Theory of Change

//Theory of Change
Theory of Change 2017-10-04T13:43:09+00:00

“What gets measured gets improved” – Peter Drucker

At ACF, we want to keep improving on what we do, how we support our donors, our grantmaking activities and ultimately, the world we live in. This is why we have created a ToC to work in conjunction with our Strategic Plan.

ACF’s Strategic Plan contains several priorities which relate to learning, understanding and measuring the organisation’s potential for community impact. To achieve these goals, ACF’s pathway to change is focussed on:

  • Gaining a better understanding of our impact on philanthropy, donors & the community by reflecting on our levels of donor-engagement and the impacts on our grantmaking
  • Creating tighter links with our donor
    community to gain insight into their needs and explore opportunities for philanthropic development.
  • Assessing the best ways to promote and improve donor alignment to inspire greater contributions to philanthropy.
  • Measuring and evaluating ACF’s activities across
    the sector.

Download our ToC Fact Sheet to find out more.

Strategic Initiatives

To maximise our impact, ACF regularly identifies strategic funding priorities which become a focus area for future grantmaking for a defined period of time. These decisions are made through research and collaboration with the broader community, not-for-profit, philanthropic and public sectors.


MacroMelbourne towards 2030

MacroMelbourne is one of ACF’s major strategic initiatives. It is designed to ensure that Melbourne is, and continues to be, a liveable city for all its people as it faces the challenges of growth over the next 25 years.

Despite an increasing public policy focus on addressing disadvantage and increasing social inclusion, research indicates that there have been continuing and growing levels of poverty and inequality over the past decade.

Understanding that disadvantage and inequality can divide communities, the initiative aims to identify areas where philanthropic investment can contribute to creating a more equitable, sustainable and liveable Melbourne.

Want copies of the MacroMelbourne reports?
Email us at

Australian National Development Index

Australian National Development Index (ANDI)

ANDI is a major initiative that aims to create a new national model of progress. The goal is to move from a model that focuses solely on increasing economic production and wealth to one which tracks progress towards equitable and sustainable wellbeing for all Australians.

ANDI is based on the development of a new system of community-based measures of well-being, and will involve major data collection and community consultation activities. In the process, it aims to promote a national conversation and a shared vision about “What kind of Australia do we want?” and thereby help to strengthen democracy.

ACF has partnered with ANDI to increase its profile and help it scale up its activities.

Further information about ANDI is available on the ANDI website.

Youth at Risk

Youth at Risk (2005 - 2009)

Youth at Risk was the first strategic initiative ACF undertook. It had the specific aim of expanding opportunities for disadvantaged young people in danger of dropping out of the education system. It focused on ensuring these young people have continued access to vocational training and employment.

A pool of funds was created utilising funds from a number of donor sub-funds with a commitment to this area, as well as from ACF’s own resources. In order to develop our knowledge of the issues affecting young people, we brought together a working group of organisations with expertise in youth policy and on the ground service delivery.

With help from the working group, ACF ran a donor forum providing an overview of issues facing young people, and showcasing five projects active in the areas of employment, education, training and community involvement pathways for marginalised young people. Following this session proposals were sought from those organisations which had presented at the forum, for projects addressing these issues. Together with a range or other community sector, government and philanthropic organisations, known as the Youth Collaboration, ACF became involved in the development and funding of a project which was designed to improve the way that young people, particularly those leaving school early, can make a successful transition to economic independence.

Youth researchers between 15 and 19 years of age were trained and employed at three sites – Braybrook-Maidstone in the Western suburbs, Frankston and Shepparton – to gather feedback from other young people on their experience of transition pathways before and after they leave school. The information that they collected was used to inform local service providers and government departments about how they can be more responsive to young people’s need to navigate service systems and access support programs.