Hands Across Canberra is Canberra's independent community foundation. Founded in 2010 by a group of Canberra leaders with the idea of creating a foundation to help fellow Canberrans and give back to the community, it now works with more than 250 local community organisations.
The goal is to tackle the challenges in the community by raising funds for community-service organisations working with our most vulnerable individuals and families, while also embedding a culture of giving in Canberra.
Community foundations are designed to provide permanent support through a perpetual endowment fund, which gives regular grants to those in most need.
"Hands Across Canberra encourages individuals to invest in the future of their community. The Foundation enables charities to access much needed funds and resources to protect the most vulnerable - now and in the future." Di Kargas Bray AM, Canberra Citizen of the Year and Chair of Hands Across Canberra.
Hands Across Canberra was launched to provide a simple way for Canberrans to adopt more regular habits with regard to philanthropy. Through the Hands Across Canberra portal Canberrans have a cost effective, flexible and financially secure vehicle to contribute to local charities. Hands Across Canberra helps to keep the wealth that is created locally within the local Canberra community.
There are currently over 250 charities and community service organisations who we engage, assist and support every day. We create campaigns to encourage philanthropy and make it easier for Canberrans to give - to the community as a whole or to their charity of choice - through the Foundation.
Hands Across Canberra is working to:
- Increase giving by making it easy for Canberrans to help other Canberrans
- Increase resources to build the capacity of community organisations
- Provide leadership and co-ordination for high impact solutions to community problems
- Celebrate the community spirit and generosity that exists and provide public recognition for the work of philanthropists and service providers
The Foundation aims to fill a range of gaps that exist in our community sector, including:
- providing a vehicle for people and businesses to easily and actively engage in philanthropic activities and partnerships to address the issues facing our community especially the really tough or unfashionable causes being addressed by the community sector;
- providing co-ordination and leadership by establishing a clear and long-term ambition that corporations, government, foundations, individuals and community organisations can engage with and which can assist in growing community connectedness;
- building a permanent endowment and generating increasing resources to meet Canberra's current and changing needs;
- building the capacity of donors and grant recipients to access and manage funds more effectively;
- opening up new forms and areas of social investment; and
- providing public recognition for the work of philanthropists, service providers and communities.
The Foundation aims to build on the existing range of supports for the community sector. It is not a substitute for government funding but rather a means of further broadening the funding base for the community sector.
The need in Canberra
The ACT is generally perceived as a relatively well-off community; however there are some concerning hidden realities about those with real need:
- 1 in 200 people are homeless, soaring 70% in the past five years to now be the second highest in Australia
- 1 in 7 households struggle to survive on a minimum income
- 1 in 4 young people will experience a mental health problem in any 12-month period
- 1 in 6 young people have caring responsibilities
- 1 in 25 people have severe or profound disabilities
While the government provides a range of services to these parts of our community, much of the assistance comes from community services organisations. These organisations need continued financial assistance to maintain and increase their capacity to address increasing demand. This is where Hands Across Canberra makes a difference; providing donated community funds to those organisations supporting Canberrans in need.