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5 min read

The future of philanthropy: Giving Heroes

Profile of Nicole Richards
Written by Nicole RichardsPosted on 19/5/2022

In a global-first, the new fundraising platform, Giving Heroes, is empowering Aussie kids to get behind the causes they care about.

Created and powered by collective giving stalwarts, The Funding Network, Giving Heroes supports young people aged 8-14 to connect with, learn about, and fundraise, for the causes that matter to them. The initiative, which is proudly supported by Australian Communities Foundation, culminates in a live crowdfunding event on 18 June.

Offering an easy (and fun!) opportunity to engage the up-and-coming generation of changemakers, the platform has been embraced by established philanthropists looking to get younger family members involved in charitable giving.

For Australian Communities Foundation fund holder, Jo Hastings, the opportunity to involve her 13-year-old grandson, Lewis, in philanthropy was exactly what she’d been waiting for.

Giving Heroes

Jo and her grandson, Lewis.

“My background is as a financial adviser as well as being an estate planning lawyer,” Jo explains.

“For a long time, I’ve been passionate about how we can involve young people in philanthropy because if individuals are not exposed to it, or if they do not come from a background of giving as part of a family that considers other things outside themselves, it’s very hard to engage them, particularly once they hit their 30s unless they come into a windfall or significant tax advantage.”

Jo’s grandson Lewis leapt at the chance to get involved as an ambassador for Giving Heroes.

“I’m so proud,” Jo says. “Lewis has just started secondary school and he has a strong sense of social justice and equity – it’s important to him that people have a fair go and that they feel loved and safe.”

These are traits that Lewis shares with his late mother, Katrina, who died tragically from a stroke at the age of 31 when he was just four months old. The Hastings family’s fund, the Katrina Sparkles Fund, is named in her honour.

Giving Heroes

Katrina and her son Lewis.

“We’re able to keep her and her legacy alive with our giving,” Jo explains. “We’re able to have conversations with Lewis about his Mum and what she would’ve thought about various things like kids’ safety, family cohesion and community wellbeing which were all important issues to her.

Giving Heroes is all about kids helping kids, connecting children with causes that support and assist other children and providing a platform

“I know that she would’ve thought his involvement in Giving Heroes was just beautiful and she would be so teary and proud to see him living his values.”

Jo and the Hastings family have been avid supporters of The Funding Network since its inception in 2013.

“We love the fact that it’s such a convenient way of finding out about organisations that I don’t have time to research and go out and look at,” Jo says. “It’s very efficient – knowing these charities have been vetted and that the structure is around them – it’s just terrific.”

Giving HeroesKatrina died when Lewis was just four months old.

Julie McDonald, CEO of The Funding Network, says there’s never been a better time for an initiative of this kind to involve the next generation of changemakers and philanthropists.

“All over the world we are seeing young people speak up for a better and fairer world and their voices are a powerful vehicle for change,” she says.

“Giving Heroes is all about kids helping kids, connecting children with causes that support and assist other children and providing a platform for these young people to make a difference.”

Planting the seed for life-long generosity, that goes beyond money to include a more compassionate mindset is critical, Jo says.

All over the world we are seeing young people speak up for a better and fairer world and their voices are a powerful vehicle for change

“Yes, Giving Heroes is about giving money, but it’s also about growing up knowing that caring about the people around you and thinking about other ways you can help,” Jo says.

“We need to try and get rid of this notion that it’s only the wealthy who give or that it’s their responsibility – it’s not. The responsibility to give is for all of us, whether that’s giving a little bit of money or time or talent. You don’t need to be a millionaire to make a difference.

“It’s so important that we give younger people the ability to speak and that we older people listen to them because they are the ones who are going to be making the decisions of the future,” Jo continues.

“Tomorrow belongs to them.”

How it works

Parents and carers can register their children on the Giving Heroes website. Children and their families will have until the Giving Heroes Virtual Crowdfunding event on 18 June to choose their fundraising activity, get sponsored, raise funds, and have fun. Watch the video

Support Giving Heroes

Australian Communities Foundation is excited to be partnering with The Funding Network to support this new initiative for the future of giving. We are now calling on our giving community to get involved – whether that’s registering the young people in your life to be Giving Heroes or making a contribution yourself to double their impact.

How can I contribute? As a member of the ACF giving community, you have the opportunity to be one of the inaugural supporters of this groundbreaking initiative. Join us in contributing to the matched funding pool goal of $30,000. Learn more and contribute