Grants Round Up May 2019

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A Civic Crew. Image supplied by Civic Disability Services Inc.

In its latest funding round, the Foundation awarded 25 grants totalling $5,541,808.

The majority of these grants were made in the Arts and Health & Disability programs. However, there were several out-of-round grants made in other program areas resulting from invited applications.

Nine Arts grants totalling $2.2m were awarded to organisations located across Australia. Country Arts WA was awarded $500,000 over four years to create a WA Regional Arts Network aiming to build creativity and capacity and increase connections between regional communities and their arts organisations.  Country Arts WA will establish 10 Regional Hubs connecting regional artists, audiences and arts workers to enable better service delivery and local decision making and ensure more integrated and coordinated planning. This project is based on a successful pilot program and will include Local Leadership programs for artists/arts workers to develop their skills in community engagement, fundraising and relationship development.

Belvoir St Theatre was awarded $360,000 over three years for the Delivering Diversity project. As a result of their recent, hugely successful production of Counting & Cracking – the first main-stage play to be written and performed by an all-Asian cast – the company will develop a plan to continue collaboration with a community of artists and industry peers to create a body of culturally diverse work.  Belvoir St Theatre are also committed to sharing their learnings with the broader theatre and performing arts industries.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers is an organisation with over 20 years’ experience representing over 400 Indigenous artists in remote central Australia. This organisation was awarded $360,000 over three years towards its creative development program for fibre artists in the Warakurn, Irrunytju and Mantamaru communities in remote Western Australia. This capacity building grant will allow the employment of additional staff to focus on the creative development to better enable Tjanpi artists to showcase their artwork at events, generate sales and share their unique point of view as contemporary artists. This grant has been a direct result of the Foundation’s grants management team scoping trip to the Northern Territory in 2018.

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale has been awarded a three-year $125,000 grant to support a professional development program for curators as an integral part of the 2019 and 2021 Biennale.  The In Focus Curators’ Forum will be a four-day residential intensive for 15 professional curators comprising eight Australian (including two emerging and two Indigenous curators) and seven international curators. In addition, four high profile international and four leading Australian guest curators or gallery directors will be invited to participate as keynote speakers. During the non-festival year, the Biennale will continue to mentor the two emerging Australian curators, offering them valuable internal and local residencies. This is a unique opportunity in Australia and strong competition for program places. Is anticipated.

Within the Health & Disability program, six grants were awarded totalling $1,222,000.  These included $150,000 over two years to the Cancer Council Victoria which will support their Cancer Screening and Prevention Training Program to address the high rate of cancer-related deaths in Indigenous communities.  The program aims to overcome barriers to cancer screening among Indigenous Victorians by training health professionals to conduct effective and culturally appropriate cancer screening; work with respected Aboriginal elders and community members to empower communities to know more about cancer screening; and deliver targeted, culturally appropriate educational media campaigns on cancer screening. This grant aligns with the Foundation’s Indigenous funding guidelines

Civic Disability Services (Civic) have been awarded $320,000 over three years towards Civic Crews a social enterprise and employment program for adults with a disability. Civic Crews is a new approach to providing workplace and employment opportunities within the community as part of a supported team environment. The ‘crews’ will comprise two or four supported employees plus a support worker. Crews will be employed in an open employment environment, for example, landscaping or administration. This approach is designed to offer employment, foster social inclusion for people with disabilities and educate employers about the value of diversity in the workplace. Civic has a 60-year history in the disability services sector, and already employs individuals with disabilities in its logistics and packaging business. The Civic Crews model has been developed by Civic through a successful pilot program with two partners. The addition of Civic Crews to Civic's employment offering will provide valuable learnings in the disability employment funding space that will better inform funders and other disability service providers on what works.

I CAN Network is a social network created in 2013 by Autistics for Autistics to provide online mentoring. Originally only Melbourne-based, the network now extends to regional Victoria and south-east Queensland.  I CAN Network was awarded $200,000 over three years to scale up its online mentoring program targeting young people aged 10–20 who are on the Autism spectrum helping them to develop pride, social connections and valuable life skills. I CAN Network Founder Chris Varney’s TEDxMelbourne talk “How My Unstoppable Mother Proved the Experts Wrong’ illustrates the value of mentoring and providing a supportive network around autistic young people. I Can Network aims to be self-funding by 2021.  Significantly, this program will be staffed predominantly by Autistic adults.

Several out-of-round grants were made other program areas and via the Alec Prentice Sewell Gift. These included a three-year Education grant of $368,500 to ARACY in support of a Decadal Plan for Early Childhood Research. This Decadal Plan is a nationally significant project to set an ambitious but achievable 10-year research agenda for early childhood development in Australia to drive improved outcomes. The publicly available plan will be utilised by policymakers, funders, academics and philanthropists to better coordinate and fund research for greater impact.  The ultimate goal is to ensure research is targeted, sequential and relevant, and that implementation of programs will improve school readiness and foster parental engagement in children’s learning.

This Decadal Plan is timely as Early Childhood Development has been identified as a whole of government issue by the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, with the Federal Opposition also committed to early childhood funding to ensure better education and child development initiatives for 3 and 4-year olds.

Cool Australia was awarded $300,000 over three years from the Alec Prentice Sewell Gift to ramp up their publishing of curriculum resources focused on environmental sustainability. This grant will enable Cool Australia to collaborate with research centres such as ClimateWorks, the Monash Climate Change Communications Hub and the Australian Data Science Education Institute to create teaching resources from evidence-based research to improve climate change knowledge at primary and secondary school level.  Cool Australia was founded in 2008 to provide online educational material and support to teachers. They have developed a strong reputation for providing a comprehensive portfolio of best practice and free learning activities and resources that engage students. More than 96,000 educators currently use Cool Australia resources to teach 2.5 million students in a school year.

Lastly, the Foundation is pleased to award a second Medical Research grant to Veritas Health Innovations Ltd. This $400,000 grant over three years will support the scaling up of Covidence – an innovative online platform that accelerates research into action by streamlining systematic review.  This grant follows the Foundation’s earlier grant of $200,000 in 2017 which supported Covidence’s expansion to reach international customers; Covidence now has over 60,000 users in the medical research sector.

Veritas has been able to also gain additional philanthropic funding from the Ramsay Foundation ($1.4m) and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund ($200,000), both of whom were original co-funders with The Ian Potter Foundation in 2017. In conjunction with the Foundation’s latest $400,000 grant, Veritas now has $2m in additional philanthropic support allowing Covidence to continue to scale up, develop new products and reach financial sustainability.

The Foundation congratulates all grant recipients in this funding round. Details of all grants awarded can be found in our Grants Database.

Learn more about Tjanpi Desert Weavers in this recent feature by Pro Bono.

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