Rona Glynn-McDonald: ‘We want to rewrite the story of wealth and funding’

Fri, 1 Sep 2023

An innovative funding platform, First Nations Futures, has been launched that gives everyone in Australia the opportunity to provide unrestricted funds for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-driven initiatives. As efforts towards truth-telling and justice gain momentum, the platform hopes to help allocate funding into spaces that are under-resourced and create intergenerational impact for community and Country.

First Nations Futures (FNF), which is First Nations-led and launched last month, was established to respond to the economic barriers that First Nations people face within funding systems.  

There are currently few avenues for First Nations initiatives to receive sustainable long-term funding that responds to their needs and priorities. Philanthropy Australia’s data says that “in Australia, only 0.5% of philanthropic funding goes to First Nations communities”.  

Director and Kaytetye woman, Rona Glynn-McDonald, says: “We’re rewriting the story of wealth and funding in Australia. For too long, funding systems and capital allocation has been determined by non-Indigenous people. Because of this, our on-the-ground and interconnected solutions have not had the resourcing they deserve.”  

As efforts towards truth-telling and justice gain momentum, FNF recognises that there are many people living in Australia who are looking for ways to address injustices and repair the wrongs of the past and present.  

“Since launching at the start of August 2023, we’ve seen many people in Australia look to First Nations Futures as a pathway to locate their responsibility as non-Indigenous people and redistribute wealth to First Nations initiatives and priorities. It’s exciting to see the platform be received so well – but this is just the beginning. We are now calling on individuals, corporate and philanthropy in Australia to collectively invest in our growing network of partner initiatives who are driving change in their communities,” Rona says. 

First Nations Futures Director and Kaytetye woman, Rona Glynn-McDonald

FNF creates the opportunity for meaningful and sustainable funding for initiatives that are under-resourced and creating impact for community and Country.  

Rachel Kerry, from CAGES Foundation, says: “All people living in Australia have an obligation, and opportunity, to shift power and resources into First Nations hands at scale. It’s important that we back solutions that are led by First Nations communities who are the experts of their own affairs.”  

The platform features a growing network of First Nations partners that align to FNF’s impact model, which focuses on strengthening and investing in future generations. Each funding commitment made through the platform gets allocated equally to FNF’s partners to support their community-led solutions.  

One of FNF’s partners is Brother to Another, a Darwin-based organisation doing work to create systems change within the youth justice system and support young First Nations men who have been, or are at-risk of being incarcerated.  

Founder and CEO, Jye Cardona, Kungarakan, Bardi and Buranggum man, says: “The importance of First Nations Futures is that it creates funding pathways for community-led initiatives like ours to be self-determined. With the power being placed in our hands, we can confidently pursue our priorities, longer-term strategies and respond to the direct needs and voices of our community.”  

Visit First Nations Futures to learn more.