Our Approach

The way we work

Our work has both a national reach and local focus enabling communities to build their social capital and economic resilience. We do this by engaging and providing resources for projects and programs that create the change communities aspire to achieve.

 We have three primary areas of activity:

1. Grant-making, with different grants for different needs

In 2013/14, we operated 19 programs, across six themes:

  1. Enable - communities to help themselves
  2. Engage - within and across communities
  3. Educate - current and future generations
  4. Recover and Strengthen - medium to long-term support, post disaster
  5. Industries and Places - focused funding for local needs
  6. Annual Grants - facilitating one-off grants and targeted partnerships aligned to donors' particular areas of interest.

Where we cannot fund a project, either through lack of funds or because it is beyond our scope, we endeavour to either refer the project to another funder (so we act as a 'clearing house') or refer the applicant to other sources of funding.

2. Enabling communities to build capacity and capability

By creating tools, sharing best practice and our knowledge, we help communities strengthen local leadership, enhance social connectedness and create well-resourced, well-functioning local organisations. By supporting local Community Foundations and hosting Donation Accounts, through which we can lend our tax-deductible status and help them fundraise, we are enabling communities to build capacity and capability.

3. Influencing stakeholders

In the course of our work, we gain great insights into rural, regional and remote communities. We share these with government, other donors and with communities themselves, through a variety of forums.

Clear guiding principles

In executing our strategy, we are guided by the following principles:

  • Community self-determination & empowerment – do it with me or help me do it myself, not do it for or to me;
  • An asset-based approach (not a deficit approach) – play to, and build on, strengths and existing assets;
  • Evidence based – this determines program design and priorities;
  • Constant improvement, assessment and evaluation of our programs and operations;
  • Spending time on the ground in the communities we support;
  • Invest in solutions that solve the underlying issues, as well as projects that alleviate the symptoms;
  • There is value in short-term interventions, but we also seek to build longer-term partnerships – with donors, communities and stakeholders; and
  • We have limited resources, so we seek to implement strong systems and processes in our internal operations.

In this report, we have elaborated more on our work and demonstrated how everything we do is guided by these principles.