We invited a number of other philanthropic foundations to co-fund with the Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust.  The great outcome of this work has meant that 14 projects could be fully funded, 10 in regional Victoria and four in metropolitan Melbourne.

We are very grateful to the following foundations for assisting us to invest in the future of women and girls in our state: Australian Communities Foundation (ACF), the Grosvenor Foundation, the Alfred Felton Bequest, The William Buckland Foundation, RE Ross Trust and 5point Foundation.

Through our work the Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust has either funded directly, co-funded or brokered grants to the value of just over $250,000 in 2017.

2017 Flagship Grant

Primary Care Connect Khanuma (ladies in Dari)

$25,000 total grant – supported by the Grosvenor Foundation and a generous donor

Khanuma will address social isolation amongst refugee women in the Shepparton community. While creating and developing friendships and connections, the women will be setting a foundation to address past traumas by engaging in a safe and inclusive environment. They will begin conversations about their personal challenges related to their experiences as refugee women; sharing and normalising their stories. Women will have opportunity to further explore their own individual trauma more thoroughly through individual counselling with dedicated trauma counsellors. These experiences will be shared with the broader community to assist in positive cultural sharing within a trauma informed framework.

2017 General Grants

Gippsland Disability Advocacy IncSustaining Enabling Women in Gippsland

$17,370 grant

Enabling Women in Gippsland is a community leadership program that empowers women with disabilities to have a voice about issues that relate to them and other women with disabilities and have influence in Gippsland communities.  The program is based on that developed and delivered by Women with Disabilities Victoria.


Multicultural Arts VictoriaBeads of Culture

$10,080 grant

Beads of Culture will uncover practitioners of traditional cultural beading skills within the many cultural groups who live within the Goulburn Valley Region, in particular, newly arrived refugee, emerging multicultural and Indigenous communities. Women from these communities will come together in a series of hands-on workshops to share, rediscover and reinterpret traditional bead making, sewing, threading and use. Participation will be facilitated by lead artist/community cultural development practitioner from Kaiela Arts. who will guide the project towards a large exhibition that will express the diverse cultures coming together in an inclusive and contemporary installation.


The Stella PrizeGirls Write Up Wodonga

$10,000 grant

Girls Write Up is a day-long festival for teens that teaches empowerment through writing and sharing stories; explores the relationship between language, gender and power; and examines the effects of unconscious bias on our sense of self.

Girls Write Up Wodonga is a regional pilot of a highly successful program, and aims to ensure that 50 percent of participants are from a low socio-economic or otherwise disadvantaged background.


The BoiteDiversitat joins Boite Millennium Chorus

$3,400 grant – funded by the Australian Communities Foundation

Up to 15 regional refugee women and children will join in the Boite Millennium Chorus 2017. The Boite Millennium Chorus presents a concert of 300 community singers with culturally diverse songs and musicians, and is socially inclusive to people of all genders, ethnicities, and abilities. The Boite will partner with Diversitat in Geelong to involve local refugee and migrant families with The Boite Geelong regional choir through rehearsals and the grand performance at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre in August 2017.


Helping Hoops Helping Hoops Future

$5,000 grant – funded by the Grosvenor Foundation

Helping Hoops Future is a free female-only multicultural basketball program for young people aged 14-21. Participants have come from Helping Hoops community programs and now desire a more challenging and targeted experience. The program runs every week for two hours and is overseen by a coach, whose position has previously been funded through Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust grants.. Helping Hoops Future includes a partnership with the Victorian Police and Melbourne Boomers WNBL basketball club.


Western District Health Service / National Centre for Farmer Health
From Inside the Farm Gate: Rural Women’s Stories of Thriving and Surviving

$15,000 grant and an additional $30,000 grant from the William Buckland Foundation

Victorian farming women from rural communities experiencing tough times will participate in a digital storytelling workshop to tell their personal story of facing socio-economic disadvantage and challenges to social and emotional wellbeing. The workshop will provide opportunity for ‘invisible farmers’ to share experiences in a safe, trusted, peer supported environment – facilitating emotional expression without judgment, building self-confidence, a sense of achievement and encouraging positive social contact. The resulting stories will be publicly exhibited to rural and urban audiences—giving voice to an unheard group of Victorian women, promoting communication and encouraging mutual reflection, empathy and understanding.


Council of Single Mothers and their Children Vic (CSMC) – Supporting single mothers in regional Victoria

$15,160 grant and an additional $15,000 grant from the Alfred Felton Bequest

The project will create support networks for single mothers in targeted regional Victoria communities, connecting them to one another, local services, their broader community, and CSMC specialised support services.

Single mothers in regional Victoria are dealing with intersecting issues including greater social isolation than metropolitan single mothers, in particular if they have recently moved to regional areas in order to obtain affordable housing, as is an emerging trend.

CSMC will use technology and place-based supports to reduce the social isolation these women encounter, foster mutual support and increase utilisation of our statewide support and referral service.


University of Melbourne – The Lullaby Playgroup

$10,890 grant – a partnership grant with the Australian Communities Foundation

This project involves the development of a regular playgroup hosted by Fitzroy Primary School. Local mothers will bring their young children (0-6 years) to weekly two-hour playgroups, during which the children and mothers will engage with other attendees (of various culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds) over the sharing of songs (lullabies, nursery rhymes) and food. The project will facilitate positive intercultural communication, English language development, and participants are invited to teach others songs in their language, and the processes for cooking the food they’ve brought to share.

This playgroup will provide pilot data for researchers to use to develop a community music playgroup model that can be tailored to and implemented in other schools


Brotherhood of St LaurenceStepping Stones to Small Business

$25,000 grant – a partnership grant with the Australian Communities Foundation

The project aims to help women from culturally diverse backgrounds to develop the capacity to become financially independent by assisting them to establish viable businesses, and to enable their social and financial inclusion in order to increase their economic participation, improving the situation for the individual women and their families. This will help them settle happily and independently in their new community.


Diversitat (Geelong Ethnic Communities Council)– Stepping Forward

$9,000 – a partnership grant with the Australian Communities Foundation

The program will seek to engage girls across new arrival communities to form three of four netball teams that will join the Corio Netball Association in the Northern suburbs of Geelong for the 2018 season. All players will be from a refugee background and funding will support skill development, uniforms and transport as well as promote opportunities for social inclusion, increase self-esteem and build cultural understanding. The aim is to increase the confidence of new arrival young women to interact with the wider community by promoting a healthy active lifestyle; addressing the benefits related to physical activity, healthy eating and community connectedness through playing netball. Stepping Forward will highlight the opportunities for girls and young women encouraging participation in community netball as a means of personal development in a safe and supportive environment; building new skills and community networks and participating in mainstream society.


MacKillop Family Services In Safe Hands, Cara at MacKillop

$12,500 grant and an additional $12,500 grant from RE Ross Trust

In Safe Hands is a young mums parenting program run out of Morgan House; a ‘Mums and Bubs’ residential unit.  The program runs weekly offering young women and, where appropriate, their partners the opportunity to participate in a range of therapeutic services including self-development and educational opportunities. The program covers different topics each week such as SIDS safety, infant CPR, baby development, feeding and sleeping routines, introducing solids, attachment theory, and bonding through play etc. It is a safe, non-judgemental environment where young vulnerable mothers can share parenting experiences and learn from one another.


The Centre for ParticipationHorsham Hospitality Workforce Pathways

$10,522 and an additional $13,000 grant from the RE Ross Trust

Of the 300 migrant and refugee families in Horsham, there are 50 women who self-identify in need of social and vocational support. This project provides for 20 women to increase their confidence in English, customer service, hospitality skills and to become work ready.

Participants will complete the Centre for Participation’s English courses, seven hospitality units and First Aid. Volunteers will support learning and social inclusion. Hospitality partners and the Centre’s ‘Harmony Food Van’ will provide valuable work experience at local cafés and field days.  At the end, it is hoped that participants will be ready for employment, enterprise and for a pathway to further hospitality study.


Gateway Health / Albury Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council Inc. Multicultural Women’s Circle

$5,430 grant and matched co-funding from 5point Foundation

The Multicultural Women’s Circle is a pilot mother’s support group for migrant and refugee women in the Wodonga area. The group will meet weekly for two hours to provide support and social opportunities to mothers experiencing isolation. The group will run during Victorian school terms. Each fortnight will provide an information session and networking opportunities for the women, including local women presenting topics such as education and employment pathways, women’s health, family violence education, mental health, maternal child health, art, yoga & mindfulness, etc. in a relaxed environment. Transport will be provided for participants.




so that in this lifetime we will be:

  • equally paid for the same work
  • safe on the streets and in our homes
  • equally represented in our parliament and leadership positions
  • in charge of our own bodies