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National Crisis Response Fund: First Grants Announced

Profile of Georgia Mathews
Written by Georgia MathewsPosted on 30/4/2020

As part of our response to the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, Australian Communities Foundation has just launched the National Crisis Response Fund

Since partnering with Philanthropy Australia last month to establish the COVID-19 National Funding Platform, we have received submissions from over 200 community organisations across Australia requesting financial support to help them adapt or respond to the pandemic. This number alone is emblematic of a sector facing significant challenges when it comes to both viability and adaptability.

The platform has already given us great insight into the generosity of our giving community during a crisis: $433,000 for COVID-19 support to 33 community organisations and counting, and numerous additional contributions from Philanthropy Australia members.

We’re garnering collective support and quickly channelling it to where it’s most needed

Along with our broader analysis, the platform has also revealed where funding is still desperately needed: gaps in the national response, where existing government and community support isn’t going.

That’s why we’ve launched the National Crisis Response Fund – to take our knowledge of the landscape and apply it to support grassroots organisations and communities falling through the gaps. We’re garnering collective support and quickly channelling it to where it’s most needed.

The fund has already attracted over $40,000 in donations, with four Australian Communities Foundation funds leading the way. Collective contributions form the pool of funds from which grants are then made.

Importantly, we are giving everyone and anyone the opportunity to get on board with this process with a donation of any size. We’re constantly hearing how difficult it is for donors to identify where to fund, and it’s no surprise! With a new support package announced daily and regulatory changes producing unintended effects left, right and centre, it’s hard to keep up. The fund allows donors to outsource that analysis (we are already doing it daily in our line of work) and feel confident their donation has landed somewhere useful.

We’re prioritising community-led organisations with self-determination at their core

Given how rapidly the situation is evolving, the fund’s granting strategy has been designed so that grants can be dispersed on an as-needed basis – with the first three already out the door and landing with communities that are especially vulnerable to the health and economic repercussions of COVID-19: First Nations communities, LGBTQIA+ people seeking peer support, and women exiting prison.

Knowing that communities will be best positioned to determine their own solutions throughout the crisis, we’re prioritising community-led organisations with self-determination at their core.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) $5,000

Protective measures for Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations

NACCHO predicts shortfall in personal protective equipment (PPE) within two weeks for Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) nationally. This grant will contribute to the provision of hand sanitiser to 120 ACCHOs.

National LGBTI Health Alliance $10,000

QLife: Peer Support for LGBTI Communities

QLife provides Australia-wide LGBTI peer support and referral via phone and webchat. It is anonymous and free. Support is provided by trained LGBTI community members across the country. LGBTI communities often fall through the cracks when it comes to both funding and service delivery, and this is no different during COVID-19.

LGBTI people are twice as likely to suffer from mental health challenges than the rest of the population are, but often feel uncomfortable or unsafe accessing ill-suited mainstream services. As the effects of isolation start to cause an increase in demand for support, QLife has had to reduce the hours that its councillors are available as it can no longer rely on volunteers coming into their call centres. This grant will make QLife councillors available to more people for more hours of the day.

Law & Advocacy Centre for Women $10,000

Crisis Support for Women in the Criminal Justice System

The Law & Advocacy Centre for Women (LACW) is a Community Legal Centre for women that provides a gender-specific response to assisting women in the criminal justice system including legal support, case management and social work services targeting family violence, homelessness, drug and alcohol use, and mental health issues.

Necessary measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 have created unprecedented limitations on service delivery (emergency housing, healthcare, food). For women exiting prison at this time, this can mean being forced to return to violent partners, being recriminalised by violating social distancing laws or re-entering the prison system because they cannot get the support they need. This grant will fund appropriate emergency accommodation; material aid to assist with transportation, communication and basic necessities; and additional access to case management support.

This is just the beginning. As the crisis unfolds, we will continue to grow the pool of resources and redistribute them to those hard-to-reach places.

Join us by making a donation and see the difference we can make when we come together.

All donors to the fund will receive regular updates on what the fund has supported, giving you confidence that you’ve given effectively in a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

Australian Communities Foundation would like to thank the NG Family Fund, the Clive St Fund, the McMillan Family Fund and the Fairness Fund for making these first grants possible.

Join in the national response

Help us fill the gaps for communities across Australia by donating to the National Crisis Response Fund.