Page 2550 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 6 August 2013

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Hands across Canberra is another innovative ACT project. It is a broadly based collaboration between business, community and government, which is all about giving locally for local projects. The Hands across Canberra Foundation provides grants to community organisations for projects that will help increase their capacity to do their good work. The Hands across Canberra Foundation provides a simple and cost-effective way for people to become involved in philanthropic activity in Canberra. The foundation is actively building its philanthropic funds to be able to support more local community organisations in the future, particularly those that find it difficult to attract government or other funding.

I just want to go to why the Hands across Canberra Foundation was formed. A new approach to philanthropic needs, or giving, is emerging and is seeing a greater focus on issues in areas where we actually live. The foundation found that significant need right here in Canberra. The ACT is generally perceived as a relatively well-off community but the extent of the real but hard-to-find need is not really appreciated. And, of course, this group, Hands across Canberra, has acted right here in our local community last year.

Hands across Canberra donated a grant to local, not-for-profit No Sweat Fashions to help the local manufacturing and sewing studio get off the ground. Ten months on and the organisation has thrived, culminating in the launch of their first project, which was just last month. Hands across Canberra supported No Sweat at the time and No Sweat says that if they had not received the grant from Hands across Canberra, without any money they would not have been able to get going. They have been given some amazing donations of sewing equipment from local people in the community. It did not all work but they did not know that at the time of the donation.

No Sweat Fashions is a local, not-for-profit, small-scale manufacturing and sewing studio that aims to create long-term social change by training and supporting migrants and refugees. The workshop provides training and work experience and facilitates community engagement to counteract the barriers to further employment and education. You can see how some local philanthropy can actually go to increasing opportunities for those coming to the ACT.

The Canberra Hospital Foundation was launched in 2011, beginning life as the charitable arm of the Canberra Hospital in 2008, and is the hospital’s principal fundraising body. As the largest public hospital in the region supporting a population of almost 540,000, the Canberra Hospital is a vital piece of public infrastructure for our community and our region. The foundation helps the hospital by raising funds for equipment to support research and to enhance facilities for overall patient and family-centred care. Importantly, 100 per cent of all funds raised by the foundation stay right here in Canberra.

Around Australia we can also look at what has been happening in other jurisdictions. For example, the Victorian government has recently undergone a human services sector reform project which found there was considerable interest in attracting and facilitating additional sources of funding to the community sector beyond government contracts and philanthropic donations.

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