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Making an impact

IMPACT100 Sydney unites and empowers individuals to give together, creating transformational local impact.

For the past six years IMPACT100 Sydney has funded specialist, local charities to dream big and transform the lives of people in need across the Greater Sydney area. Every year, more than one hundred individuals, families and businesses donate at least $1000 each to create a major grant of $100,000.

Donors then come together to decide which not-for-profit will receive the major grant and put it to work to make an extraordinary impact on Sydneysiders in need.

“Being a member of IMPACT100 Sydney allows us, as a family unit, to be part of the positive impact that the winning charities make to the local communities they are dedicated to,” say members Mark and Diane Taylor.

This year, IMPACT100 Sydney’s partner Community Bank Darling Square has committed to matching contributions dollar for dollar, giving IMPACT100 Sydney members the opportunity to provide two $100,000 grants for the very first time. Grant applications were sought from charities offering solutions that support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Greater Sydney region.

IMPACT100 Sydney is always looking for passionate people who love our great city to join their amazing giving circle. There is room for at least 13 more members to join currently, which will unlock the $100,000 matching grant from Community Bank Darling Square. Visit the IMPACT100 Sydney website to find out more.

“The IMPACT100 Sydney team are amazing people. Their passion, purpose and energy is compelling. Their belief is that change is possible and very real,” says Raymond Tai, Chairman of Community Bank Darling Square.

We spoke with the last three recipients of IMPACT100 Sydney’s annual $100K grant, to find out about the change it has made to their organisation, their confidence as community changemakers, and the lives of the people they serve.

The Reconnect Project bridges the digital divide by offering job training to neurodivergent young people

The Reconnect Project, 2022 
2022 grant recipient The Reconnect Project is Australia’s first charity and social enterprise focused on closing the digital divide in our communities. They distribute refurbished mobile technology to people who do not have access to it, while providing training and employment opportunities for neurodivergent young adults.

“The funding from IMPACT100 Sydney enabled us to develop an accredited training program for young people,” says Annette Brodie, Founder and CEO.

“They receive technical training and spend time working with us in our retail shop where they’re gaining customer service, retail operations, workplace communications and social skills.

“Without IMPACT100 Sydney’s grant we would be limping along – I was trying to do it all on my own with not enough time to manage the shopfront.

“Thanks to the funding, we have been able to employ someone to develop the entire course content and run two pilot sessions so that we can refine it as we go.”

Annette believes that the grant also helped the organisation secure $300,000 in funding from the Ian Potter Foundation this year.

“The Ian Potter Foundation funding is for three years for the continued pilot and rollout of our training. This builds on the work we’ve been able to do because of funding from IMPACT100 Sydney and the Ian & Shirley Norman Foundation. We wouldn’t have received the funding from the Ian Potter Foundation if we hadn’t already had the earlier support,” Annette says.

To date, The Reconnect Project has distributed over 2000 refurbished devices through 110 social service agencies in the Greater Sydney Area, including refugee groups, women’s shelters, homelessness agency outreach, youth outreach programs and mental health recovery initiatives.

ConFit Pathways aims to reduce recidivism for young people

SHINE for Kids and ConFit Pathways, 2021 
The major grant recipient in 2021 was SHINE for Kids in partnership with emerging charity, ConFit Pathways. The $100,000 grant enabled the partners to engage young people experiencing the justice system in personal development and mentoring. SHINE for Kids has over 10 years’ experience working with young people at risk of entering the youth justice system or who are already incarcerated.

The winning program, Stronger Pathways Together, helped young people in detention to turn their lives around and build brighter futures. The funds were divided equally between the two organisations who then worked together to achieve the program outcomes in Frank Baxter and Cobham Youth Justice centres.

IMPACT100 Sydney’s seed funding of this innovative program created momentum and helped to unlock significant Government funding to expand the program across multiple NSW juvenile justice centres, reaching 80 young people per annum.

SHINE for Kids employed a part-time lead mentor to work one-on-one with young people, mentoring them while incarcerated and continuing the support when the young people re-entered the community,” says Julianne Sanders, Executive Officer at SHINE for Kids.

“IMPACT100 believed in us, but it was also a community who believed in us”, says Joe Kwon, CEO and Founder of ConFit. “That sparked us to get more grants, more coverage, more attention and opened up so many doors.

“It wasn’t just the $100,000, it allowed us to get to the next step, to expand so much more and become a national organisation. It just created this huge snowball effect,” Joe adds.

The cost of imprisonment for a young person is $714,000 per year in Australia, so for every 80 young people that avoid re-incarceration for a year, more than $57 million can be saved for the Government and taxpayer.

“We are still supporting these young people through our other mentoring programs and also on a case-by-case needs basis. Our work doesn’t stop because the grant funding has ended,” Julianne says.

Stepping Stone House provides accommodation and personal development to help homeless and at-risk youth

Stepping Stone House, 2020 
Established in 1989, Stepping Stone House provides accommodation and personal development to help homeless and at-risk youth become independent and live happy, healthy lives.

The grant they received in 2020 allowed them to kickstart their Independent Living Program, which supports young people who are transitioning from residential care to more independent living.

“Our Independent Living Program, which IMPACT100 Sydney funded, is for young people who have been through the semi-independent living program or have joined us with some level of independence and they’re now out in the community in either private rentals or subsidised housing,” says Daniel Hockey, Partnerships Coordinator at Stepping Stone House.

“We provide them with all the casework and wrap-around support that they would get in our homes, but it’s necessary for them to have that out in the community.

“This program is a huge differential for us. It’s actually quite rare for an organisation to run a program like this. Government Care in NSW up until very recently stopped when a young person turns 18 and then they’re put into the mainstream welfare programs.”

For context, the average age that a young person from a working-class family leaves their parent or family home is 24. For young people to find themselves alone from ages 18 to 21 is a huge contributor to homelessness. Having a program like this that supports them through this transition period is so crucial.

“Research shows that when young people leave care at 18, if they’re not supported beyond that, 60 per cent of them end up experiencing homelessness again within a year. There are also high rates of incarceration, unplanned pregnancies, and hospitalisations in these cohorts,” Daniel says.

“But now we have young people graduating into that program and they’re getting targeted employment support that’s not just about getting a job – it’s about sustainable employment.

“We work with companies to provide employment frameworks that cater for their complex trauma needs or their therapeutic needs. It helps give them the confidence to put together a resume and apply for a job. It also helps them to finish their study, connect with a psychologist or with services when they’ve got a rental dispute for instance, which has been particularly helpful in the housing crisis.”

Stepping Stone House has applied again this year for the IMPACT100 Sydney grant and is aiming to expand the current program which the initial grant helped support. They are also advocating for the age of out-of-home care to be extended from age 18 to 21, to allow young people to receive the support they need to transition successfully.

For more information and to join the IMPACT100 Sydney giving circle, visit here.

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