funded projects

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).

Grants for Private Renters

Financial Counselling for Vulnerable Private Renters | February 2021

The Foundation has provided $1.17 million in grants to fund in-house financial counselling services for three years at:

  • Tenants Victoria

  • Tenants Queensland and

  • VERTO in New South Wales.

With temporary government income and rental support measures ending and sectors such as tourism and hospitality yet to recover from COVID impacts, the Financial Counselling Foundation has identified increased need for financial counselling services for vulnerable private renters.


Grants for Domestic and Family Violence Financial Counsellors

Domestic and Family Violence Financial Counsellor Grant for Zahra Foundation | September 2020

A grant of $100,000 has been made to the Zahra Foundation to provide financial counselling to women impacted by Domestic Family Violence (DFV) for the next two years. The grant will supplement other funding to ensure Zahra Foundation can continue to provide a financial counselling service. 


Eighty percent of Zahra Foundation’s budget is received through fundraising, but fundraising has been curtailed due to the impacts of the South Australian bushfires and COVID-19. The grant follows the funding earlier this year of 10 full-time specialist DFV financial counsellor positions around Australia for three years. This brings the total grants for this purpose to over $4 million.

Funding for the grant to the Zahra Foundation is from the Financial Counselling Foundation.


2016 Dina Sayers

2014 Phil Powell

Domestic and Family Violence Financial Counsellors around Australia | May 2020

The Financial Counselling Foundation is providing grants totalling $3.9million over three years to fund 10 specialist Financial Counsellors trained to deal with clients experiencing Domestic and Family Violence.


Impacts of COVID-19 including a rise in unemployment and ‘stay at home’ measures have led to a reported increase in domestic and family violence (DFV) and financial stress.  Financial counselling is a key support for women who experience DFV as financial stress and economic dependency can keep women in, or cause them to return to, abusive relationships.  In cases where a relationship has been exited, women may be left with debt or may experience ongoing economic abuse. 


Reflecting the Foundation’s approach of identifying clear needs or gaps in funding, one position will be funded in each of South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT and two positions will be funded in each of New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.  The Victorian Government is already funding 21 specialist family violence financial counsellors and the Foundation commends them on this. The Foundation hopes that these 10 one-off grants in other jurisdictions, will encourage those other Governments to make these new positions permanent after the Foundation’s funding ceases.


Funding is from the Foundation and a donation from ANZ of $250,000.


The Foundation conducted an Expression of Interest process with the objective of making specialist financial counselling more accessible to women who have experienced or are experiencing DFV.  Following that process, the grant recipients are: Women’s Legal Service NSW, South West Sydney Legal Centre, Care Financial Counselling Service, Women’s Legal Service Queensland, Central Australian Women’s Legal Service, Lutheran Community Care NT, Women’s Legal Service WA, Jacaranda Community Centre, Women’s Legal Service SA and Women’s Legal Service Tasmania.


Adding DFV Financial Counselling to the services available through women’s legal services - where up to 95 percent of clients experience domestic family violence - and to organisations in WA and NT with predominantly Aboriginal clients, will make financial counselling more accessible to women who have experienced or are experiencing DFV.


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.

Bridging Funding for Agencies Whose Funding was Unexpectedly Withdrawn

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.

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 five 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). 

  • 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.    


Assisting First Nations People

National Phone Financial Counselling Service | May 2020

The Foundation is providing a grant of $465,000 to Financial Rights Legal Centre (NSW) to employ a financial counsellor for three years and promote the new part of its service to First Nations people across Australia. 


Financial Rights Legal Centre (NSW) runs Money Mob Debt Help, an established national telephone service providing legal advice and assistance to First Nations people.  The addition of a financial counsellor to this service will improve access to financial counselling services in under-served areas.  Funding to promote the service will support take-up and usage through building awareness and trust within local communities.

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.

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.

Natural Disasters

Victorian Bushfires | May 2020

The Foundation provided a grant of $112,818.54 to Anglicare St Luke’s in Bendigo to go towards employing a financial counsellor to support people in the region affected by the 2019-20 bushfires.  

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.

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.

Specialist Financial Counselling

Australian Defence Force Personnel | March 2020

The Foundation has provided a grant of $130,000 to the Bravery Trust to deliver a financial counselling service to current and former Australian Defence Force personnel.  The funds came from the Foundation.

National Debt Helpline | April 2019 and February 2020

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.

A second 12 months of funding was approved in February 2020 to cover 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

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.