The Foundation has developed a set of funding principles that guide how it operates. The Foundation does not run an open grants round and similarly does not consider unsolicited requests for funding.
The Foundation does identify particular areas where it will focus its funding. These decisions are informed by knowledge of issues facing the financial counselling sector, consultation with relevant groups (such as the Representative Council of Financial Counselling Australia) and the Foundation's own research.
Current priorities include: prisons, increasing access for First Nations people, responding to natural disasters, and people receiving payments from the National Redress Scheme.
Grant recipients must be a fund, authority or institution which is charitable and gifts to which have DGR status (as per item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 97).
Specialist Financial Counselling
knowmore legal service | September 2018
Funding of $540,000 per annum for two years has been provided to knowmore legal service to employ financial counsellors. knowmore legal service is a community legal centre set up to assist victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. The service was established in 2013 in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
National Debt Helpline | April 2019
The National Debt Helpline is the phone financial counselling service. It is operated by 10 different organisations around Australia. Funding of $1,000,000 has been shared proportionately between them (based on call volumes) for 12 months (1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020). This will allow the services to continue current staffing levels. Without this funding, staff numbers would have reduced as previous funding from an ASIC community benefit payment was exhausted. Some funds have also been provided to Financial Counselling Australia to promote the NDH website. Call volumes to the NDH are increasing year on year.
Rural Financial Counselling | November 2018
Large parts of Australia are in drought. Funds of $520,000 have been shared between five rural financial counselling services to provide financial counselling to small businesses affected by the downturn. These rural financial counselling services are in Cooma, Dubbo, Roma, Longreach and Bairnsdale. The funds came from a $500K donation from ANZ, as well as the Foundation's funds.
Townsville Floods | April 2019
Townsville experienced a serious flood event in February 2019, affecting a large number of people and businesses. The Foundation is providing funding for two financial counselling positions for two years to help in the recovery effort ($520,000 in total). The positions are with UnitingCare Queensland and the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network. The funds came from a donation from ANZ ($50K), with additional funds from the Foundation.
2016 Dina Sayers
Assisting First Nations People
2014 Phil Powell
First Nations Outreach | July 2019
The Foundation is providing funding of $10,000 per annum for three years to 21 organisations that work predominantly with First Nations people in regional and remote Australia (total funding of $630,000). The grants will be used to support the costs associated with outreach services such as travel, accommodation, materials and in some case presenters. Many of the agencies will increase their outreach services or augment them with additional staffing or resources. A couple of agencies identified that their greatest need was funding to support additional training for their workers so that they can provide a more effective service.
Phone Financial Counselling Scoping project | September 2019
Financial counsellors have long recognised that First Nations people, particularly those located in regional and remote areas, are not receiving the support that other areas of Australia do. The Foundation has provided funding to research the need for financial counselling to help fill those gaps, looking particularly at a telephone service.
This research project involved interviews with key stakeholders and a workshop. Stakeholders involved included Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (Qld), Bara Barang Aboriginal Corporation (NSW), financial counsellors who work in remote communities, Financial Rights Legal Centre (NSW), which runs Money Mob Debt Help, a telephone service providing legal advice and assistance, and the Consumer Action Law Centre (Vic) which runs the Koorie Help Line. The project gathered a wealth of information and experience. Additional work will be done to refine a service delivery model.
This grant was auspiced through Financial Counselling Australia who engaged a consultant to run the project. The total amount is $35,000. Note: FCA has not received any funding for administering this project.
Bridging Funding for Agencies Whose Funding was Unexpectedly Withdrawn
Specialist services | September 2019
A number of agencies providing specialist financial counselling to particularly vulnerable groups lost federal government funding in 2018. The Foundation has provided funding of $130,000 to each of six agencies for 12 months to enable this valuable work to continue and give the agencies time to adjust.
The services to receive support are: Prisoners Legal Service (Qld), Centacare Catholic Country SA, Odyssey House (Vic), VincentCare Victoria, and Southern Youth & Family Services (NSW), [add WA legal funding agency].
Prisoners Legal Service (Qld) is the only community legal centre in Australia solely focused on providing specialist advice to people in prison. The service had for many years also employed a financial counsellor full-time, a job that was no longer funded under the new agreements. The Foundation’s grant means that the valuable work of providing face to face financial counselling casework, assisting either people in prison or who have recently been released from prison, will continue.
Centacare Catholic Country SA will use the money for face to face counselling case work, focusing on outreach and services to people in remote South Australia, particularly Frist Nation communities.
Odyssey House (Vic) will use the funding to continue delivering face to face financial counselling to people with issues arising from alcohol and drug addictions.
Vincent Care Victoria will use the grant money to continue delivering face to face financial counselling casework, with a focus on assisting those people at risk of, or already experiencing, homelessness.
Southern Youth & Family Services (NSW) will use the grant to deliver face to face financial counselling casework, with a focus on assisting young people, particularly those at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness.
Prisoners Legal Service will use the grant to deliver face to face financial counselling casework, with a focus on assisting people in prison or people who have recently been released from prison.
Financial Counsellors Association of Western Australia (FCAWA) | November 2019
Financial counsellors regularly require access to legal support and information to work out the best strategies for advocating for their clients. The Foundation has provided a grant to FCAWA of $130,000 for 12 months so it can continue to employ a solicitor to support financial counsellors in Western Australia.
The work will include:
support to financial counsellors including through professional development via webinars and face to face training
information papers and guidance for financial counsellors on relevant topics and
legal advice to financial counsellors as necessary.
Prison project | November 2019
This project seeks to research an effective way to provide financial counselling support to people in prisons to stop the financial harm that is often a consequence of being incarcerated. People in prison cannot effectively manage their financial obligations and therefore often leave prison facing significant debt and hardship, increasing the risk of recidivism and other negative consequences. The project “Fostering financial stability for people in prison” will analyse the financial counselling work already being offered in prisons and look into ways to improve the service model to ensure people leave prison in a financially stable position.
The aim of the project is to:
develop a clearer understanding of the risks and what works for existing prison programs with regard to improving financial stability; and
provide recommendations for how existing programs that support people to leave prison in a financially stable position can be less complicated to develop, implement and resource and therefore be more effective.
The project will involve reviewing the successes and failures of existing projects, map corrections systems nationally, conduct interviews with people who have been imprisoned and also prison staff and run workshops, among other things. By working closely with people with lived experience of being or working in prison, the project will offer new insights for developing effective programs.
This project is auspiced through Financial Counselling Australia who have appointed Thriving Communities Partnership to deliver the project. Funding is for $200,000 over 18 months. Note: FCA has not received any funding for administering this project.