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City of Melbourne offers $2 million annual charity investment

Applications for grants aimed at improving the social impacts around Victoria have opened

An annual $2 million investment by the City of Melbourne will provide not-for-profits, B Corporations and social enterprises with the means to create sustained social impacts.

The City of Melbourne’s Community Grants and Partnerships Framework program for community groups will allow for a more active role in responding to social issues. It is currently offering two year project funding grants from $15,000 to $80,000 per year.

People City portfolio Chair Councillor, Beverly Pinder, said that while prior community grants programs consistently achieved successful outcomes, “a new framework is a key part of our commitment to invest in areas that will have the highest social impact”.

Pinder added: “Melbourne is home to a great number of Australia’s philanthropic and charity headquarters and we’re determined to have a nimble and innovative program that responds to community needs.”

A key change to the framework will see the long-term community fund stream replaced with a Social Innovation Partnerships stream that will direct funding to initiatives that address social issues within the City of Melbourne.

Organisations that specialise in homelessness, youth, cultural diversity, ageing, drug and alcohol safety, international students, gender equity, health and the prevention of violence against women are encouraged to apply for the grants.

“There are 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, and this number is continuing to grow. Social enterprises often face financial barriers and this new framework will offer the local government support this sector needs,” Pinder said.

Managing Director of Social Traders, David Brookes, agreed that the local government support can provide social enterprises with the assistance they need.

“Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training, or help the environment,” Brookes said. “Like any trading business access to multiple sources of capital is essential – especially at an early stage.

“The City of Melbourne is showing positive leadership by creating support for Melbourne’s social enterprise centre, which has great potential in generating positive and sustainable social change in Victoria.”

Applications for the Social Innovation Partnerships open on Monday 19 November and close on Tuesday 16 January. For more information, click here.

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