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New grant funding body announced for Melbourne

12 October 2016 |Community

Melbourne community groups and not-for-profits now have a new avenue to access all important grant funds.

Connected Communities Melbourne is a new philanthropic body founded in partnership with Bendigo Bank, aiming to support the local groups and projects that help make our city the world’s most liveable.

Connected Communities Melbourne Chairperson, Melanie Raymond, said groups would be able to apply for grant funding for projects across 10 sectors including youth work, community safety, sport and the arts.

Grants will be awarded at the grassroots level – to support a local hockey club for example – as well as for larger, collaborative projects that address social issues across Melbourne, like homelessness or domestic violence.

“Working with other local businesses and community partners, we hope to grow a central, sustainable funding model that helps support collaboration on projects that make Melbourne a great place for everyone to live,” Ms Raymond said.

“Australia’s number of not-for-profit organisations has grown rapidly in recent years to upwards of 600,000, and the majority of these are small volunteer-run groups that are finding it harder than ever to compete for a limited funding pool.

“What Connected Communities Melbourne will provide is a centralised, self-generating funding alternative that can service grant applications in a flexible and straight-forward way.”

Grant applications can be made online and will be considered by Connected Communities Melbourne’s independent voluntary board.

Alongside Ms Raymond – current chairperson of youth homelessness initiative Youth Projects and the Australian Institute of Company Directors Victorian Not-For-Profit Advisory Committee – the board already boasts a number of sector leaders, including Neighbourhood Houses Victoria CEO, Bridget Gardner. It will also work with large donor partners, including the TAC.

Bendigo Bank Executive Local Connection, Alexandra Tullio, said the initiative would be partly funded by profits from 28 Bendigo Bank branches across Melbourne.

“That means by banking at your local Bendigo Bank branch, you can help support your local community,” Ms Tullio said.

“We know that creating successful communities is good for business and good for the people we serve, so we’re excited to expand our ethos of shared value in a new way.”

Businesses, organisations and individuals can also make tax deductable donations to support the initiative, with grants used to further leverage funding from local, state and federal government.

Funding costs will be kept low, with at least 90 cents in every dollar going directly to supported projects.

Connected Communities Melbourne will be launched at a special event at Hilton Melbourne South Wharf tonight (12 October).

A grant of $10,000 will be awarded to one lucky community organisation to mark the occasion, with the first official round of grants opening for applications in February 2017.

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