P500 is philanthropy for everyone

Philanthropy 500 (P500) seeks donations of $500 from individuals and organisations. The donations are pooled to provide a new community grant and also to create and add to annually a fund within the Foundation that will ensure longevity of the program.

The 2018 grant theme is ‘youth’ decided via a vote from the P500 donors. As a P500 donor you are heavily involved in the process of grant making, a fantastic and rewarding program. Applications were received from organisations working either exclusively in youth services or offering youth-based programs as part of their broader work within the City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliffe, Surf Coast Shire and southern part of Golden Plains.

Applications were reviewed by the Grant Review Committee consisting of members from the Geelong Community Foundation Grants Committee, P500 Committee and two P500 donors.  Applications were assessed in-line with existing Foundation policy and grant criteria. Three organisations have been shortlisted to pitch for the $40,000 grant.

The P500 donor pitch event will be held on the 21st November. Donors will have the opportunity to ask questions after each organisations pitch and then they will cast their vote. The successful recipient of the $40,000 grant will be announced on the night.

Meet applicant number 1 ‘Barwon Child, Youth and Family(BCYF)’

An independent, not for profit community service organisation committed to supporting the Foster Carer Recruitment and Retention Project. The project aims to increase the number of foster care places available for vulnerable children and young people in the Barwon Region and foster their healthy social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. The objectives are twofold: to increase the number of foster carers and enhance the stability of foster care placements.

BCYF collaborates with partners to deliver evidence based prevention, early intervention and treatment programs. Six service platforms are in place to address the needs of BCYF clients; Early Years, Family and Community, Out-of-Home Care (OOHC), Youth, Specialist Intervention and Headspace.

How the P500 grant would be used:

The objectives of the program will be achieved by the development and implementation of an evidence based foster carer recruitment and retention campaign with three key cornerstones:

  • The implementation of an evidence based marketing campaign that will prioritise targeting the right audience, addressing the barriers to recruitment, foster care attrition and placement breakdown, key messaging, dispelling common fears of foster carers and addressing key information needs
  • The recruitment of a 0.6EFT Foster Carer Advocate to advocate for the needs of foster carers and bring the foster carer’s voice to the forefront of operations. This person will harness the voice of foster carers, bringing the experience and advice of foster carers into the service delivery model and advocate for foster carers.
  • The recruitment of a 1.0 EFT Foster Carer Support Worker to provide practical/logistical placement support. This may include transporting children to/from school and after school recreational activities providing occasional care in instances where foster carers and unable to provide unanticipated care when a child leaves school early. Foster carers that are supported leads to increased recruitment to increased placements.

BCYF is funded by Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) to provide staffing to support placements including four caseworkers. When BCYF achieves more placements than it is funded for (48 children & young people), DHHS funds BCYF according to the number of children placed. Increased funding from DHHS would provide in part the necessary capital to pay for ongoing resources to continue to successfully recruit and retain foster carers and therefore increase the number of and stability of placements.

The Geelong Community Foundation’s Philanthropy 500 $40,000 grant as well as an additional $120,000 from another income stream, the project and its benefits will be sustained beyond the Foundation funding period.


Meet applicant number 2 ‘Good Cycles.’

Good Cycles is a bicycle-based social enterprise that uses bikes as a ‘vehicle’ to create meaningful and lasting opportunities for vulnerable youth and communities in need.

Good Cycles run engagement and education programs as well as operating a range of commercial enterprises. These include two bike shops, consumer bike mechanic training, maintenance services for Melbourne Bike Share and other mobility services for local councils and businesses. All profits are reinvested into creating new employment opportunities for at risk youth and their social programs, supporting their mission in providing training, work experience and employment for young people.

After five years of operation, Good Cycles is commercially successful with 80% of revenue coming from their commercial enterprises and remaining 20% through grants and fundraising. Recently the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) invited Good Cycles to Geelong.

The P500 grant would develop the Geelong Pedal Empowerment Program (PEP), a bicycle education and vocational training program to engage at-risk youth in bicycle riding and bicycle maintenance. The aim of transitioning young people into further education and employment.

The objectives of the PEP are to:

  • Deliver 3 x 8-week Introduction to Bicycles courses.
  • Work with 30 at-risk youth from the Greater Geelong region. Taking them through bicycle education, bicycle mechanical training, employability skills and an employment pathway.
  • Build strong relationships with job services and employers in Greater Geelong to build supported employment pathways for our young people.
  • Establish a Community Bike Hub in Little Malop Street for commuters to access bike maintenance courses and link our young people to the wider cycling community.
  • Evaluate the success of the program.

Good Cycles will partner with Victoria Police, Youth Justice, Whitelion, Leisure Networks and CoGG to tailor the program for youth on corrections orders, transitioning out of foster care and those struggling with mental health issues.

Meet applicant number 3 ‘Winchelsea Community House.’

Winchelsea Community House is a local Community House situated in the small rural town of Winchelsea. The Community House has been in operation for 40 years and has sponsored the Winchelsea Youth Leisure Drop In (WYLD) since late 2017.

WYLD has outgrown the space at the Community House and is seeking their own building. The P500 grant would be used to purchase and install a prefabricated building for WYLD. Hesse Rural Health are a public health service in the town of Winchelsea and are offering an appropriate site to locate the building, close to a sporting oval with access to water, power and toilets. The building will include a portable water supply and a kitchen to support WYLD’s focus on food preparation and nutrition, space for games and a large wall-mounted television for movies.  It will also be located near accessible storage space owned by Hesse Rural Health.

WYLD is a facilitated, self-directed group which enables Winchelsea’s youth to connect and engage, everyone is welcome. WYLD’s vision is to have its own place where youth can have fun, maintain friendships and develop skills and community connections.

WYLD operates weekly, guided by two leaders, one having a formal qualification in youth work and the other considerable experience and training in guiding. The young people have developed a program of social, education, skills development and leisure activities.

There is a long standing commitment within the community to improve opportunities for youth. Compared to the Shire and State, Winchelsea has a high proportion of single parent families, high percentage of people in the lowest 25% of income, low rate of completion of year 12, low rate of tertiary qualifications, high unemployment and a low proportion of young people who have completed year 12 or equivalent.

WYLD is a true community initiative and has exceptional partnership support from Winchelsea Football & Netball club, Winchelsea Lions Club, Growing Winchelsea Inc., Winchelsea IGA, Winchelsea Anglican church, Winchelsea Branch of the Bendigo Bank and Winchelsea Police.