Thursday, 23 July 2020

At a glance

Building community resilience to COVID‑19
As Greater Melbourne’s community foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has been working hard to identify where our support can make the most difference to organisations treating vulnerable people diagnosed with COVID‑19.
Today we ask you to donate to our COVID‑19 Community Resilience Fund Account so that we can continue supporting critically important charitable and health organisations.
Donate Now
We will continue to respond to the COVID‑19 crisis over the coming months and with your assistance, we can help support the dedicated charity and healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to support sick and vulnerable people.
We are all in this together and it will take an all of community response to overcome COVID‑19 and its impact on all aspects of our lives.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has announced a total of $1.76 million to 21 not‑for‑profit organisations to assist them to respond to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The grants cover homelessness, health, community resilience, renewable energy, cultural and social enterprise sectors.

Recipients of the grants include Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), Uniting and Whitebox Enterprises, which funds start‑up businesses to employ young people.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Catherine Brown OAM, said “We worked with the not‑for‑profit sector to understand what was required to maintain their services in the early stages of the pandemic, and we then looked ahead to plan where the community will need support in the  next stage of the pandemic and our shared plans for recovery.”

The Foundation has provided grants supporting where the impact of the pandemic has been most severe, including higher unemployment rates for young people and women, increased incidents of domestic violence, major health challenges particularly in mental health, lack of affordable housing as well as disruptions to education and training.

Dr Brown said, “The COVID‑19 pandemic has exacerbated existing social issues and the severity of the impact on the community is likely to be long lasting, particularly for vulnerable people. We are now presented with an opportunity to ‘build back better’ which should always be the goal in the recovery phase of a disaster.

“We are supporting CHP’s Everybody’s Home to advocate for increased social and affordable housing as part of our recovery and also supporting a faster climate transition through a renewables‑led recovery that also provides employment as well as other economic and health benefits. Smart Energy Council are doing great work on linking employment with reducing emissions.”

The third round of COVID‑19 response grants announced in late June brings the total of the Foundation's funding to over $1.76 million.

With Melbourne going back into lockdown, the Foundation is continuing to monitor the health impacts on vulnerable communities and the need to scale up community support services, including homelessness and employment support. At the same time, the Foundation is maintaining its commitment to longer term recovery supporting more social and affordable housing and accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy which supports new jobs.

Dr Brown said, “In many disasters, support can move from providing immediate relief, through to medium term support, and then progress to recovery. The COVID‑19 pandemic is different as we are now dealing with all stages of disaster response and recovery at the same time. While we deal with immediate needs, we don’t want to lose sight of what could be possible if we build back better.”

Dr Brown urges partnerships between government, business, philanthropy and the not‑for‑profit sector to increase the supply of social and affordable housing, increase employment opportunities for vulnerable communities and power Australia’s economy by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency technology.

“The Foundation strongly supports broader community discussions on how we can do things better and this includes making sure that everyone, especially people with lived experiences of disadvantage, have a voice in these discussions as we recover from the pandemic,” added Dr Brown.

The organisations listed below have received a COVID‑19 response grant from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation:

Responding to the health impacts of COVID‑19

  • Alfred Health - $250,000
    OrganisationAlfred Health Department of Infectious Diseases
    ProjectUnderstanding the Impact of COVID-19
    Grant$250,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaHealthy & Resilient Communities

    In response to COVID-19 Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation provided a $250,000 grant to Alfred Health’s Department of Infectious Diseases.

    The grant supports research to understand the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable people in our community such as older people living in aged residential care and people with compromised immune systems. The research provides evidence and advice that informs how best to look after people with COVID-19 and to improve the public health response to COVID-19.

    The Foundation has provided this grant to ensure the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities that are at-risk of severe diseases are a priority in the healthcare response during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As a result, the Department will be able to provide more detailed data to public health units to improve the public health response to COVID-19 and advise how best to deploy interventions such as flu vaccine programs and infection prevention interventions in the community.

  • Monash University - $100,000
    OrganisationMonash University
    ProjectNational COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce
    Grant$100,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaHealthy & Resilient Communities
    Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation provided a $100,000 grant to Monash University to support the newly established National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, which has been developed by Australian Living Evidence Consortium, a new national health research collaboration.

    Using information gathered from across Australia’s healthcare networks, COVID-19 clinical guidelines are being continually updated and made available to clinicians in ICU, respiratory specialists, frontline general practitioners and other health practitioners.

    These guidelines are a world first in evidence-based ‘living guidelines’ for the clinical care of COVID-19.They are being updated with new research in real-time to provide reliable, up-to-the-minute advice to clinicians providing frontline care. This will provide reassurance to medical staff that patients are receiving the best possible care based on the latest research during this health crisis.

    The Taskforce has a ‘whole of population’ approach to inform clinicians. The Alfred Hospital initiative funded by the Foundation focuses specifically on highest-risk and those more vulnerable to serious-infection. The outcomes of the Alfred’s research can inform these new living guidelines.

Scaling‑up existing services to meet increased demand of support

  • BehaviourWorks Australia - $50,000
    OrganisationMonash University BehaviourWorks Australia
    ProjectDesigning an evidence-based energy and water program for vulnerable communities during COVID-19
    Grant$50,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEnvironment & Sustainability

    As a result of COVID-19, many Victorians have experienced reductions in income and with energy and water prices remaining static, this is placing great pressure on household budgets. With more time now spent at home, increases in usage of energy and water are adding to existing financial pressures especially for vulnerable households.

    There is a critical need to support vulnerable households to reduce energy and water consumption through upgrades of equipment and by switching to more competitive providers. While several schemes and organisations provide these services, there is a need to understand how they can be most effective.

    The Foundation’s grant to BehaviourWorks will develop best practice guidelines for the delivery of energy and water efficiency programs. The Foundation aims to increase the energy efficiency and climate resilience of vulnerable households to reduce the cost of living, reduce emissions and provide protection from temperature related health impacts.

  • Domestic Violence Victoria - $30,000
    OrganisationDomestic Violence Victoria
    ProjectCOVID-19 and Family Violence Crisis Response – New Pathways to Support
    Grant$30,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaHomelessness & Affordable Housing

    The COVID-19 lockdown, economic hardship, social isolation and the restriction to movement has contributed to increased rates of family violence. World Health Organisation statistics have already report a significant increase in family violence brought about by the restrictions used to minimise the impact of COVID-19.

    The Foundation has provided a grant to Domestic Violence Victoria and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV) to lead the establishment of new pathways for victim survivors to access family violence support, the production of resources, and the establishment of new industry partnerships.

    This project includes the research needed to publish and distribute family violence information at new access points. The Foundation’s funding focuses on women with disability. Women with Disabilities Victoria will produce disability inclusive and accessible family violence resources for the community.

  • Foodbank - $15,000
    ProjectEmergency Food Relief
    Grant$15,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaEnvironment & Sustainability

    COVID-19 is having a major impact on the availability of everyday grocery store items and as a consequence, Foodbank Victoria’s (Foodbank) supply chain of donated food has decreased.

    As stock levels have become alarmingly low, Foodbank has been faced with the prospect of having to buy food items and goods to meet the unprecedented demand. Foodbank has found itself in the unusual situation of competing with supermarkets to access produce, especially fresh and chilled items for people in need in Melbourne. To assist meeting this urgent need, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation provided a $15,000 grant to help Foodbank increase their stock levels with these critical goods for the most vulnerable people in our community.

  • Gather My Crew - $150,000
    OrganisationGather My Crew
    ProjectCOVID‑19 Gather My Crew initiatives
    Grant$150,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaHealthy & Resilient Communities

    Gather My Crew is an online tool that enables people facing tough times or a crisis such as the Black Summer bushfires to reach out to their family and friend networks and develop a schedule of care and support.

    Since the bushfires and now COVID-19, Gather My Crew has been working with emergency response organisations and community sector partners to create tailored technology solutions that activate and coordinate online ‘support crews’ around vulnerable and isolated Victorians during this challenging time.

    A grant from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation will support three new initiatives to create communities of care for the most vulnerable people in our local areas as well as to support the dedicated healthcare professionals who are working through the pandemic.

    Three types of crews have been developed: street crews for local neighbourhoods to help one another, volunteer crews in local government areas to support the most vulnerable and isolated within communities, and kindness crews to support healthcare professionals who are working to support Australia during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Infoxchange - $120,000
    ProjectScaling-up Ask Izzy for COVID‑19
    Grant$120,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaHomelessness & Affordable Housing

    For the past 30 years, social enterprise Infoxchange has supported Australia’s social justice sector by providing online technology services. They launched ‘Ask Izzy’ a website resource for people seeking information and requiring assistance from not-for-profit organisations.

    A grant from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has enabled Infoxchange to increase Ask Izzy’s capacity to provide timely, accurate and location-specific information to help people in urgent need connect to critical housing, legal, family violence support and emergency relief specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Over recent months individual searches on Ask Izzy increased from 10,000 to 30,000 per month, highlighting the critical need to help those newly vulnerable. Infoxchange is improving search results by providing critical guidance not only about where to find help, but how to approach that help, and other helpful considerations. Ask Izzy is working with Justice Connect and other expert agencies collaboratively to provide this information and prevent people from entering a cycle of poverty.

  • Justice Connect - $120,102
    OrganisationJustice Connect
    ProjectGetting help to prevent homelessness when affected by COVID‑19
    Grant$120,102 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaHomelessness & Affordable Housing

    Thousands of Victorians working in retail, travel, hospitality and customer service have become unemployed due to the public health requirements and economic downturn of COVID-19.

    These newly unemployed Victorians now face the prospect of becoming homeless, however, most have a high level of digital and web experience and are looking online for support and assistance.

    Justice Connect is a leading community legal centre that specialises in a variety of legal areas, including Homeless Law, a program which provides online resources and tools to help people find information and advice to remain housed.

    Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation provided a grant to Justice Connect that will enable them to increase their capacity to provide a series of tailored legal information and advice for their online self-help hub that directly respond to issues as a result of external factors caused by COVID-19.

    The self-help hub specifically aims to keep those who have recently been made unemployed remain housed by providing up-to-date information on tenancy. The project will also provide other related legal information, such as employment law, social security law and domestic violence and translates COVID-19 related government policy and assistance into plain, easy to understand language.

  • STREAT - $100,000
    ProjectCOVID‑19 A Moving Feast
    Grant$100,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment

    As a social enterprise STREAT provides hospitality training to young people experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk of being homeless.

    STREAT’s response to COVID-19 brought together food social enterprises to create Moving Feast with the aim of continuing employment for people working in social enterprises but also to provide good, wholesome nutritious food to vulnerable communities across Melbourne.

    This collective of social enterprises includes chefs in kitchens, delivery drivers, staff at a distribution centre and depot who pack and deliver food. They also have gardeners planting seeds and seedlings to grow vegetables to stock the collective’s kitchens for future meals.

    Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation has funded social enterprises since 2009 and has provided grants to many of the social enterprises in the Moving Feast collective. The Foundation’s grant to STREAT will support and enable Moving Feast to provide food for vulnerable communities and assist in creating and maintaining employment within the social enterprise sector during the pandemic.

  • Uniting Victoria and Tasmania - $50,000
    OrganisationUniting Victoria and Tasmania
    ProjectData collection phase of ‘Uniting and Connected’- an integrated mental health response to COVID-19
    Grant$50,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaHealthy & Resilient Communities

    Uniting is developing an integrated mental health program titled ‘United and Connected’ in response to the current and emerging community stressors of COVID-19.

    COVID-19 and the Black Summer Bushfires have led to a dramatic increase in demand for front-line mental health services. Uniting (Vic/Tas) delivers the Lifeline services for Greater Melbourne which has experienced a 40 per cent increase in demand.

    ‘United and Connected’ will transform the way Uniting works with individuals and families to reduce the risk of mental illness associated with social isolation, financial vulnerability, poverty, family violence, drug and alcohol misuse, homelessness, housing insecurity as well as the compounding impacts of the Victorian bushfires. The new service model aims to connect vulnerable people to multi-disciplinary services for support.

    The Foundation’s grant will fund a project co-ordinator to gather data to understand the impacts of COVID19 and research the support that is required. Data will be used to inform the design of the newly integrated program and contribute to sector understanding of emerging community needs.

  • White Box Enterprises - $100,000
    OrganisationWhite Box Enterprises
    ProjectCOVID-19 Rapid relief jobs vehicle
    Grant$100,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment

    White Box Enterprises (WBE) assists social enterprises employing people facing disadvantage to scale-up their enterprise and grow employment opportunities. Social enterprises have been flagged as an important contributor to the post-COVID-19 recovery in boosting employment opportunities particularly for young people.

    One of the most vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19 are disadvantaged young people, particularly young women, who have been significantly impacted by the severe economic downturn created by the current pandemic.

    The Foundation has provided a grant to WBE to establish the COVID-19 Jobs Creation Vehicle to create more jobs for disadvantaged young people using social enterprise as the tool. As an intermediary, WBE will provide low interest loans through the COVID-19 Jobs Creation Vehicle Fund to scale-up employment focused social enterprises.

  • WISE Employment - $110,000
    OrganisationWISE Employment
    ProjectWISE Work Connections: Staying Ahead of the Curve
    Grant$110,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment

    WISE Ways to Work (WWtW) helps people with mental illness to achieve their vocational goals by building key employment skills and personal confidence, and assists organisations to build workforce skills in mental health literacy and responsive work opportunities.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that WISE is now moving WWtW to an online delivery model.

    With the support of the Foundation’s grant, WISE will adapt existing vocational rehabilitation and employment support materials into online e-learning modules and adapt previous face-to-face one-on-one and group sessions with vocational coaches for delivery via video conferencing.

    This grant will enable WISE to fully develop the online service and properly pilot the efficacy of online delivery. If successful, the pilot has the potential to inform mental health support in the disability and wider employment services sector.

  • Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) - $278,238
    OrganisationYouth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)
    ProjectCOVID-19 Support for Increased Capacity Needs
    Grant$278,238 over three years (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment

    The COVID-19 is severely affecting the health and wellbeing of young people due to major disruptions to their education and employment. Many young people are also facing existing issues such as family violence, discrimination and housing shortages.

    The current crisis has significantly increased the workload of Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) as the peak body for the youth sector and young people in Victoria. Its Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) is also facing overwhelming demand. There is great concern that this generation of young people will face huge economic and mental health challenges.

    The Foundation’s grant to YACVic will support and increase its advocacy for the Victorian youth sector and specifically young people with a disability. Three new positions will be created including a research and policy officer to coordinate a sector-wide COVID-19 response to focus on employment, mental health and education responses; a disability advocate team leader to coordinate the enormous increase in demand for services; and a digital communications officer to manage the increase in demand for online services, particularly from young people with a disability.

Supporting organisational and sector resilience

  • Abbotsford Convent - $50,000
    OrganisationAbbotsford Convent
    ProjectSustain the Convent Initiative
    Grant$50,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaInspiring Philanthropy

    Abbotsford Convent is an arts and cultural organisation which was one of the first industries to close as a result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

    The Foundation has provided a grant to support the capacity of Abbotsford Convent to cover the additional, necessary costs associated with COVID-19. These costs include rent relief to the majority of their 126 tenants and the additional cleaning required.

    The funding from the Foundation will significantly bolster their ability to withstand this period and in-turn benefit their tenants who are mostly small arts and community organisations.

    The Convent plans to use this grant to leverage further support from the Victorian and Australian Governments, who they are actively working with to ensure the Convent withstands this significant financial impact in the longer-term.

  • Bangarra Dance Theatre - $15,000
    OrganisationBangarra Dance Theatre
    ProjectKeep Our Songline Strong
    Grant$15,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaInspiring Philanthropy

    Bangarra is the only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander major performing arts company in Australia. For three decades, they have worked with urban and traditional cultural communities who entrust them with their stories to tell in a contemporary space. They carry culture and heritage which is shared through the medium of dance.

    Like other arts companies, Bangarra has experienced the disruptive effects and financial impacts of COVID-19. Bangarra has lost almost all of its expected box office income for the year and they are sought the support of Australia’s philanthropic sector. The Foundation has provided a grant to help ensure Bangarra supports their performers during the pandemic.

  • Collingwood Children’s Farm - $15,000
    OrganisationCollingwood Children’s Farm
    ProjectCOVID-19 Resilience through community skills-based
    Grant$15,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment
    Collingwood Children’s Farm (CCF) is an iconic Melbourne cultural and education organisation offering urban farm education opportunities to the whole community including students from disadvantaged backgrounds and students requiring disability support. Because of restrictions and social distancing requirements, the education programs and community activities that fund the Farm have not been able to operate.

    With funding from the Foundation, CCF will purchase woodworking tools, machinery and safety equipment to enable experienced CCF staff to facilitate workshops with individual volunteers, school groups, adult disability support services and community groups.
  • Contemporary Arts Precincts - $50,000
    OrganisationContemporary Arts Precincts
    ProjectCOVID‑19 Collingwood Yards Emergency Appeal
    Grant$50,000 (April 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment

    For the past three years, the former derelict Collingwood Technical College site has been redeveloped into Contemporary Arts Precinct (CAP) as an important cultural asset to support Melbourne’s inner-north arts community.

    CAP’s newly opened Collingwood Yards is now unable to become fully operational and open to the public as a retail, hospitality and arts community due COVID-19.

    Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, along with other philanthropic organisations, are providing grants to CAP’s emergency fund that will support arts organisations, Indigenous organisations, community not-for-profits and social enterprises with rent relief so that they are able to remain operational and maintain paid staff during the pandemic.

Building back better as part of the COVID-19 recovery

  • Centre for Australian Progress - $68,000
    OrganisationCentre for Australian Progress
    ProjectCOVID-19 Amplifying voices for community-led solutions
    Grant$68,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEducation & Employment

    There is now a lot of discussion and debate about how Australia will recover and ‘build back better’ post the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centre for Australian Progress is working to make sure that people with lived experience of disadvantage and minority groups will participate in these conversations to encourage a fairer and more economically inclusive Australia.

    The Foundation’s grant will enable Centre for Australian Progress to train, build and nurture a new generation of well informed and articulate community spokespeople to influence key policy decisions that affect their lives during the pandemic. The Centre’s participant selection will prioritise changemakers and young people with lived experience on issues of social security, housing, racial equality and economic justice.


  • Climate Action Network Australia - $14,500
    OrganisationClimate Action Network Australia
    ProjectThe Technology Roadmap: critical information for best path for Australia
    Grant$14,500 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaEnvironment & Sustainability

    The Australian Government has recently released its Technology Roadmap and National COVID-19 Coordination Commission with proposed stimulus measures and options for economic recovery. The initial preference is for a gas dominated recovery, however there is substantial evidence that renewables along with other mitigation and adaptation measures can produce improved economic, social and environmental outcomes.

    The Foundation has provided a grant to the Climate Action Network Australia (CANA), the country’s leading network of climate change advocacy organisations, to gather the latest data on the costs and benefits of renewables, including employment and economic factors and opportunities, and compare these to gas. This project supports the Foundation’s commitment to a clean energy future.

    CANA will compare and contrast the Technology Roadmap options including the financial, social and environmental costs and benefits of scenarios, especially the renewable energy versus a gas dominated option.

  • Council to Homeless Persons - $25,000
    OrganisationCouncil to Homeless Persons
    ProjectHousing Australians After COVID-19
    Grant$25,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaHomelessness & Affordable Housing

    The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about some of the most significant policy reforms in housing and homelessness in the last 50 years including the rapid rehousing of rough sleepers, doubling of the JobSeeker payment and introduction of the JobKeeper payment.

    In 2018, Council to Homeless Persons launched Everybody’s Home to bring cohesion and coordination to the community sector’s voice advocating for better homelessness and housing policies. The Everybody’s Home collaboration has now grown to include over 300 organisational members across the housing and homelessness sectors, local government, and other industries.

    Everybody’s Home has developed a new plan to ensure housing and homelessness issues related to COVID-19 continue to receive funding to ensure Australians remain housed. This plan involves raising public awareness about the issues of homelessness and housing in the current context, and significantly increasing sector engagement with state and federal governments.

    With the support of a grant from the Foundation Everybody’s Home will also advocate for 500,000 new social and affordable homes as part of the post- pandemic stimulus package.

  • Monash Sustainable Development Institute - $50,000
    OrganisationMonash University Monash Sustainable Development Institute
    ProjectTransforming Australia Update 2020
    Grant$50,000 (June 2020)
    Impact AreaInspiring Philanthropy

    Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI) has led the way in Australia in supporting the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals across sectors to chart Australia’s progress.

    In 2018, MSDI, with support from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and in cooperation with National Sustainable Development Council, prepared and published, Transforming Australia, a baseline report of Australia’s performance against United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Redoing this work at this critical time for Australia’s future will inform post COVID-19 recovery priorities and potential targets. The Foundation’s grant supports this further research. The data will be selected and grouped in a way that tells a story about Australia’s progress to date and what is needed to meet the targets and respond to COVID-19 and bushfire recovery. This data will assist in guiding further debate and decision-making for the future direction of Australia and its contribution to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.