Fast-acting grants program wins philanthropic honours

Posted on 17 Nov 2021

Poverty Campaign

Philanthropy Australia has recognised a quick-response grants program that swiftly directed $160,000 to 25 pandemic-related advocacy projects during 2020 in its annual awards.

The Covid-19 Rapid Advocacy Fund was named Best Grant Program in the Philanthropy Awards 2021, announced this week.

The fund involved the creation of a joint donor pool through a collaboration between Australian Progress, the Australian Communities Foundation and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), designed to “rapidly inject funds into strategic advocacy campaigns” in response to the pandemic.

Recipients received grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 towards advocacy campaigns aimed at boosting the voices of renters, First Nations people with a disability, refugee communities, human rights monitors, and other progressive movements.

Australian Progress executive director Kirsty Albion told Philanthropy Australia, “The main thing we knew was that it needed to be quick…a pooled funding model so that funders could put into the fund, and they could be as involved or as little involved as they like, but regardless we could get resources out the door within days of getting the application.’’

The fund is expected to assist more advocacy projects in the lead up to the 2021 budget and federal election.

Grants Management Intelligence has previously profiled the impact strategy of the Australian Communities Foundation, which involved pledging a large seed fund and then tapping a network of supporters to raise $600,000 for causes targeting culture, the environment and social justice.

The Philanthropy Awards this year also recognised leading philanthropist Tim Fairfax AC, along with programs that addressed the “chronic underrepresentation of women in parliaments”, provided support for environmental journalism, and undertook work in the Indigenous, international and community sectors.

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