Moutou, the community capacity building manager for the City of Parramatta, added that bringing together different voices in the community through place-based philanthropy would be an effective way to connect people.
“We hope the economy, social capital, and expertise that comes with a community that’s changing and growing can be harnessed to benefit those who are our neighbours, who we benefit from being connected to because we share a place together,” Moutou told Pro Bono News.
He said the committee will use the giving circle model and corporate partnerships to decide on where to funnel the money.
The fund is not currently giving out grants, but donations can be made by any member of the public.