Philanthropists collaborate in new employment grants program

Fri, 30 Jun 2023

A group of Australia’s leading philanthropic organisations has established a new grant program to support social enterprises in accelerating growth and impact, while creating job opportunities for Australians facing barriers to employment.

The Work Integration Social Enterprise (WISE) Grant will provide up to $4 million to help WISE strengthen and increase their employment outcomes for people who face challenges getting into the workforce.

The WISE grant is a collaboration between eight partner organisations Paul Ramsay Foundation, Westpac Foundation, Macquarie Group Foundation, and Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, Minderoo Foundation, and English Family Foundation. MinterEllison are providing pro bono advice on the grant program’s governance.

The WISE Grant will be managed by Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation with the support of a steering committee of the founders and will be seeded with $3.4 million in initial grant capital. The WISE Grant funds are held in the WISE Collaboration Giving Account of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

The two-year grants range in value from approximately $200,000 to $500,000, depending on the stage of the social enterprise.

A leading collaboration

The new program is a great example of philanthropic organisations working together. Dr Catherine Brown OAM, CEO of Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation spoke to Philanthropy Weekly about the importance of collaboration.

“By combining our funds and our knowledge of social enterprise development, we can increase our shared impact on creating jobs for people who often have difficulty accessing or getting a start mainstream employment,” Dr Brown said.

“In addition, these enterprises are working on social or environmental issues, so they have a double positive impact.

“Together we can make more and larger grants. We can shift enterprises from start up to scaling up. We can help shift enterprises to a stage where they are ready for commercial or impact investment or larger commercial or government contracts.”

Full news announcement is here:

Further grant information is here:

Expressions of Interest for the WISE Grant are open from 3 – 21 July 2023. These will be assessed and shortlisted against the grant criteria, with organisations proceeding to a full application by invitation only.

Photo by Peter Tarasiuk