Guest Blog: Gandel Philanthropy's review of strategy, philosophy and the need for small grants

This post written by Vedran Drakulic, Chief Executive Officer, Gandel Philanthropy.

Over the recent months Gandel Philanthropy has undertaken a process of reviewing its strategic direction, its granting philosophy and the nature of its grant-making. The reasons for this include Gandel Philanthropy’s wish to expand its community involvement and influence, create stronger links and develop its relationships, as well as the fact that the Board aims to increase grant distributions in the coming years.

The new strategy addresses matters such as the areas of interest that we wish to support; outlines the three levels of grants in terms of their financial size; the distinction between grants that are open for application and those that are by invitation; and it outlines the time-frames for grants in relation to the application periods and the frequency of granting.

In terms of the actual structure of giving, Gandel Philanthropy developed three levels - categories of grants that are aimed at providing support for both Jewish and Australian causes and organisations:

1. communityassist grants

These grants are allocated up to a maximum amount of $40,000. They are generally envisaged as one-off grants aimed at providing support for a defined program or part of a program. They are geared towards smaller community organisations, however any eligible organisation can apply. These grants are open for application to anyone that is eligible, and that delivers programs or services within one of the specified areas of interest (see below).  This is a rolling program of applications throughout the year and there are no closing dates for these grants. Decisions will be made around four times a year.


Gandel Philanthropy believes that all types of grants are needed to enable us to provide support for the benefit of those in need in the community, and to achieve our vision of “creating a positive and lasting difference in people’s lives.” We believe that, strategically, we can support both the ongoing, immediate, as well as emerging needs in the society through allocations from our communityassist grants. As Chet Tchozewski, of Global Greengrants Fund, pointed out in Alliance magazine, “too often foundation leaders incorrectly assume that small grants are not strategic”. We believe they are and can be, and our strategy reflects that belief.

In addition, we will provide grants in both the traditional, as well as some new, areas of interest, reflecting our wish to explore and learn about the needs in a range of sectors in the community. These areas of interest may continue to evolve as part of our learning.

Currently Gandel Philanthropy communityassist grants are allocated towards eight specific Areas of Interest:

  • Arts & Culture;
  • Education;
  • Health & Medical Research;
  • Community Development;
  • Social Cohesion & Inclusion;
  • Poverty & Disadvantage;
  • Environment; and
  • Emergency Response & Recovery.

Additional details related to eligibility, Areas of Interest, the application process, exclusions and other relevant information are contained in the communityassist Grant Guidelines document. Potential applicants need to contact Gandel Philanthropy on, or by calling (03) 8564 1288, to obtain the communityassist Grant Guidelines and the communityassist Application Form. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their project proposal with us before submitting an application.

2. communitybuild grants

The communitybuild category of grants reflects Gandel Philanthropy’s wish to provide significant support to community organisations to achieve stronger and longer-term positive social impact within the specified areas of interest. These grants can be allocated as single, one-off contribution or multi-year support, depending on the nature of the need and the proposal. As a rule, the aim is to support programs that are evidence-based, that deliver defined positive outcomes in the community, that may provide long-term benefit to the target audience, that have the potential to be ‘transferrable’ and broadly implemented.

Funding for these grants can range from $40,000 to a maximum of $250,000 per annum. Most importantly, applications to the communitybuild grants category are by invitation only. Selected organisations may be invited to apply throughout the year, while decisions will generally be made twice a year. 


Gandel Philanthropy aims to research and understand the relevant issues, the broader operating environment and the key players, and then partner with leadership organisations in their respective fields of involvement – this does not mean these organisations need to be the biggest, only the best at what they do. We will seek to support both the existing as well as new, ground-breaking programs. We will look at programs and organisations that align with the granting philosophy of Gandel Philanthropy, which includes emphasis on community need and impact; prevention; innovation and sustainability; effectiveness and operational strength; and linkages.

Through the communitybuild grants Gandel Philanthropy provides support for Jewish and Australian causes in a set number of Areas of Interest. Again, some of these have traditionally been part of Gandel philanthropic giving, and some new ones:

  • Arts & Culture;
  • Education;
  • Health & Medical Research;
  • Youth at Risk;
  • Jewish Identity & Leadership; and
  • Indigenous programs;

3. Strengthening Communities grants

This category was developed with the aim of providing support for major, flagship-type activities, programs and causes. Again Gandel Philanthropy will work to investigate, research and analyse the issues, the needs and then decide who to work with and in which area. Funding for these grants can range from $250,000 to a maximum of $2 million per annum. As with the previous category, applications for Strengthening Communities grants are by invitation only.  Selected organisations may be invited to apply throughout the year, while decisions will generally be made twice a year. 


Gandel Philanthropy believes that both the philanthropic sector and the needs in the community continue to evolve, change and also grow. We are serious about fulfilling our role by providing relevant and meaningful support and, when and where appropriate, leading the way by example.

Areas of Interest for Strengthening Communities grants are the same as those for communitybuild grants.

Finally, Gandel Philanthropy will retain its flexibility to respond to other emerging or relevant needs outside of this strategy, but only in exceptional circumstances and as identified and agreed by the Board.


Gandel Philanthropy

For any further information on the above, please contact Gandel Philanthropy on (03) 8564 1288 or email

Information about Gandel Philanthropy’s new strategy will soon be available on our website, launching soon.

Oct. 09, 2012

 Tags: topical issues, indigenous, guest post, general, environment, education, arts

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