The Catherine Circle

The Catherine Circle, a very significant giving circle, is a group of people who are passionate about supporting McAuley Community Services for Women and its works with women who are homeless as well as women and children experiencing family violence.

Its aim is to raise $100,000 each year, which will be invested into a program or service run by McAuley Community Services for Women.

You can find more information here.

We are officially launching the Catherine Circle at a special cocktail function on:

Thursday 23 June
5.30pm to 7.30pm
@ Church 364, 364 Church Street, Richmond 3121.
$65 a ticket.


Catherine Circle foundation members will vote on the night for one of two high priority projects which require funding.

Guests at the event are invited to join up as a Catherine Circle individual or group on the night, and will be able to vote as well.

Claire Ewart-Kennedy and her friends will be amongst those voting at the launch.

Claire, chief-of-staff for Victoria’s Shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto, was encouraged to join the Catherine Circle after attending a McAuley Community Services for Women event where the statistics around family violence were discussed including the death of 79 women Australia wide in 2015 through violence.

“All of us at this event have issues in our lives. But at the end of the day those of us that have formed the two Catherine Circle groups have a safe home and a family that is concerned about us and supportive of us. So many women don’t have that sort of life,” Claire said.

Each of the 10 women in Claire's group contributes $200 a year for three years towards a program that Claire, who is studying her Masters in Social Investment and Philanthropy, thinks is a successful model. She is concerned that too many programs and projects are developed to respond to an extreme issue or crises. However, Catherine Circle members at the launch will have the opportunity to consider project options put to them and determine which one will have the most impact.

“We are a group of women who have agreed to put our hand in our pocket and commit to supporting other women,” Claire said.

“Too much of today’s not-for-profit and philanthropy work is focussed around the merging of resources and large grants to high profile projects, whereas Catherine’s Circle is based on grassroots philanthropy that a normal person can afford and support – the members of the circle get a wonderful feeling of empowerment when a group of like-minded women band together to seriously make a difference.”

The Catherine Circle is named after Catherine McAuley (pictured), the woman who founded the Sisters of Mercy. McAuley Community Services for Women is a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. 

How the Catherine Circle works