Frequently Asked Questions
About the Foundation
- Grants funds to hundreds of small organisations nationally that provide valuable community services to break down social isolation and alleviate the impact of poverty on individuals and families.
- Provides a unique Tertiary Scholarship Program specifically for young people who have lived in out-of-home-care arrangements such as foster care or group homes, and are financially disadvantaged. It is the only scholarship in Australia that targets this growing group of young people, now estimated to be more than 40,000 nationally.
- Invested in the purchase and renovation of a residential building, now known as Providence House, that provides a safe place for displaced asylum seekers until they can access more formal channels of assistance. The home also provides food, basic health care, help learning English and employment opportunities (for those allowed to work). The Foundation takes care of the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of Providence House.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation relies on the generous support of its donors. One-off donations – as well as partnerships with individuals, families and organisations who donate on a regular basis – enables the Foundation to deliver its many life-changing programs.
The Foundation also welcomes bequests and workplace giving commitments to help better plan for the future. With guaranteed funds in place the Foundation can expand its programs and develop its charitable activities with confidence.
Donations of two dollars or more to the Sisters of Charity Foundation are tax deductible. For more information and to donate visit here.
Zero per cent of funds donated go towards our administration and operational costs. We guarantee that 100% of every dollar you donate goes directly towards the program you intended it for – our Community Grants Program, Tertiary Scholarship Program, or Asylum Seeker Housing Program.
There are costs associated with running an organisation effectively. However, thanks to a grant provided by the Sisters of Charity of Australia when the Foundation was launched, the Sisters of Charity Foundation is able to self-fund its own low administration costs in perpetuity. This means we are able to direct 100% of every donation to the project it was intended for.
We guarantee that 100% of every dollar you donate goes directly to helping people in need.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation provides financial support for community projects that are selected according to strict funding guidelines. All Community Grant Program applications go through a due diligence process which confirms the organisation's ABN, ITE and DGR Item 1 status, levels of other funding received and the reputation of the applicant organisation.
Once financial support is given, the Sisters of Charity Foundation maintains a regular dialogue with the Community Grant Program recipient; undertakes site visits; and receives regular progress reports, testimonials and photos to ensure funds are used as designated and that positive results are achieved.
- Our Community Grants Program helps community service organisations that are unlikely to receive adequate funding from other sources but still offer invaluable, hands-on support to kids and young people at risk, people suffering from poverty or disadvantage, people with a lived experience of disability, elderly Australians, Indigenous Australians, refugees and asylum seekers, people experiencing homelessness, people suffering from substance abuse and addiction, or people with a lived experience of incarceration.
- Our Tertiary Scholarship Program helps young people with an out-of-home-care background, such as time spent living in foster care or group homes.
- Our Asylum Seekers Housing Program helps asylum seekers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
- Our Anti-Slavery Housing Program helps survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking who are ready to move into transitional housing.
Every year the Sisters of Charity Foundation is able to make a difference to thousands of people across the country with funds generously donated by compassionate Australians. We support initiatives that benefit the disadvantaged, marginalised and socially isolated people in our community, no matter their gender, ethnicity, age or ability.
Eligibility for the Community Grants Program and Tertiary Scholarship Program is not determined by religion.
Every person deserves dignity and hope – and to believe that their life matters, because simply put, it does.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation was founded in March 2000 by the Sisters of Charity of Australia Congregation to promote their mission, specifically in the service of the poor and those who have ‘fallen through the cracks’. Today, with its partners, the Sisters of Charity Foundation endeavours to respond as the founder of the Sisters of Charity, Mary Aikenhead, did to the emerging needs of the poor and marginalised.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation Board of Trustees is responsible for proper governance of the Foundation, making sure it is achieving what it was set up to do.
The Board is comprised of 10 experienced men and women who are passionate about the Foundation's vision for society, who volunteer their time and skill to the organisation. For more information on each current member of the Sisters of Charity Foundation Board, please see Governance.
How the Sisters of Charity Foundation Helps
Community Grants Program
The Foundation provides grants of up to $15,000 for community based projects that benefit disadvantaged, marginalised and socially isolated people. However, every Community Grant Application is first assessed by our Grants Allocation Committee that decides how much to provide each project based on its details and purpose.
There are two grant rounds – in March and September – each year. Applications for the March grant round open 1 February and close 31 March. Applications for the September grant round open 1 August and close 30 September. For more information on the application process and forms please see applying for grants.
For a detailed explanation of Community Grant Program eligibility requirements, please see our guidelines: Eligibility for Grants.
While there are plenty of government-funded initiatives and larger charity organisations that help many people in our society, numerous smaller organisations are forgotten and overlooked. They don’t fit the right criteria for existing funding opportunities, so we do what we can to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks.
Our Community Grants Program supports charities and organisations that help:
- Kids and young people at risk
- People suffering from poverty or disadvantage
- People with a lived experience of disability
- Elderly Australians
- Indigenous Australians
- Refugees and asylum seekers
- People experiencing homelessness
- People suffering from substance abuse and addiction
- People with a lived experience of incarceration
The Foundation has provided more than $8,000,000 to 850+ projects since 2000. For example, in the 2014-2015 financial year the Sisters of Charity Foundation funded 75 projects and distributed $540,000 to various community organisations.
For more information on past projects funded by the Sisters of Charity Foundation please visit here.
Currently, the Sisters of Charity Foundation does not support overseas projects and programs. The Foundation's priority is to fund locally based projects and programs that assist those living with poverty and disadvantage in Australia.
Tertiary Scholarship Program
The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program commenced in 2012 to help young people living in out-of-home-care arrangements.
The vast majority of these young people lack the emotional and financial support that most of us take for granted, and are among the most disadvantaged in our community. Less than 3% of young people who live in foster care, group homes, or other out-of-home-care arrangements have the opportunity to attend university or TAFE, compared to around 40% of youth from a stable home environment.
Our scholarships are designed with maximum flexibility in mind to best support these students in their chosen field of study.
Currently the Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program is in place at The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, Australian Catholic University, The University of Notre Dame, Western Sydney University, the University of NSW, The University of Melbourne, and Deakin University. We also have TAFE scholarship students at the following NSW locations: Eora, Petersham, and Randwick; and The Gordon in Geelong, Victoria.
Scholarship recipients are obliged to complete the course for which they sought the scholarship and must maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout. This means the recipient must pass all their courses and maintain a reasonable workload in each semester of study. The recipient may also be required to submit a progress report at the end of each academic year, outlining the progress of study undertaken during the tenure of the scholarship.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program is the only scholarship program in Australia that targets young people who live in out of home care, a growing group estimated at more than 40,000 nationally.
Unfortunately, less than 3% of young people who live in foster care, group homes or other out-of-home-care arrangements move into tertiary education, compared to approximately 40% of young people in the general population. Many become caught in a cycle of disadvantage and lose access to both education and much needed learning support.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation is determined to turn that around by continuously developing and expanding our Tertiary Scholarship Program. We believe this particular group of young people deserves a second chance, and that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Asylum Seekers Housing Program
Many asylum seekers have fled from highly unstable and traumatic circumstances. Most arrive with little more than the clothes on their back; they don’t know anyone and don’t know where to find the help they need.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation invested in the purchase and renovation of a residential building, now known as Providence House, that provides a safe place for displaced asylum seekers until they can access more formal channels of assistance. In addition to a roof over their heads, the home provides food, basic health care, help learning English, and employment opportunities for those allowed to work.
The Foundation is pleased to work in partnership with the Asylum Seekers Centre to provide essential transitional support to some of the most disadvantaged people in the community who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Access to safe, quality housing is a basic human need and fundamental to helping traumatised people make a new start. The Sisters of Charity Foundation decided to provide a real and lasting benefit to a group of people who are some of the most disadvantaged living among us. Safe and secure accommodation for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless is crucial to helping asylum seekers build a new life. The Foundation believes investing in such a life changing legacy project was an appropriate and fitting way to mark the 175-year anniversary of the Sisters of Charity in Australia.
After extensive consultation with Homelessness NSW, the Foundation decided to approach the Asylum Seekers Centre to develop a housing partnership that would provide relief to a great many people over the years.
Every year thousands of asylum seekers obtain refuge in Australia. Most arrive with nothing, know no one and are deeply traumatised by the circumstances of their displacement. In the last year alone, the Asylum Seekers Centre provided over 16,654 accommodation nights. With 80% of its clients arriving homeless or about to become homeless, demand for housing is much greater than the Asylum Seekers Centre can currently meet.
The Foundation's gift enables the Centre to better meet that demand and provide safe, high quality accommodation.
Anti-Slavery Housing Program
The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day in 2016, around 15,000 people were living in slavery-like conditions (often referred to as 'modern slavery') in Australia. Precise figures for victims are difficult to obtain because of the secretive nature of the problem.
Examples of modern slavery in Australia include: migrant workers being paid minimal wages and working long hours, a child bride being forced to marry by her family, fruit-pickers isolated and underpaid on rural farms, backpackers fulfilling their farm work visa requirements being taken advantage of... sadly there are countless stories.
Human trafficking is just one example of modern slavery, and involves the transportation or recruitment of people for the sole purpose of exploitation. Victims may have been forced or coerced by those committing the offence.
According to the Australian Federal Police, Australia is primarily a destination country for people trafficked from Asia, particularly Thailand, Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.
When a survivor of modern slavery or human trafficking is ready to start on the journey towards independence, the Anti-Slavery Housing Program can help them set up a permanent home in a location of their choice.
The Foundation provides funding for each client’s rental bond, a significant portion of their rent, a one-off set-up cost for furniture and other necessities, as well as support services and program administration. Our partner, The Salvation Army, works with clients to find suitable accommodation that is affordable as well as accessible for work and transport, then provides case management and support to ensure the clients are managing their tenancy, eventually transitioning the lease to the client so they can live independently.