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 and the Foundation's own research.
Current priorities include: prisons, increasing access for First Nations people, increasing access for women who have experienced or are at risk of domestic and family violence and vulnerable private renters.
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
Self-represented Debtors I March 2022
A grant of $234,000 over three years to the Financial Rights Legal Centre will fund financial counselling three days a week to people facing bankruptcy proceedings without legal representation in the Federal Court, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in Sydney. The financial counselling service will assist self-represented debtors to understand bankruptcy proceedings so they are better able to determine their rights and make good decisions in presenting their cases.
Financial Counsellor Wellbeing
Financial Counsellor Wellbeing | September 2020 - 2022
In September 2020 a grant of $19,580 was made to Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) on behalf of the State and Territory financial counselling associations, to engage not-for-profit employee assistance provider, Access EAP to support the wellbeing of financial counsellors across Australia. Financial counsellors respond to clients experiencing trauma due to financial stress and are themselves subject to stress and at risk of vicarious trauma. In addition, many financial counsellors have had to work from home due to COVID-19, so are without the in-person social interaction and peer support that their usual workplaces would provide. The opportunities for financial counsellors to connect and receive support vary greatly depending on their circumstances. Access EAP provides an additional support for the wellbeing of financial counsellors during a time of increased stress.
In September 2021 a new grant of $25,000 was made to Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) on behalf of the State and Territory financial counselling associations, for the continued engagement of Access EAP to support the wellbeing of financial counsellors across Australia.
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 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
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.
Domestic and Family Violence Financial Counsellor Grant for Micah Projects | June 2022
A grant of $260,000 to Micah Projects will fund financial counselling to clients of the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service. The grant will enable the service to women who have experienced DFV to continue for another two years once current funding ends on 30 June 2022. Two years will also allow Micah Projects time to find another source of funding.
Social Impact Evaluation I June 2022
A grant of $72,273 to the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW will fund a social impact evaluation of the financial counselling services established in five agencies around Australia with grants from the Financial Counselling Foundation. The evaluation will assess the impacts of the financial counselling service on clients’ financial stability and wellbeing, whether clients benefitted from working with other professionals such as lawyers within the service and the impacts on the organisation of including financial counselling services.
Funding comprises a $60,000 grant from the Ecstra Foundation and $12,273 from the Financial Counselling Foundation.
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.
Assisting First Nations People
Financial Counselling in Remote Indigenous Communities | November 2021
The Foundation is providing a grant of $658,000 to the Earth Garden Foundation to fund financial counselling in 12 remote Indigenous communities in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. Working with local Ranger groups, the financial counselling service will be delivered face-to-face by Broome-based Bush Money Mob for two and a half years from April 2022.
The area to be covered takes in parts of the Gibb River area, Fitzroy River Valley and the Great Sandy Desert. Communities that will be visited have either very limited access or no access to face-to-face financial counselling due to their very remote locations. Face-to-face delivery is important as it builds trust and makes the service more effective. Communication is challenging in very remote communities and many processes key to resolving debt and money issues take longer.
Part of the funding will be used to evaluate the social impacts of the financial counselling service.
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.
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.