The end of the year lies in sight. What a journey it has been with challenges and big wins!
Throughout 2022, the Foundation has been monitoring the health of the charitable sector. We have made a follow-on grant to InfoXchange for the fantastic Digital Transformation Hub for the not-for-profit sector, which helped 10,000 organisations over the last year get digitally more capable and future ready. We have funded the Xfactor Collective Foundation to start up a Social Sector Wellbeing and Resilience Hub to support leaders and staff in the not-for-profit sector as they rise to the challenge of meeting demand for services during these uncertain times.
We also maintained our commitment to address climate change in areas as diverse as climate safe homes, next economy jobs, community climate resilience, disaster response and our climate transition. Fabulous progress by Innovation Grants projects and Initiatives such as the Next Economy Jobs and the Collaborative for Climate Resilience with our partners, VCOSS, FRRR and Southern Gippsland… We are really delighted that the Paul Ramsay Foundation is collaborating with us by contributing additional funds to the Next Economy Jobs round in 2023. We are also delighted that our partnership with Gandel Foundation to support the Digital Transformation Hub (an InfoXchange program) has been reaffirmed by both foundations.
We doubled down on increasing the supply of affordable housing and addressing homelessness through support for the Make Room project at 602 Little Bourke Street and seeing the Affordable Housing Challenge in Darebin commence construction. What a fantastic site visit it was at Townhall Avenue, Preston that was with our partners from the City of Darebin, Housing Choices Australia, Six Degrees and Manresa Constructions! 40 units of affordable housing will be delivered in 2023. The research by Sefa on Finding affordable home options for invisible women (just released) is an example of important research the Foundation has funded looking for innovative solutions to the housing crisis.
Our passion for social innovation continues through the Innovation grants and our granting approach which is prepared to go in early to seed and test new solutions to tough social and environmental problems. Social enterprises in some ways been the unsung heros of social entrepreneurship in Australia. They work on social, environmental issues and provide decent work to many groups otherwise shut out of labour market. The Foundation funded Social Enterprise Australia to undertake and produce a new report Business for Good: the social and economic impact of social enterprises in Australia. Research was undertaken by Impact Tracks and shows that 206,000 people are employed by social enterprises and the sector makes a $21.3 billion contribution to the Australian economy.
All the projects that are covered in this report build strong foundations for the future. We are looking forward to the centenary of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund for Hospitals and Charities (our earlier name) in 2023. We look forward to celebrating and reflecting with our wonderful donors and innovative collaborating partners. Now is the time to cast ahead to ensure the future for an inclusive and climate safe Melbourne is achieved.
Wishing everyone a happy and restorative festive season.
Dr Catherine Brown OAM
Chief Executive Officer