Following the launch of our new report Vital Conversations – Giving Older Women in Greater Melbourne a Voice, I received a very interesting book from one of the partner organisations involved in the projects focus group discussions.

The Moonee Valley Golden Age Women’s Group has worked in Flemington and Kensington for ten years, engaging older people from the Chinese community in a myriad of community activities. The book tells the story of their journey, ultimately becoming leaders in their community. A highlight is the story about the Music and Food Autumn Festival organised by Chinese and Italian community groups. The book reflects: “We don’t know if the initiative was the first in the world, but we think it was the first in Australia. This is an inclusive city in action!”

Our recent edition of Connect features many stories about people in Melbourne who simply need an opportunity or support. The financial counselling work of WEstjustice with women leaving family violence who have experienced economic abuse is preventing women and their families from entering a cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Good Cycle’s City Services Project is providing employment to unemployed young people, and at the same time, helping to support our transition to a sustainable cycling-based city. Ganbina’s JOBS4U2 is taking a very hands-on approach to supporting Indigenous young people’s transition from school to work.

Our transition to a low carbon economy will only be successful if everyone is supported in this transition. The Foundation's work in this area includes energy efficiency for vulnerable households. Our Hot Spots Initiative is also building collaborations in three local communities at-risk of the heat impacts of climate change.

Youth in Philanthropy kicked off this year with 19 schools. Michael Lim from YLAB, a social enterprise part of the Foundation for Young Australians, spoke to the students about his own path from a disengaged young person to a social entrepreneur with a strong sense of social purpose. One of his teachers was a strong influence on his change in direction.

Finally, it is extremely exciting to report that the new Ozanam House in Flemington will open its doors at the end of June. Older women as well as older men will now be able to access crisis housing and longer-term housing opportunities.

Stable housing is critical to all aspects of health and wellbeing. The new Ozanam House is a wonderful, sustainably designed building. As the first philanthropic funders, this project is a wonderful example of the leverage philanthropy can have when we are able to share in the vision for an innovative project.

There are many examples in our recent edition of Connect of organisations approaching social and environmental problems with fresh thinking and creativity. Philanthropy is here to invest in demonstrating and testing these new ideas.

Dr Catherine Brown
Chief Executive Officer