Grants for good

Posted on 13 Feb 2024

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Endless Australia co-founders showcase their eco-friendly skateboards at the Canberra Innovation Network's innovation showcase.

Grants are the lifeblood that allows many for-purpose organisations and entrepreneurs to do good in the world.

From green initiatives aimed at helping to save the planet to programs that foster diversity and enable digital inclusion, injections of cash from like-minded benefactors can help take ideas to the next level.

Insurance company QBE, the nation’s internet domain regulator auDA and a Canberra based not-for-profit supporter of innovative start-ups could not be more different from each other in terms of what they do.

What all three organisations have in common however, is a commitment to funding worthy projects trying to make the world a better place.

Each has recently awarded grants totalling $1.3 million to support more than 35 projects and organisations determined to make a difference.

QBE Foundation: fostering inclusion and climate resilience

The QBE Foundation has awarded more than $440,000 in grants to 11 charities and community organisations working to foster inclusion and boost climate resilience in Australia.

The winner of each grant will receive $40,000 towards their project.

More than 200 organisations applied for funding under the foundation's 2023 local grants program, which included an employee choice category.

This allowed QBE staff to nominate a charity they work with or feel passionately about, to receive a grant.

Climate Resilience:

Habitat for Humanity: An organisation dedicated to helping vulnerable families access safe shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Planting Seeds: A sustainability program with a focus on environmental protection and sustainable education.

Shedding Community: A Mullumbimby based community space designed for people with a passion for tools, hands-on learning and self-discovery.

Trust for Nature: A Victorian conservation charity working to protect natural habitat on private land.

Thread Together
Thread Together


Arise Foundation: Helping survivors of financial abuse recover through access to no-interest loans, employment training, job placement and advocacy.

Deadly Coders: A community managed NFP which strives to foster a love of digital technologies such as computer coding and robotics among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary and secondary students across Australia.

Little Wings: A NFP that supports parents separated from hosptalised children suffering life threatening illness by providing free flights and ground transport during their hospital treatment.

Thread Together: A volunteer-based organisation which collects end-of-year clothing stock destined for landfill and redistributes it from fashion retailers to people in need.

Employee Choice

Giant Steps: Founded to help educate children with autism and their families and to alleviate associated stress.

MedEarth: Environmentally friendly organisation that recovers usable medical supplies and equipment that hospitals no longer want and would otherwise be destined for landfill.

Team Sports 4 All: Changing children's lives for the better by promoting the benefits of sport.

The QBE Foundation also elected to support two more organisations in the Employee Choice category with a $20,000 donation:

Friends of Black Hill and Morialta: A not-for-profit which has been protecting and restoring native vegetation in South Australia for more than 37 years.

Neuromuscular WA: An organisation which strives to improve the quality of life for people living with neuromuscular conditions in Western Australia.

QBE Foundation co-chair Jon Fox said the grants program aimed to make a real difference in areas that matter.

“The local grants program reflects QBE’s dedication to creating positive change and empowering local charities actively working towards it,” he said.

“Our 11 grant recipients have shown exceptional commitment and innovation in addressing climate challenges, promoting inclusion, and empowering communities – and it is inspiring to witness their impact and be part of their journey.”

auDA Foundation: enhancing digital inclusion

The auDA Foundation distributed $600,000 in community grants to 15 organisations working to promote digital inclusion and innovation.

Each recipient will receive $40,000 toward projects that benefit one or more of the following areas:

  • Rural, regional, and remote Australians
  • Australians living with disability
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Older Australians (aged over 65)
  • Young Australians (aged 12-24)

The chair of the auDA public benefit program committee, Sandra Davey said the auDA Foundation supported community initiatives aimed at enhancing societal wellbeing through the internet.

This included improving access to digital health and education resources in regional Australia, as well as enhancing online safety for people living with disabilities.

“I extend my sincere congratulations to this year's recipients, and I’m looking forward to seeing the lasting impact of their initiatives,” said Ms Davey.

The CEO of auDA, Rosemary Sinclair AM, said the oganisation’s commitment to improving digital inclusion and digital innovation for Australians is backed up by the auDA Foundation's support of more than 172 projects with more than $4.5 million in funding.

“The auDA Foundation community grants form a central pillar of our vision to drive social and economic value for Australians through the internet,” said Ms Sinclair.

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN): For the creation of a comprehensive and accessible map of disability centric digital literacy initiatives.

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect): For the development of a digital platform with educational information and resources for pregnant autistic women and their healthcare practitioners.

Enterprise Learning Projects: For the design of easily accessible business literacy workshops geared toward Aboriginal entrepreneurs in remote areas.

First Nations Foundation: To provide culturally safe financial education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and to deliver a digital financial network to support better financial outcomes for ATSI women.

Ishar Multicultural Women's Health Services: To improve the digital literacy of refugee and migrant women aged 14-25 in a culturally safe space.

Monash University and MJD Foundation: To develop an online platform that allows people with Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) and medical staff to assess and track their disease and connect with
specialist resources no matter where they live.

Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yanunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council: To revolutionise the way Anangu parents and carers access information about feeding their children by digitising resources such as Anangu specific infant feeding guidelines.

auDA CEO Rosemary Sinclair.
Rosemary Sinclair, auDA CEO.

Red Nose: To pilot a culturally appropriate Safe Sleep electronic learning package - designed by First Nations people for First Nations people - to be used by professionals working alongside First Nations families.

Skyline Education Foundation: To increase availability of online courses for three popular VCE subjects in regional and remote locations, on a platform that can be used by staff in the classroom and student access after class.

Story Factory: To develop a suite of online educational videos and worksheets designed to boost the literacy, creativity and confidence of 2,000 primary school students in regional locations.

Success Works Partners Inc: An online job-readiness platform boasting digital training and tools designed to enable vulnerable women to participate in the program, no matter where they live in Australia.

Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER): In collaboration with the CSIRO, the ACER will develop a free webinar series for primary and secondary teachers on the best ways to engage young women in digital technology education.

University of Melbourne: To provide an intergenerational Digital Resilience Ambassador program to improve older migrants' digital resilience to safe use of the internet and use digital media to support personal and community wellbeing.

University of Queensland/AustLit
: To harness the extensive data-networking capabilities of the Australian Literature Resource (AustLit) to build digital learning environments catering to three Australian National Curriculum priority areas - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures; Asian-Australian Engagement; and Sustainability.

Youth Opportunities Australia Ltd: To enable the online launch of the pilot project PROSPER, designed to equip young people in need or at
risk with enterprise skills, confidence, wellbeing and resilience.

Canberra Innovation Network: Innovation in action

The Canberra Innovation Network (CIN) aims to empower entrepreneurs and businesses to build on the city's excellence in research and innovation to create social and economic benefits for all citizens.

Since launching its Innovation Connect (ICON) grant program in 2008 it has helped more than 300 companies to help turn their vision into reality by supporting market testing, prototyping, patenting and commercial feasibility of the new concepts.

In partnership with the ACT government, the Iatest round of grants saw individual grants of up to $30,000 totaling more than $264,000 in funding awarded to nine innovative businesses.

Their projects and programs range from using recycled bottle tops to make eco-friendly skateboards to designing mobile shower commodes to protect elderly and disabled people from falls.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Innovation Connect grants program played an important role in bringing to life some of Canberra’s brightest ideas.

“Integral to our innovation ecosystem, ICON continues to help shape the future of innovation in the city,” said Mr Barr.

Canberra Innovation Network chief operating officer Sharyn Smith said the Canberra community could be proud of the incredible innovations that continued to be developed by the clever minds of the city.

“The Innovation Connect grant provides an important boost for the recipients to progress the development of their product or service to the next stage. We can all look forward to seeing the great things that await them,” said Ms Smith.

Au DA Foundation grant 2023 recipients resized
Recipients of grants from the auDA Foundation in 2023.

Dragonfly Thinking: Uses AI-driven visual tools and techniques to make complex problem-solving and analysis easier for policy and business leaders.

Endless Australia: Creator of eco-friendly skateboard decks using 100% recycled and recyclable plastic bottle lids.

Hosking Bikes: An enterprise offering affordable and customisable bikes while advocating for inclusivity and greater representation of women in cycling.

Mobile shower commodes: A cost-effective injury prevention solution designed to help prevent the elderly and people with disabilities from falling in the shower.

SocialProtect: A platform designed to promote positive wellbeing and protect users from online abuse by automatically removing nasty comments from users' social media posts as they appear.


TaperMate: A mobile app designed to help users safely taper off medications and prevent associated withdrawal symptoms.

Traceably: A system designed to enable digital teams to seamlessly collaborate and design human-centric digital solutions and services.

Waste Check Systems: An Internet of Things (IoT) bulk bin weighing system for the commercial and industrial property sector designed to enhance sustainability tracking and reduce excess waste charges.

Yarn: A digital health platform that supports children who have speech and language difficulties and their parents, while they are on a waiting list to see a speech pathologist.

Funding Centre manager Steff Ball said building relationships with philanthropic funders was an important way to stay on their radar and increase the chance of receiving ongoing, rather than once-off funding for an organisation or cause.

She said preparation was also key.

“For grant rounds with a smaller application window, four weeks and under, my tip is to make sure your application is ready to go before the round opens,” said Steff.

“Knowing about upcoming round dates and putting effort into preparing your application before the application period opens will increase your ability to submit a quality application.”

Funding Centre subscribers can set tailored alerts for grants they are interested in and receive updates when a funder has indicated a round is open.

“This means they don’t miss out on timely grant round alerts,” said Steff.

More information

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