Who we are

Frequently Asked Questions

Hands Across Canberra was formed is response to a growing recognition that while Canberrans are generally very generous, many local donations were supporting national and international causes and there was need for an emphasis on Canberrans helping Canberrans. Learn more here.

Now the fastest growing form of philanthropy, there are more than 1600 community Foundations around the world. Notable examples in Australia include the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Fund, the Fremantle Foundation in Western Australia and similar foundations in Sydney and Brisbane. Community foundations are designed to provide permanent financial support through a perpetual endowment fund, which provides grants and other assistance to organisations working with people in most need. Funds  are invested to generate maximum interest to support the causes and organisations donors care about. It’s a simple way to encourage local philanthropy and it effectively extends the value of donations.

We exist to support, build capacity and empower the 250 local charities and community organisations associated with us to enhance their ability to support Canberra’s most vulnerable people. We are deeply familiar with their need and opportunities because we work with them on a regular basis. We focus on creating sustainable organisations and we build relationships between charities and community organisations, with the community at large as well as with Government.

The Canberra community is generous and caring.  In times of crisis, such as after the 2003 bushfires, Canberrans have provided significant support to those in need, through both donations and volunteering their time.  However, many Canberrans who need our support remain hidden and organisations that provide day to day support to the community find it difficult to raise on-going financial support.

Hands Across Canberra is not a layer of bureaucracy or another cause competing for donations with established charities. Hands Across Canberra value adds to existing community service organisations by providing opportunities for collaborative marketing, building connections with the local philanthropic community, and providing hands on web-based infrastructure for organisations who can’t currently process online donations.

Hands Across Canberra was established in part to recognise:

  • There is great interest in philanthropy in the ACT
  • The majority of CSOs have received or are receiving philanthropic giving (mostly volunteering, small donations, grants, pro-bono)
  • There is a lack of awareness, skills and knowledge about philanthropy
  • Concern over the cost of seeking support involves a lot of money, time and energy from organisations which already do not have enough of any of that
  • Some have strategies in place, but most lack the resources to implement them
  • Current resources, tools and people in the broader community are available yet underutilised

Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of community foundations started, with now more than 30 in Australia.

The ACT is generally perceived as a relatively well-off community; however there are some concerning hidden realities about those with real need:

  • 1  in 200 people  are homeless, soaring 70% in the past five years to now be the second highest in Australia
  • 1 in 7 households struggle to survive on a minimum income
  • 1 in 4 young people will experience a mental health problem in any 12-month period
  • 1 in 6 young people have caring responsibilities
  • 1 in 25 people have severe or profound disabilities

While the government provides a range of services to these parts of our community, much of the assistance comes from community services organisations.  These organisations need continued financial assistance to maintain and increase their capacity to address increasing demand.  This is where Hands Across Canberra makes a difference; providing donated community funds to those organisations supporting Canberrans in need.

A voluntary Board of Directors with a wealth of experience in the community, business and government oversee the Hands Across Canberra Foundation. Learn more here.

When Hands Across Canberra was launched in November 2010, it was about providing a simple way for Canberrans to develop more regular habits about giving to our local community.  Since that time Hands Across Canberra has worked to fill a range of gaps with respect to fundraising for our community sector.  Learn more here.

Details on the membership of the Hands Across Canberra Foundation can be found here.

No, all donations to the Foundation are welcome.  Donate now by clicking here. (Donation link to be updated)

The online portal that processes all donations to Hands Across Canberra and the organisations registered with us has been designed to minimise the ongoing administrative costs.

Funds donated to nominated charities are processed with no transaction fees.

Funds donated to the Foundation specifically are held in trust and then distributed via our regular grant rounds. On the creation of corpus – most of that money will be invested to create a perpetual fund for the community; the revenue from this and other donations are distributed through the grant-giving process.  As donations increase and the corpus becomes more significant, both the size and frequency of grant rounds will increase.

In the near future we will also be seeking wills and bequests and will have a facility to provide giving-while-you-are-living through named funds. These investments will significantly increase our grant-giving capacity over time.

We contain administrative costs to a minimum.