South West Community Foundation's history

Community grant and funding programs

The initiative to establish a Community Foundation in south west Victoria was driven by the enthusiasm and energy of Josie Black, who also became the Foundation’s inaugural Chair. Josie passed away in 2009 and is remembered through the Josie Black Memorial Fund.

Starting with an initial trust fund of $70,000, the funds have grown to be more than $2 million. The first half million was achieved in 2010, and $1 million was reached in 2013. The growth in funds has been due to a wide range of private donors. Some have made donations in excess of $10,000 and became listed as benefactors or established as ‘named memorials’. Many donations are made up of modest annual or workplace contributors. However, the Foundation has also benefitted in 2013 from a State Government grant in support of the Colac community, and in 2016 from the proceeds of community asset sales arising from the closing of the Koroit Health Service.

The Foundation has been the regional distribution agency for ‘Back to School’ vouchers on behalf of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Myer Foundation for 15 years. The program continues and has now distributed almost 5,500 vouchers to students experiencing vulnerability across the region to the value of over $250,000. In addition, since 2014 the Foundation has provided grant administration for the Fletcher Jones Family Foundations private family trusts.

Since 2020, the Foundation has held a Community Foundation Account with the FRRR, leveraging their unique tax status to attract funds from Private and Public Ancilliary Funds in order to provide grants to organisations in the community.

Donate to support your local community

South West Victorians are philanthropists in so many ways. We give our time, expertise, money and other resources to advance our own community and the world at large. Donations to South West Community Foundation are donations to our community that go on giving forever. Please consider donating today.