Positive impact through social projects
Melbourne Period Project
Melbourne, VIC

Our Social Investment Grants Program are annual grants administered in conjunction with the Community Enterprise Foundation. Each year, we determine the area in which the grants will generate the most impact.

In 2017 it will be aimed at building resilience and capability for people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence.

To find out more about our grants program, including whether your organisation is eligible, read more below.

How are the grants funded?

Our grants pool is funded by Community Sector Banking contributing 50% net profit earned on Social Investment Deposit Accounts. Social Investment Deposit Account holders can also choose to donate 50% or 100% of the interest earned on their account to the grants program.

How are the grants governed?

Community Sector Banking manages the Social Investment Grants Program, and an independent Grants Advisory Committee (made up of representatives from Community Sector Banking, our shareholders and the not-for-profit sector) determines the theme and that year’s successful applicants. The grants are administered and dispersed through Bendigo Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation, in partnership with Community Sector Banking.


For enquiries regarding our Social Investment Grants Program criteria, contact the Community Enterprise Foundation on 1300 304 541 or email us at

Applications for the 2017 Social Investment Grants Program have now closed.
Melbourne Period Project
2017 grants theme

The theme for our 2017 grants program is building resilience and capability for people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence. $200,000 was available for not-for-profits to apply for across two categories.

Category 1: 4 x $25,000 grants available

Category 2: 2 x $50,000 grants available

Applications for this year’s program are now closed. Sign up below for updates about this year’s successful recipients, and next year’s program.

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Here are some popular questions. Still can’t find what you’re after?
Contact the Community Enterprise Foundation on 1300 304 541

• Applicants must be not-for-profit organisations
• They are not required to have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status
• Activities that the grants support should be completed by the end of 2018
• Grants are only available for projects that benefit communities within Australia
• Community Sector Banking customers are encouraged to apply, but this is not a criteria
• Confirmation of other funding sources is encouraged

When applications are open, you will need to apply online through our website. Applications will be requested to demonstrate:
• The extent to which they generate value
• The extent to which they build resilience and capability
• How the grant will build capacity within the organisation to deliver the project or program sustainably
• How many people will be directly assisted

Yes, you can still apply, so long as your organisation is classified as a not-for-profit by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

The Supporting Documentation Checklist in the application form outlines all documentation required for an application. You must provide full copies of original project quotes and financial statements.

Yes. Grants will not be awarded for ongoing operating costs, capital works, housing capital, research or policy development, overseas projects, retrospective requests or scholarships.

We had an overwhelming response to last year’s Social Investment Grants program, which focused on reducing homelessness. Homelessness is still a persistent and growing problem across Australia and people who have experienced domestic and family violence make up a large percentage of those seeking homelessness services.

Please contact the Community Enterprise Foundation if you have any other questions about the application process.

2016 homelessness grant

Grant recipients were announced on 5 August 2016 and the focus was reducing homelessness. While the economic cost of sleeping rough can be up to $27,000 for an individual each year, the personal impact can be harder to quantify. Homelessness makes accessing training and educational opportunities difficult, leaving people exposed to long-term unemployment and severe health issues. It also excludes people from participating in social and economic opportunities in their communities. The cycle of homelessness can be impossible to break without support and intervention.

2016 - Category 1
Category one grants of up to $20,000 each have been awarded to five recipients:

Byron Community Centre,
Byron Bay, NSW

The grant will be used to develop a six week barista and hospitality training program to support women out of homelessness. The project, Connect Coffee, will operate from their social enterprise coffee shop. Graduates will be supported to find paid employment in the Byron/Ballina shires.

Meals @ the Bridge Lifeline,
Northeast Victoria

The grant will help establish the Eagles Farm project located in Northeast Victoria. The project will allow 40 participants experiencing homelessness from both metropolitan and rural areas, an opportunity to address the root cause of their homelessness whilst developing practical farming and trade skills.

Hutt Street Centre,
Adelaide, SA

Hutt St Centre are using their grant to transform a dilapidated shed into an education and employment hub for the city’s homeless population. The Shed Your Feathers initiative will give many of the 1,300 people experiencing homelessness in Adelaide the opportunity to learn skills in sewing and clothing design.

Suited to Success
Brisbane, QLD

The grant will support a program for 30 unemployed people in Brisbane who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Steps to Work program will address stress management, develop self-esteem, communication skills and build employability skills. Participants will also take part in two styling sessions and receive interview suitable outfits to keep.

The Gay and Lesbian Foundation of Australia,

In collaboration with Transgender Victoria, Launch Housing, and Drummond Street Services, this project will develop a model of care to support trans and gender diverse people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. The model will focus on specific improvements in knowledge, attitudes and skills that would be more inclusive.

2016 - Category 2
The category two grant of $50,000 was awarded to:

Youth Projects, Melbourne,

Youth Projects in Melbourne received a $50,000 grant to fund the Dining Room Project, which tackles the issues of food insecurity and poor health that people experiencing homelessness often face. The funds will provide fresh produce, a nutritionist and training in grocery budgeting skills in the newly renovated dining room space in Hosier Lane. The program will see food prepared by participants be shared together, eating at a table, with cutlery, based on choice and dignity rather than dependence and helplessness. New pathways into housing and employment will also be explored over dinner with peer mentors.

2016 - Category 3
The category three grant of $50,000 was awarded to:

HoMie, Melbourne,

HoMie successfully crowdfunded on to match fund the $50,000 grant from Community Sector Banking providing a total of $101,955.37 for their Pathway Project. HoMie, The Ladder Foundation and Cotton On have teamed up to provide a structured pathway out of homelessness for young people. The retail training and employment program will run for 12 months, and will see six young people experiencing homelessness housed by Ladder, trained as retail workers by HoMie and employed by Cotton On upon successful graduation. The participants will be provided with education & vocational training, financial assistance, employment and social support throughout the program.

2015 disability grants

Announced on 23 July 2015 the focus was on projects and programs that benefit people with a disability. Just under one in five Australians – or 4.2 million individuals – have a disability, and Community Sector Banking sought to support the vital work that not-for-profits do to help these people.

From 127 applicants, nine not-for-profit organisations were awarded grants totalling $100,000. The successful grantees and their projects are:

2015 grant recipients

Araluen House,
Imagining Better Housing Support

Araluen will facilitate workshops for families who have adult children with intellectual disabilities, to help parents start the planning process towards independent living. A parallel project will give four people with a disability a trial at independent living in a share house arrangement.

Cora Barclay Centre,
WHISPA Youth Mentoring Program

For deaf children – particularly those whose deafness was not diagnosed at birth, and hence missed out on early intervention therapy – the transition to adolescence can cause social isolation, mental health issues and low self-esteem. The WHISPA Youth Mentoring Program seeks to redress this, by holding workshops on diverse topics that help each teenager build their skills and find their passions.

Disability Information Advocacy Services Inc.,
Self-Advocacy and Rights Training

People with intellectual disabilities who live in group homes or attend day programs have similar rights to everyone else in the community. Yet many have not been taught how to stand up for themselves. The self-advocacy and rights training provided by DIAS enables these people to make more informed choices about the way they live their lives.

Holden Street Neighbourhood House,
Health Life Skills:Cooking Basics

Many people with a disability have never learned the basics of healthy food choices and meal preparation. Cooking Basics is a weekly cooking group that will cover skills such as shopping to a budget, preparing healthy meals and storing food safely. The goal is to empower people with a disability to make healthier food choices.

Women’s Circus,
Train the Trainer: Deaf Women in Circus

Members of Melbourne’s deaf community will have the opportunity to join a unique circus program thanks to Women’s Circus. Opening the door to circus programs will boost the skills and confidence of deaf young people and adults, enhancing their self-image and breaking down communication barriers.

Jobs South West,
Training and Community Services

Equipping people with fundamental life skills is the core focus of the LIONS program offered by Jobs South West. It will help people with a disability to gain confidence, improve communication and learn how to navigate issues like cyber safety, social media, telecommunications and cold callers.

Sing & Grow Australia,
Music Therapy Project

Music therapy has been shown to stimulate brain function, alleviate early trauma and more. Sing & Grow Australia is running a new music program specifically designed for blind and low-vision infants and children that will reach up to 40 children and their families.

Kids Plus Foundation,
Kids Plus Assistive Technology Hub

Many children with neurological disabilities like Cerebral Palsy cannot communicate without the help of a special device. Yet matching the right device to the child’s needs takes time and requires in-depth testing. The Kids Plus Assistive Technology Hub will have a permanent supply of different devices, so children and their families can easily trial devices.

Windgap Foundation,
Making Airwaves

The Making Airwaves project will give 24 intellectually disabled men and women the opportunity to get their voices heard on radio. Together, they will plan and produce four radio shows, developing their broadcasting skills and gaining new confidence along the way.

2014 financial inclusion grants

In 2014 Community Sector Banking awarded six not-for-profit organisations across the country with grants between $5,000 and $10,000 each, totalling $50,000, to deliver programs improving financial inclusion for disadvantaged people. Financial literacy is such an important life skill that is often overlooked. Our aim is to help not‐for‐profits create opportunities for marginalised people, empowering them with the knowledge and skills of financial management. And in turn, assisting families and communities to prosper.

2014 grant recipients

Doncare Community Services
The Smart Consumer Guide for Manningham
Melbourne, VIC

Doncare created their popular Smart Consumer Guide for low income earners in the Manningham community in 2009. Since the Guide’s launch much has changed, including the challenges of living in a changing fiscal climate. Doncare’s grant is being used to completely revamp and improve the publication, covering information on managing money, community learning and support services.

Junction Australia
Future Pathways Project
Adelaide, SA

The Future Pathways Project provides 30 young homeless people aged 18 to 25 with skills in short and long-term personal goal setting, managing money and budgeting. Money management courses and financial
counselling sessions for disadvantaged young people helps set them on positive future pathways to independent living.

Christian Community Aid
Know Your Money Financial Counselling Project
Eastwood, NSW

Know Your Money assists individuals and groups in the areas of financial knowledge and how to acquire every day budgeting skills through face-to-face casework, referrals and advocacy. Community education is also a focus, providing methods and practices in handling and budgeting money, debts and loans.

Bendigo Family & Financial Services (BFFS)
Debt Consolidation Project
Bendigo, VIC

The BFFS debt consolidation project provides low income earners with access to safe credit, without the burden of fees and interest charges. Eligible clients are able to consolidate their outstanding debts, to a maximum of $5,000, to be repaid within 36 months.

Palm Beach Neighbourhood Centre
Young and Wise Project
Palm Beach, QLD

The Young and Wise project delivers financial literacy workshops to young people under the age of 25, who are primarily in transitional and youth accommodation and schools for those who are disadvantaged or marginalised. These workshops, presented by skilled facilitators, are being provided to up to 96 young people, empowering them with financial literacy skills to transition to independence.

WIRE Women’s Information
Women in Financial Control Workshops
Melbourne, VIC

This project supports women who are vulnerable to or have experienced financial abuse to take control of their financial decision-making, by educating financial professionals to assist them. A three and a half hour workshop was developed with content specific to the finance sector on identifying financial abuse in the context of family violence.

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