Grant distribution time is one of the most rewarding things we get to do at StreetSmart – after all, getting funds to where they are needed most is our raison d’être. This month, DineSmart has powered 60 community grants.
After so much hard work by so many people – the overtime, the last minute freak-outs that are inevitable in campaign planning – we know it is worth it when grant time comes around.
During the 2016 DineSmart campaign, restaurants and patrons put their money where their values are and raised a whopping $250,058 to help end the cycle of homelessness.
Not only that, our ongoing partnership with Australian Communities Foundation and has multiplied impact with our ‘Collective’ Matched Giving Initiative. This resulted in the DineSmart grant pool increasing to $300,158.
We have just wrapped up distributing these funds to vital grassroots community organisations, and thought we should share the good news, and the good work these organisations are doing. Sixty stories are a few too many to share – so here is a small snapshot of the initiatives DineSmart grants have helped to support this year:
Open Canvas is a celebration of creativity, and proof that if talent is given a chance to flourish wonderful things can happen. Open Canvas work with people from a range of backgrounds. Some have lived on the street, some have experienced substance abuse and addiction, and some are struggling on low incomes and are trapped in a cycle of crisis accommodation. Artists benefit from mentoring and guidance from professional artists to take their art to the next level, and receive the supplies they need to keep creating, sharing and earning. Through exhibiting their work, and selling merchandise, artists can start to earn an income from their work. This year, StreetSmart is supporting Open Canvas to spread the word about their online store – and get more customers using their purchasing power to change lives.
Wombat Housing provides front-line, including special support, for young people. With a focus on supporting culturally and linguistically diverse young people, Wombat Housing helps to secure housing, and provides essentials like furniture, white goods, and bedding. Filling a pantry, or purchasing things like pots and pans are getting harder to cover as funding to the sector shrinks. StreetSmart funding has helped to fill the gap, and create packages for young people that cover these basics.
The Crows Nest is a humble community centre in regional NSW. Their mission is to provide high quality support to aged people, or those with a disability, to keep living independently. By offering services like meals on wheels, transport, linen services, and assistance with shopping, the Crows Nest makes staying at home possible. With a little support for StreetSmart the Crow’s Nest can keep proving practical needs – as Denise Ward, CEO, Crows Nest Centre, said, this grant means “a shower, a clean towel, a hot meal, assistance to get through winter.”
One of the greatest risk factors for women and children, at risk of homelessness, is domestic violence. The Safe Futures women’s refuges are a critical safety net to women and children in crisis, and keeping residents safe is mission number one. This requires security equipment that is reliable and functional, but unfortunately is also costly, and not terribly attractive to many funders. Safe Futures have been in need of new security equipment for some time, and have been unable to meet this cost alone. With the StreetSmart grant, this basic safety measure can now be replaced, leaving Safe Futures to do what they do best, and keep their staff and clients safe.