Canberra foundations unlock $500k for local charities

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Chair of Hands Across Canberra and the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund ACT, Diane Kargas Bray AM, said the new COVID-19 grants will inject much-needed funds into the community sector.
Chair of Hands Across Canberra and the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund ACT, Diane Kargas Bray AM, said the new COVID-19 grants will inject much-needed funds into the community sector. File image.

With a recent surge in demand for community services brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, three Canberra community foundations have teamed up with urgency to distribute a $500,000 grant round to local not-for-profit organisations.

The COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Round was opened on Friday 27 March by the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund (administered by Hands Across Canberra), The Snow Foundation and the John James Foundation.

These foundations are encouraging local charities to apply for small grants from $1,000 to $15,000 and medium grants up to $25,000.

Chair of Hands Across Canberra and the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund ACT, Diane Kargas Bray AM, noted how over the past two weeks, local community organisations have grappled with simultaneously adjusting their work environments for the safety of staff and volunteers while dealing with a surge in demand for their services.

Ms Bray said the new COVID-19 grants will inject much needed funds into the community sector during this uncertain time.

Steve Coster, CEO of UnitingCare Kippax, was tasked with taking the lead on the community sector response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Coster emphasised the importance of keeping community services running as much as possible.

“There is already increased demand for food and essentials in our Emergency Food and Material Aid program due to the scarcity and increased cost of products with the current coronavirus panic shopping,” he said.

Georgina Byron, CEO of The Snow Foundation, said the community sector works by teaming together to produce the best collective response and, in this case, to help those impacted by COVID-19.

“Collaboration is needed now more than ever to strengthen community organisations and charities to be able to continue to operate and help those in need, especially where demand has increased significantly.

“By injecting half a million dollars into local community charities, we are providing support to the Canberra community in the quickest and most effective way we can,” Ms Byron said.

John James Foundation CEO Joe Roff noted that the cooperative response arranged by the three foundations is “the exact role” community foundations should play in serving our region.

Grant applications, criteria and guidelines can be found at Hands Across Canberra. Applications are open now and close midnight 10 April.

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