Tuesday, 22 September 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.
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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 today announced further funding of $555,000 to support the charitable and not-for-profit sector during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

This rapid response philanthropic funding is in addition to the $250,000 grant provided to Alfred Health’s Infectious Diseases Unit last week.

The grants were provided to six not-for-profit organisations across homelessness, health and social enterprise sectors to help combat the impact of COVID‑19 and ensure vulnerable people and communities are supported during this devastating time.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Catherine Brown OAM, said “We have funded organisations to scale-up their capacity to meet the new and increased demand for support in response to some of the challenges Victorians are facing during the COVID‑19 crisis.”

The scale and unique nature of the pandemic has required an extraordinary and rapid response by the Foundation to requests for funding. With standard philanthropic grant rounds taking many months for processing and approval, the Foundation’s staff and Board worked collaboratively to have the grants approved within two weeks of applications being received.

“The organisations we have funded are inspiring. Many of them have mobilised their networks to apply a co‑ordinated approach in tackling the challenges of COVID‑19. Our program managers worked with each grant recipient to ensure that these projects were fast tracked through the granting process, and that connections and collaborations would meet current community needs,” added Dr Brown.

The projects vary in range and include grants to Justice Connect and Infoxchange to increase their capacity to provide legal information on a self-help hub and online resources through Ask Izzy; a grant to STREAT to co‑ordinate a network of food social enterprises to increase their capacity to provide food; a grant to Foodbank to enable them to purchase essential food items; a grant to Gather My Crew to establish three types of support and kindness crews; and, a grant to Contemporary Arts Precincts to support artist tenancies at Collingwood Yards.

“The grants are providing essential food items and meals to vulnerable communities, as well as bringing online resources and information about homelessness, social connection, and health services to people and communities affected by COVID-19, not just in Melbourne but right across Victoria and Australia.


“I would like to acknowledge the incredible work of these charitable organisations. They are providing essential and important services as well as applying their creativity to support the community and build organisational resilient during this very challenging time,” added Dr Brown.


Click on the project names below to learn more about the funded projects.

Online resources to help prevent entry into homelessness

  • Justice Connect: Getting help to prevent homelessness when affected by COVID‑19
    OrganisationJustice Connect
    ProjectGetting help to prevent homelessness when affected by COVID‑19

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

    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 has 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 will 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. It will also translate COVID‑19 related government policy and assistance into plain, easy to understand language.


  • Infoxchange: Scaling up Ask Izzy for COVID‑19
    ProjectScaling up Ask Izzy for COVID‑19

    Infoxchange is social enterprise that supports Australia’s social justice sector by providing online technology services. Infoxchange launched ‘Ask Izzy’ as a website resource for people seeking information and assistance from not-for-profit organisations.

    A grant from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation will enable Infoxchange to increase their capacity for Ask Izzy 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. Ask Izzy is also the only website listing all coronavirus clinic locations.

    In the last month individual searches on Ask Izzy increased from 10,000 to 30,000 per month, highlighting the critical need to help those newly vulnerable.

    Recognising the wave of people soon to find themselves facing homelessness due to recent unemployment, Infoxchange will improve 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 will work with Justice Connect and other expert agencies collaboratively to provide this information and prevent people from entering a cycle of poverty.



Creating and building support networks for vulnerable people

  • Gather My Crew: COVID‑19 Gather My Crew initiatives
    OrganisationGather My Crew
    ProjectCOVID‑19 Gather My Crew initiatives

    Gather My Crew is an online tool that enables people facing challenging times or a crisis 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 are being developed: Street Crews for local neighbourhoods to help one another, Volunteer Crews in local government areas to support the most vulnerable and isolated people within communities, and Kindness Crews to support healthcare professionals who are working to support Australia during the COVID‑19 crisis.



Supporting Melbourne’s newest arts precinct community

  • Contemporary Arts Precincts: COVID‑19 Collingwood Yards Emergency Appeal
    OrganisationContemporary Arts Precincts
    ProjectCOVID‑19 Collingwood Yards Emergency Appeal

    For the past three years, the formerly derelict Collingwood Technical College site has been redeveloped into the Collingwood Arts Precinct, now known as Collingwood Yards. This important cultural asset, which supports Melbourne’s inner-north arts community, is Australia’s first contemporary arts precinct.

    Due to the government restrictions and requirements to flatten the COVID‑19 curve, Contemporary Arts Precincts' newly opened Collingwood Yards is now unable to become fully operational and open to the public.

    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.


Mobilising Melbourne’s food community for emergency relief

  • STREAT: COVID-19 A Moving Feast
    ProjectCOVID‑19 A Moving Feast

    STREAT’s response to COVID‑19 has been to bring food social enterprises together to create Moving Feast with the aim of providing wholesome nutritious food to vulnerable communities across Melbourne.

    This collective of social enterprises already have in place chefs in kitchens, delivery drivers, and staff at a distribution centre and depot packing and delivering food.

    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 maintain employment within the social enterprise sector during the pandemic.


  • Foodbank: Emergency Food Relief
    ProjectEmergency Food Relief

    COVID‑19 is having a major impact on the availability of everyday grocery store items and as a consequence, Foodbank Victoria’s supply chain of donated food goods is becoming thinner each day.

    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 in 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 so Foodbank can continue distributing much needed food and goods to the most vulnerable people in our community.