Gateways Support Services receives inaugural P500 grant

Gateways Support Services has received $22,500 after its success with the Geelong Community Foundation’s inaugural Philanthropy 500 (P500) grant vote.

The grant was announced on Friday 17 November at a function held at Eastern Hub.  P500 donors gathered to watch videos and listen to a pitch from the three shortlisted organisations in the running for this year’s grant, and to vote for which cause they would like to support.

Voting was close, with only six votes separating the three organisations – Gateways Support Services, Samaritan House and the Lazarus Community Centre.

Arnie Bax, who has been the Manager of Quality, Innovation and Service Development at Gateways Support Services for almost four years, said the vote outcome was quite emotional and unexpected.

“It’s always fantastic to be recognised for the hard work we all put in to support people with a disability and improve their quality of life –  and that the P500 donors believe in this as well,” he said.

Arnie said Gateways will use their grant to buy four specialised paediatric hi-lo beds for children who have complex medical needs – something they have needed for some time now.

The new beds will be used for the Boost4Kids respite program, which provides safe overnight out-of-home support for children and young people. The program gives Geelong families a well-deserved break from their caring role, knowing that they have access to appropriate overnight respite options that provide the necessary level of support and care required for their child’s needs.

“The new hi-lo beds will be safe and easy for staff to use. They will also increase accessibility for the children who can use the service, as we are currently limited by the beds that are available.”

Arnie said it was fantastic to share news of the grant with all of the staff involved in the program the following day.

“It was very fortuitous that we had a Boost4Kids weekend and Christmas party on Saturday, so we could tell the other staff from Gateways, Barwon Health and Genu, as well as the families,” said Arnie. “They were all very excited – particularly the mum who participated in the video!”

Chief Executive Officer of the Geelong Community Foundation Gail Rodgers said she was overwhelmed by how engaged the donors were in the three organisations’ presentations on the night.

“There were a number of questions in the Q&A session after each presentation. The donors were really on board, and then to follow that up with the actual vote process was fantastic,” she said.

“It was particularly interesting to watch the engagement between partners who were trying to decide who to vote for, especially when there wasn’t consensus!”

Gail said the Geelong Community Foundation Board would also provide Samaritan House and Lazarus Community Centre a $1,000 grant each in recognition of their application and shortlisting this year.

Become a donor for P500 in 2018

If you’d like to become a P500 donor in 2018, donate here.

Watch the video presentations

Gateways Support Services

Samaritan House

Lazarus Community Centre