RallyRound December 2017 – Reflections on a busy year

As we hurtle towards 2018, it is important to take stock; to take a moment to reflect on the achievements and challenges of the past year.

Working with their communities, donors and partners, community foundations are uniquely positioned to drive meaningful change and impact. Our thriving GLOCAL sector unites around our shared values of inclusivity, equity, accountability – and a firm belief in the power of community. The world is a better and stronger place for having a community foundations in it.

Highlights for the year include:

  • A strong focus on our advocacy and commitment to overcoming the regulatory barriers facing community foundations.
  • Creating new opportunities for community foundation practitioners to come together to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise.
  • Building the capacity of community foundations; providing networking opportunities, tools and resources, links and connections, advice and assistance.
  • The National Community Foundations Forum in Melbourne.
  • Continuing to build strong relationships with our international colleagues, networks and peak bodies.

A heartfelt thank-you to all our members, our Board, partners and friends. Your commitment, insight and support inspires and emboldens us. We wish you a happy and safety festive season.

Sector News

  • ACP has joined others from the NFP sector in expressing concern over the appointment of Dr Gary Johns as Commissioner of the ACNC. ACP’s statement is available here.
  • The Minister for Revenue & Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, has announced a number of reforms to the oversight of organisations with DGR status. Click here to watch Philanthropy Australia’s excellent summary and analysis of the reforms.
  • Ben Rodgers has been appointed as Chair of ACP, following in the immediate footsteps of Dylan Smith. The ACP Board also welcomed elected Directors Maree Sidey and Genevieve Timmons.
  • Applications to FRRR’s REAPing Rewards program close 15th January. The program targets educational outcomes in rural and remote communities providing grants of up to $10,000.

Spotlight: NCFF17

Hosted by Australian Communities Foundation, the Inner North Community Foundation and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, this year’s Forum explored the SMIRF of community foundations, the importance of place in a world that is seemingly becoming more fragmented and how community foundations are addressing disadvantage, building wellbeing, supporting inclusion and creating opportunity.

A huge thank you to all our speakers, delegates and sponors. Read ACP’s round-up of NCFF17 here.



Newly elected ACP Board member Genevieve Timmons (pictured here with Ian Bird, President, Community Foundations of Canada) offers her reflections on our sector as part of the NCFF17 wrap-up:


We are still exploring and pioneering the role and purpose of community foundations, and while this is very exciting, it is also challenging and demanding. Hard work and heavy demands are to be expected, and while it’s a long road, it’s also a privilege.

We have the opportunity to speak truth to power about our work, and are qualified to do so. Along the way, we might hit barriers and have to decide to speak up, saying ‘this needs to be different’. Because if we don’t, there is cost to our organisations and our community organisations.

One example of this is to focus on efficient processes for granting and decision making, and ensure that donors aren’t draining resources from our communities in how they give their money. We can educate donors to build cost efficient and effective funding partnerships instead of getting people to jump through hoops to attract their grants.

We are generosity magnets, not supplicants, and offer a platform for generosity to flourish. The more we can facilitate people’s giving, and provide simple, meaningful ways for people to give to their communities, the more money and resources will come in. We can lay the table for some incredible opportunities for people to be generous. It is a mistake to think we are simply fundraisers for our foundations which can be daunting and exhausting

We need to keep building common and shared language, to strengthen our collective progress and highlight our common goals and values. This means listening deeply to each other, and recognising how our communications highlight strengths and community opportunity, rather than diminishing our communities and engaging in competitions of sorrow to promote how broken down we are. Talking about needs diminishes the people we work with, but emphasising strengths and opportunities is about unleashing potential and removing barriers. Common language also allows us to share data and map the strength of our collective activity.

…. Connecting the dots with Vital Signs

The Fremantle Foundation and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation have joined a growing number of community foundations using Vital Signs in 2017 to connect the dots between existing data and dive deep on locally meaningful issues such as poverty and disadvantage, education, food insecurity and youth unemployment.

Community foundations use Vital Signs to start conversations, identify trends, local priorities and opportunities and decide where to focus their attention and resources to have the greatest impact.

Vital Signs reports present a picture of a community and leverage stakeholder involvement at every level, from determining the report’s issues and indicators, to exploring research sources.

Read more about Vital Signs here and browse Canadian and international Community Foundation reports here.

Member News

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF), like many foundations, has seen an increase in applications and grants made in 2017. NRCF Executive Officer, Emily Berry, says

‘We had a 60% increase in applications on previous year and a 75% increase in grant requests in terms of $. We tailored our promotions a little differently this year, working with our seven LGA Councils and their community officers to connect with community organisations across the region. We also received funding from Yulgilbar Foundation to increase efforts in the Clarence Valley / Grafton region. This resulted in not only an increase in applications, but also 43% of applicants were new to the grants program, having never applied since the Program began in 2005.

  • Marysville & Triangle Community Foundation has just concluded their largest grant round distributing $144,000 in community grants.
  • Buderim Foundation has awarded more than $64,000 to 17 community organisations from a record field of applicants in its 2017 Community Grants program
  • Geelong Community Foundation’s Philanthropy 500 (P500) is an exciting new giving circle program. 90 new donors joined the program in 2017 resulting in a grant of $22,500 at P500’s inaugural October event.
  • Matt Jenkins has been appointed to the position of CEO at the Ballarat Foundation

ACP membership renewal reminder and January office hours

ACP Membership fees are due 1st February 2018 and membership renewal forms will be emailed mid January or can be downloaded here.

The ACP Office will be closed from Friday 22nd December to 15th January and will be operating reduced hours for the remainder of January.

Wishing you all a safe and happy festive season.

2018 ACP calendar

Fireside Chats are an opportunity for Community Foundation practitioners to come together in an informal conversation (teleconference & online chat) to share their knowledge, experience, resources, challenges and opportunities.

The next Fireside Chat for Board Chairs/Leading Directors is on Thursday, 21st December, 4.30pm-5.30pm AEDT (and then quarterly).

The next Fireside Chat for EOs/CEOs is on Tuesday, 6th February, 11am-12pm AEDT (and then bi-monthly).

kate.buxton@australiancommunityphilanthropy.org.au to register

Keep an eye on the ACP Projects/Events web page for upcoming events.

What are your burning issues? Email your suggestions for our 2018 Webinar program to info@australiancommunityphilanthropy.org.au