$100,000 Grant to McAuley Community Services for Women

McAuley Community Services for Women was awarded the $100,000 Impact100 Melbourne annual grant in November. The organisation won the grant ahead of three other worthy finalists - Holy Fools, Ladder Project Foundation and Open Family Australia.

McAuley Community Services for Women’s Chief Executive Jocelyn Bignold said the grant was incredibly important enabling the organisation to streamline a set of existing programs to “be more effective to the women we serve and to reach more women .”

“This grant will help to create Victoria’s first comprehensive program which aims to get the right help for vulnerable women at the right time. It will be a place where women are valued and have opportunities to participate. It will lead the way in Australia in terms of how we – as a community – work for and with women, providing them with options for their own futures,” Jocelyn said. 
Impact100 Melbourne is a membership-style giving circle with a mission to reach under-served parts of Melbourne, raise the profile of lesser-known charities, highlight unmet needs and increase involvement in philanthropy across Melbourne.

Jocelyn said the grant application process gave McAuley Community Services for Women the chance to show Melbournians, what is happening in their own backyard.

“More than 10,000 women in Melbourne are homeless largely due to family violence and mental health and it’s an invisible issue, but we can all play an important role regardless of our means,” she said.

Impact100 Melbourne committee member Rikki Andrews said giving circles such as the Impact100 model were transforming philanthropy in Australia. “On the awards’ night, we had members contribute $1000 to $10,000 and yet we were able to donate $130,000 – everyone left with a huge buzz and smile on their face,” she said.

There are at least 10,000 Victorian women who are homeless, a statistic that most people don't recognise or realise, because women’s homelessness is largely invisible.

“They rarely sleep on the streets or on park benches. They couch surf from family to friends, they may live in a car, they may go to our refuge or to another or to emergency housing. There are usually long-term economic impacts,” Jocelyn told people attending the awards.

“Some women are homeless because they have taken the brave decision to leave a violent relationship and their home. Or they are homeless because of mental illness – often brought on by family violence.”

“When women and their children leave our safe house- Victoria’s only 24/7 crisis accommodation, they have few options other than homelessness.”

“Homelessness should never ever be the safer option. And yet it is.”