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Record-breaking generosity from our community

2020/21 in Review
Our biggest year in giving

The past two years have been challenging times for most people in Australia. Communities across our country continue to face the ongoing impacts of the Covid crisis. The ACF community gave generously in response to the bushfires and outbreak of the pandemic in 2019/20 and we’ve given even more this year in the face of the uncertainty presented by Covid’s ongoing challenges, granting a record total of $13.4 million.

Thank you

In this year’s giving overview, you’ll find key figures and insights that point to a significant step forward in our collective journey towards a fairer and more sustainable Australia.

Thank you to each and every member of our giving community for helping us on this journey.

Key figures

$13.4 million


$1.2 million


$1.1 million













Supporting the causes Australians care about…

Cause areaTotal
Indigenous communities$2.5 million
Education and training$2.1 million
Environment conservation and climate change$2 million
Health/wellbeing and medical research$1.9 million
Civic engagement and leadership$1.2 million
Individual/family services and support$1.1 million
Arts and culture$1 million
Social inclusion and justice$680,000
International aid and development$612,000
Housing and homelessness$358,000


…to shift the dial on issues across our focus areas

Tackling Inequality


Supporting Indigenous Communities


Safeguarding the Environment


Strengthening Democracy


Building A Culturally Vibrant Society


Key insights

Stepping up when Australia needs it

With the uncertainty presented by Covid, Australia experienced its greatest decline in giving in the 2020 calendar year. At the same time, we increased our support for communities with ongoing Covid and bushfire support resulting in our strongest Oct-Dec quarter for granting ($3 million). This support continued into 2021, leading to our most generous quarter on record: over $4.5 million distributed to communities in need between April and June 2021.

Filling gaps in crisis response and getting resources out quickly

One of the key characteristics of our giving for 2020/21 was the speed at which we responded to funding needs related to Covid, the bushfires, and the New South Wales floods. Our fortnightly granting cycle enabled us to get resources out quickly, particularly through the National Crisis Response Fund, which was established at the outset of the pandemic and has so far distributed $653,000 to communities in need (in partnership with other donors and funders, including the Paul Ramsay Foundation).

More giving to multi-state, national and international causes

Australian Communities Foundation continues to expand its reach across the country with 40 per cent of all giving in 2020/21 going towards multi-state projects and organisations (up from 32 per cent in 2019/20). While Victoria remains the state with the most support from our community, we gave more to nearly every other state than ever before.

Meanwhile, consistent with a rise in Australian giving to international aid in 2020/21, we gave more than ever before to communities overseas.

Providing diverse support for Indigenous communities

In 2020/21, our giving community provided more support to Indigenous communities across a diverse range of areas. Following emergency relief (largely provided through the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities), self-determination was our next largest area of support for Indigenous communities. This area spans Indigenous land and sea management, leadership, and cultural preservation and promotion.

  • Emergency response to bushfires and Covid $1.1 million
  • Indigenous self-determination $844,000
  • Education and training $258,000
  • Individual/family services and support $96,000
  • Health/wellbeing and medical research $66,000
  • Housing and homelessness $50,000
  • Other $25,000

Continuing to lead the way in environmental granting

Australians gave generously after the bushfires, but public support for the environment dropped after February 2020. In stark contrast, the ACF community gave generously with a 15% surge in support for the environment in the final quarter of the FY21 year

Keeping support flowing for the arts

Despite the complete shutdown of the arts sector over the past 18 months, we continued to support artists and invest in arts-based projects. While giving to culture and recreation dropped by around 60 per cent in Australia in 2020, our community’s support dropped by a much smaller margin: less than 20 per cent.

More ACF donors giving to their funds than ever before

Despite all the uncertainty of the FY21 year, over two-thirds of our giving community contributed to their funds, donating a total of $17.8 million. With 231 funds receiving donations, this is an 11.6 per cent increase from last year.

Stories behind the impact

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