Who we are

Our Story

Hands Across Canberra is Canberra’s independent community foundation. Founded in 2010 by a group of Canberra leaders with the idea of creating a foundation to help fellow Canberrans and give back to the community, it now works with more than 250 local community organisations.

The goal is to tackle the challenges in the community by raising funds for community-service organisations working with our most vulnerable individuals and families, while also embedding a culture of giving in Canberra.

Community foundations are designed to provide permanent support  through  a perpetual endowment fund, which gives regular grants to those in most need.

“Hands Across Canberra encourages individuals to invest in the future of their community. The Foundation enables charities to access much needed funds and resources to protect the most vulnerable – now and in the future.”

Diane Kargas AM, Canberra Citizen of the Year and Chair of Hands Across Canberra.

Hands Across Canberra was launched to provide a simple way for Canberrans to adopt more regular habits with regard to philanthropy.  Through the Hands Across Canberra portal Canberrans have a cost effective, flexible and financially secure vehicle to contribute to local charities. Hands Across Canberra helps to keep the wealth that is created locally within the local Canberra community.

There are currently over 250 charities and community service organisations who we engage, assist and support every day. We create campaigns to encourage philanthropy and make it easier for Canberrans to give – to the community as a whole or to their charity of choice – through the Foundation.


Hands Across Canberra is working to:
  • Increase giving by making it easy for Canberrans to help other Canberrans
  • Increase resources to build the capacity of community organisations
  • Provide leadership and co-ordination for high impact solutions to community problems
  • Celebrate the community spirit and generosity that exists and provide public recognition for the work of philanthropists and service providers

The Foundation aims to fill a range of gaps that exist in our community sector, including:
  • providing a vehicle for people and businesses to easily and actively engage in philanthropic activities and partnerships to address the issues facing our community especially the really tough or unfashionable causes being addressed by the community sector;
  • providing co-ordination and leadership by establishing a clear and long-term ambition that corporations, government, foundations, individuals and community organisations can engage with and which can assist in growing community connectedness;
  • building a permanent endowment and generating increasing resources to meet Canberra’s current and changing needs;
  • building the capacity of donors and grant recipients to access and manage funds more effectively;
  • opening up new forms and areas of social investment; and
  • providing public recognition for the work of philanthropists, service providers and communities.

Hands Across Canberra aims to build on the existing range of supports for the community sector. It is not a substitute for government funding but rather a means of further broadening the funding base for the community sector.

What our charity partners say about us:


Why partner with Hands Across Canberra?

With deep insight and understanding of local needs and opportunities, we are able to guide our donors in making strategic granting decisions. Through our Vital Signs research and workshops with the not-for-profit sector, we promote discussion on the key issues affecting Canberra.

Hands Across Canberra has an objective progressively building a capital base that will offer char ities an ongoing funding stream to tackle areas of disadvantage in our community. Investment of funds is managed by JB Were who have been appointed as our expert investment managers. The establishment of ‘Named Funds’ is also a means of creating an on going grant base for charities over a long term. The gifts we receive
are held in trust, creating a permanent legacy for our community

Hands Across Canberra is governed by a well-credentialled Board and has established several committees to assist in the accountable governance of its activities.  The three entities (HAC PUAF, HAC Ltd, CMCF) that comprise Hands Across Canberra are independent philanthropic organisations, proudly recognised as registered charities
with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The Trustee of the Hands Across Canberra Trust (Public Ancillary Fund) is governed by the Federal Treasury’s Public Ancillary Fund Guidelines 2011 (as amended 2016) and the financial statements of all three entities are audited annually by an independent auditor.

When donors join Hands Across Canberra they become a valued member of a community of donors. We are committed to working collaboratively with our donors
to bring their philanthropic vision to life and to help them create an enduring impact with their charitable giving.

We offer simple and effective solutions for our donors to support the issues that matter most to them. Hands Across Canberra takes care of the investment, governance, compliance and administration, allowing donors to focus on supporting the causes they are passionate about.

We offer a variety of different ways to give to Canberra/Canberra region causes, depending on your desired level of involvement.  Examples of giving range from a once off donation, regular donations, establishing a Named Fund, to leaving a lasting legacy through your Will, we can help you support the causes you care most about.

As a community foundation, we are committed to providing accessible and low-cost giving options to help donors achieve their charitable goals.

We are in a unique position to collaborate with other charities, foundations, advisers and local communities on innovative approaches which address our city’s
greatest challenges. We regularly link up with other funding bodies to amplify the funds available to charities to undertake their valuable work.

We are part of a growing world wide movement of community foundations. Today there are over 36 independent community foundations in Australia and more than 1,800 place-based community foundations in nearly every continent across the world. Community foundations represent a sustainable and resilient source of ongoing funding.

What our donors say about us:

Hands Across Canberra has always been my charity of choice, as I know Hands Across Canberra is an advocate and ally for the local charities and organisations across this amazing community. I know that every grant recipient that Hands Across Canberra selects… is a step in the right direction… for making Canberra a better place for everyone.

Christine Shaw
Blackshaw Manuka

We knew when we decided to match dollars raised for the COVID-19 Recovery Appeal that the support from the community would be great – as Hands Across Canberra has always been influential in ensuring that all donations are properly injected directly back into the community. Hands Across Canberra has reach throughout the community and is always ensuring that local charities and organisations feel supported even in the darkest hours.

Glenn Keys AO
Aspen Medical