Looking back through our history, Australians have endured and survived natural disasters, economic downturns and major conflicts, and during these times of crisis, community foundations and charitable organisations have been at the forefront of community-led response and recovery.
Since 1923 Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has been a major contributor to the health and wellbeing of greater Melbourne, often being one of the first to respond to natural disasters or bravely funding early immunisation programs for children in the 1930s and HIV AIDS research in the 1980s. Without hesitation, the Foundation launched public fundraising appeals for the bushfires of 1939, 1983 and 2009, whilst also providing grants for emergency relief and recovery, including in January this year.
The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund for Metropolitan Hospitals and Charities was established by Lord Mayor Sir John Swanson in 1923 with fundraising campaigns already underway to support the healthcare needs of returning servicemen and women from World War 1. Public hospitals relied on the Fund’s fundraising appeals to generate incomes to support the high-level care required and the purchase of equipment. By 1930, the Fund was supporting Melburnians through the poverty of the Great Depression.
This year, in addition to the COVID-19 rapid response grants, the Foundation launched its COVID-19 Community Resilience Fund Account to receive donations and provide additional funds for further grants.
This will enable the Foundation to support more organisations as we progress through the pandemic to recovery.
The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Catherine Brown OAM said, “We have always been prepared to identify emerging issues and provide grants to minimise the impact of social issues on our community. 2020 has been a challenging year with the devastation of the bushfires in Victoria and then the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the support of the Melbourne community and our donors we can help overcome the challenges presented by COVID-19 whilst also helping communities in regional Victoria affected by the bushfires to recover and rebuild their lives.”