Australian Communities Foundation - Home

Sorry. You're using a browser that we
don't support.

To experience this site, please use Firefox, Chrome or Edge.

3 min read

Voices for Impact, ACF’s First Nations-led funding program, wins Australian Philanthropy Award

Profile of Dom O'Donnell
Written by Dom O'DonnellPosted on 22/4/2024

Image: Maree Sidey (CEO, Australian Communities Foundation) and Larissa Baldwin-Roberts (CEO, GetUp) at the 2024 Australian Philanthropy Awards.

Australian Communities Foundation has won its fifth Australian Philanthropy Award, receiving the 2024 Collaboration Award alongside partners, Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, GetUp and Australian Progress for the Impact Fund’s 2023 program, Voices for Impact.

Established in 2017, the Impact Fund harnesses the power of collective giving to address critical issues in Australia across the areas of inequality, democracy, environment and First Nations self-determination. In 2023, ACF adapted the Fund’s annual grant program to concentrate efforts on supporting self-determination, particularly in the context of the Voice referendum.

Designed and implemented under the guidance of ACF’s First Nations Advisory Group, Voices for Impact ultimately raised over $2.3 million for the movement.

“While a lot of us still have sore hearts over the referendum loss, it was an incredible moment for advocacy in this country,” Larissa Baldwin-Roberts, proud Widjabul Wia-bul woman and CEO of partner organisation GetUp, told the room at the Art Gallery of NSW when accepting the Award.

“[The program’s grants] powered an amazing organising effort. These are the types of collaborations that are going to create change, and we’re not going to give up.”

Maree Sidey, ACF’s outgoing CEO, acknowledged the Foundation’s strong history of supporting self-determination in accepting the award alongside Larissa.

“This support has taken many forms including the handing over of corpus to First Nations-led funders. Last year, however, we stepped into our maturity as a funder of movements and had the extraordinary privilege of partnering with amazing organisations and their leaders.”

These are the types of collaborations that are going to create change, and we’re not going to give up.

The program featured Rapid Response funding partnerships with Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, GetUp and Australian Progress, and involved broader collaboration among 100+ co-funders and 80+ community groups and organisations supported through the program, including Large Grant recipients: the Uluru Dialogue (UNSW Indigenous Law Centre), Yes23 and Passing the Message Stick campaigns.

“Each partnership required something different from each of us. Moving money quickly, making small grants to build capacity, making large grants to fund campaigns, raising awareness, staging events, fundraising, supporting advocacy – the list goes on,” Maree explained.

“We accept this award on behalf of every Australian who stepped forward to vote yes, all the funders and civil society leaders who showed up, and all the amazing collaborations that emerged. They are what matters. They are what will get us there in the end.”

Australian Communities Foundation congratulates all other recipients and finalists, including Future Generation Global, Social Outcomes and Seer Data and Analytics for the Future Generation Global Impact Measurement Initiative, which also took out the Collaboration Award.