Charities urged to apply for CMCF funds

Published on 06 May 2021

6 May 2021                                                                 

Charities working in Canberra and the nearby region urged to apply for Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund grants –The Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund is now open to all charities in the Canberra and nearby region for $400,000 to go towards the community sector

ACT charities and community organisations are being encouraged to apply for grants from the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund (CMCF) Grant Program, managed by Hands Across Canberra.

Approximately $400,000 is available in this round for groups working with vulnerable people and others in need in Canberra and the region.

Diane Kargas AM, Chair of Hands Across Canberra said: “Canberra charities and non-profit organisations play a vital role in our community and continue to do so in the face of real challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions. Hands Across Canberra is dedicated to supporting organisations through the Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund, so that these organisations can continue to support the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

“Hands Across Canberra is uniquely equipped to respond flexibly to critical needs throughout the city and nearby region. This is due to our deep connections within our community; an understanding of the organisations that serve it; and relationships with multi-sector partners who can join with us to foster change and respond to crisis events with speed and flexibility,” said Ms. Kargas. “2020 was a testament to this and we have taken on board many of the lessons learned for our granting process in 2021.”

The Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund has provided substantial support to the Canberra community sector since it’s inception in 2018 with:

  • 69+ organisations supported
  • 89+ projects funded
  • $1m+ granted to the Canberra community

The Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund is managed by Hands Across Canberra, an independent philanthropic community foundation, working with more than 300 local community organisations.

The CMCF was established by the ACT Government in 2018 with $5 million invested as seed funding to kick-start a long-term commitment to local charities and the community sector.

In 2021 Hands Across Canberra is seeking grant applications that support programs which targetat-risk children and youth, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, transgender and intersex people, domestic violence victims and perpetrators, older women and youth at risk of homelessness, marginalised and disadvantaged groups, people with disability, refugees and migrants and precariously employed people. The community foundation is in particular seeking to fund activities that:

  • are collaborative (ie. collaboration between service providers)
  • have included service participants in the design of the project
  • deal with the root cause of an issue, rather than responding to the symptom
  • improve belonging in our community
  • improve Mental Health in our community
  • support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and especially projects addressing pathways that lead to youth homelessness.

Organisations and social enterprises working in the ACT and our nearby region area are encouraged to apply. It is also encouraged those organisations to include impact measurement and evaluation activities in their applications.

Priorities are based on identified areas of greatest community need through research and consultation with the community sector and ACT government agencies.  They are revised annually to ensure meeting Canberra’s most acute needs and targeting those most vulnerable.

Alignment to the priorities is an important consideration for selection, however it will not preclude organisations submitting applications for other important initiatives where need is evidenced.

How to apply for grants

Interested organisations can apply through the Hands Across Canberra online application process at Applications close at midnight (end of day) on 4 June 2021.

Charities considering applying for grants are encouraged to get in touch with Hands Across Canberra and attend a grant information session.  The free workshop will explain the application process and provide an opportunity to ask questions.

For further information contact Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon on 0417 064 767, email or visit