Positive impact through social projects
Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre
Lismore, NSW

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.

Last year, we received an overwhelming number of applications highlighting the immense need for more funding in the homelessness and domestic abuse sectors. That’s why in 2018 the theme was again “Building resilience and capability in people experiencing homelessness or domestic abuse” with total grant pool of $300,000 available.

To find out more about our grants program, including key dates, and 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) selects 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’s requirements or your application, contact the Community Enterprise Foundation on 1300 304 541 or email

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2018 grants - building resilience and capability in people experiencing homelessness or domestic abuse

Grant recipients for our 2018 grant round were announced on 9 August 2018.

While the human impacts are almost immeasurable, the cost of homelessness and domestic abuse is escalating. PwC estimates that violence against women costs $21.7 billion each year with victims bearing most of the burden. Governments bear the second largest cost of $7.8 billion per year. Meanwhile for homelessness, it is estimated that the cost is around $27,000 per person, per year, with costs increasing the longer someone experiences homelessness. These statistics, combined with the overwhelming number of applications we received in 2017, show the immense need to address domestic abuse. That’s why in 2018, our Social Investment Grants Program again focussed on domestic abuse and homelessness.

Programs and projects that focus on prevention and intervention were also eligible.

2018 grants
Not-for-profits could apply for grants of up to $25,000 or up to $50,000

3Bridges Community, NSW

A $50,000 grant will help the Care and Share project support older women at risk of homelessness with training so they can provide in-home care in exchange for reduced rent as well as wages.

Crepes for Change, VIC

The Society Melbourne Training program pilot will use a $50,000 grant to evaluate a scalable hospitality training program in partnership with Launch Housing, addressing gaps in other programs.

Hobart City Mission, TAS

The $50,000 DIY Dads project will provide eight self-contained units for single fathers for up to two years, as well as supports to assist them in living independently, such as budgeting.

Hunter Homeless Connect, NSW

Connecting the Hunter will use a grant of $46,600 to provide an opportunity for local businesses to address homelessness and help those experiencing homelessness find places that accept them.

UnitingCare West, WA

The Care for a Cup project will use a grant of $36,600 to establish a sustainable social enterprise mobile coffee cart to support training homeless unemployed people to obtain employment.

CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes, NSW

The 'Nadoo Gathering' Women’s Group will use a grant of $25,000 to provide a safe environment for women experiencing domestic abuse to share stories and provide input in improving services.

Anglicare WA, WA

The Young Hearts Reconnect camp has been given a grant of $24,500 to help strengthen relationships between domestic abuse victims and their children, building communication and conflict resolution skills.

Broken to Brilliant Ltd, QLD

Broken to Brilliant’s narrative therapy project will use a grant of $16,700 to publish a book to help people experiencing domestic abuse rebuild their lives with stories of strength and success.

2017 grants – building resilience and capability in people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence

Announced on 16 October 2017, this year’s successful recipients will focus on building resilience and capability in people experiencing homelessness or domestic and family violence.

Domestic and family violence is the largest driver of homelessness for women, a common factor in child protection notifications and results in a police call-out on average once every two minutes across Australia. The combined health, administration and social welfare costs of violence against women have been estimated to be $21.7 billion a year, with projections suggesting that if no further action is taken to prevent violence against women, costs will accumulate to $323.4 billion over a thirty-year period from 2014-15 to 2044-45.

2017 - Category 1
Category one grants of up to $25,000 each have been awarded to four recipients:

Tara Costigan Foundation
Forrest, ACT

The Tara Costigan Foundation provides post-crisis support to survivors of domestic violence who wish to move on with their lives positively and proactively. They assign qualified, experienced social workers /caseworkers (Tara’s Angels), free of charge who provide up to 2 years of support to help navigate a complex web of services and overcome personal barriers.

St John's Youth Services Inc.
Adelaide, SA

The project will trial and evaluate an early intervention and personal support program for ten young people who are living in private rental, but at risk of losing their home due to financial or personal crisis. The funds will provide opportunities to stabilise young lives through addressing the factors behind their impending crisis, backed with personal support to maintain their existing housing, avert the risk of homelessness and thereby reduce demand for crisis services.

Youth Off The Streets
Sydney, NSW

This project contributes to breaking intergenerational cycles of domestic and family violence for youth approaching adulthood. It aims to teach young people, with limited exposure to healthy family and intimate relationships, how to identify and stop the cycle of domestic and family violence, and build their resilience. The program has two key components: 1 – domestic and family violence education and myth busting workshops, and 2 - equine assisted therapy.

Pat Thomas House
Mandura, WA

The Kids Against Violence program offers children a safe environment to understand domestic/family violence, acknowledge abuse and to express their thoughts and feelings through talk, play and art during school terms. The program will also provide age appropriate safety planning for participants.

2017 - Category 2
Category two grants of up to $50,000 each have been awarded to two recipients:

Melbourne Homeless Collective
Melbourne, VIC

In partnership with Launch Housing, the Plate Up Project aims to support women who are homeless or are fleeing family violence to regain financial independence through hospitality training and links to ongoing employment.

Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre
Lismore, NSW

The Walking Together Project has three objectives: to hire an experienced advocate to assist victims of family violence towards economic independence and empowerment when escaping violence; to develop a resource for the National Community Legal Centre Network to use when liaising with providers, such as banks, energy, telecommunication providers and other creditors on behalf of family violence victims; and to provide feedback to those providers about how their services can better assist family violence victims. The potential reach of the project is 20,000 clients across the CLC sector.

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.

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