Philanthropic collaboration tackles youth unemployment with $2 million in grants

Five of Australia’s leading philanthropic organisations have co-funded $2 million in COVID-19 recovery grants to unlock employment opportunities in Victoria and Queensland.
The Post-Covid Collaborative Funding Round is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund, Gandel Foundation, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, The Ian Potter Foundation and Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Catherine Brown OAM said, “In 2020 the collaborating foundations recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic was having a serious effect on the for-purpose sector, forcing many organisations to innovate and adapt rapidly to changing circumstances. We wanted to have a greater impact by working together.”

The three successful projects will support people facing disadvantage in to training and employment pathways. “The pandemic has impacted employment outcomes for many people, these three projects will create meaningful training and employment opportunities across a range of skills in areas such as the arts, transport and logistics, recycling and maintenance.”

The Post-Covid Collaborative Funding Round aims to support the for-purpose sector, particularly the arts and social sectors, through the pandemic. The funding partners also recognised that further innovation and adaptation would be necessary for organisations to be resilient to achieve their respective missions. This funding round nurtured innovation and supported collaborations between organisations. A grant of $15,000 was provided to each of the six shortlisted organisations to support them to plan and deepen their collaborative approaches.

Sidney Myer Fund Chief Executive Officer Leonard Vary said, “On behalf of the five philanthropic partners, I am delighted to announce three important grants that demonstrate how philanthropic organisations can collaborate to support the provision of quality training and employment pathways for young people.”
The three successful initiatives are:

Choose Your Career Program – Victorian YMCA Youth & Community Services Inc 
Grant: $750,000 (three years)
ReBuild and Green Collect, are two Work Integrated Social Enterprises that will work to establish a new model that addresses the lack of high quality and engaging career options for young people aged 16 to 25 years at-risk or experiencing disadvantage in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

The Post-Covid Collaborative grant will present YMCA ReBuild and Green Collect with a platform to kick off their collaborative working relationship, through co-design and co-delivery of the innovative Choose Your Career Program. Executive Manager at YMCA Rebuild Mick Cronin said, “This program has been shaped by the voices of young people who have faced significant barriers to training and employment. As we heard about the importance of choice and the opportunity to try different types of work, we recognised that this could be achieved by connecting the work of social enterprises.” Over the next three years, this collaborative model will enable 108 young people to gain paid employment and build long term careers. Co-founder of Green Collect Sally Quinn said, “We are excited to have the chance to be launching this project and look forward to learning, growing and thriving together whilst we deliver social impact in Melbourne’s West.”

Good Deliveries – Good Cycles Limited 
Grant: $500,000 (two years)
Work Integrated Social Enterprises Good Cycles and Fruit2Work will work with the Brotherhood of St Laurence to build a delivery business for small parcels and food that provides jobs for people facing disadvantage.

Tech Connect Queensland – Victorian Arts Centre Trust  
Grant: $750,000 (three years)
Tech Connect Queensland is a collaboration between Arts Centre Melbourne, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Stage Queensland Network to develop and deliver accredited industry training that creates sustainable employment opportunities for young people within the arts sector.