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Annual Report 2020/21

Our Strategy

The Victorian National Parks Association established the National Parks Community Fund at Australian Communities Foundation to support its work in protecting Victoria’s unique national parks and conservation reserves, including Wombat Forest pictured here. Photograph: Sandy Scheltema.

Annual Report 2020/21

Our Strategy

Creating a fairer and more sustainable Australia

In 2020/21, the Foundation took significant steps forward across the five pillars of our strategy for a fairer and more sustainable Australia.

Activating a nation of givers

At Australian Communities Foundation, we connect those with the resources and capacity to give with the organisations working towards a fairer and more sustainable Australia. 

Over the past 12 months, we welcomed 100+ givers to our community through the establishment of 40 funds and foundations. We also supported 10 trusts and foundations through our Foundation Support Services. 

We’re working to help grow giving in Australia by continuing to make philanthropy easy and accessible. 

Go back to Our Community to learn more about the people who give with Australian Communities Foundation. 

Australian Communities Foundation supports over 1,000 everyday Australians to support the causes they care about most.
WithOneSeed, a Future Fund holder at Australian Communities Foundation, runs the largest community-led forestry program in Timor-Leste.

Tackling social, environmental and cultural injustice

We continue to make significant progress across our five key focus areas. While we saw an uptick this year in giving towards Tackling Inequality – largely in response to the pandemic – we didn’t lose sight of our other focus areas.

Our flagship initiative, the Impact Fund, continued to facilitate collective funding in 2020/21 for issues of national significance. The introduction of public giving to the 2020 Large Grants round was a key milestone, enabling more Australians to give through the Impact Fund. 

Go to back to Our Impact to learn more about our giving in 2020/21. 

Investing for impact

In 2020/21, we successfully met our target of 100 per cent of our portfolio being responsibly invested. We also celebrated a key achievement in this space: becoming the first philanthropic foundation in Australia to sign on to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. 


We also announced the Foundation’s first impact investments in 2020/21. 

Side by Side Social Impact Bond: A partnership between Berry Street Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, Side by Side SIB funds educational programs to improve the engagement and learning outcomes of young students. 

Infradebt: Aligning with our focus on safeguarding the environment, Infradebt funds new solar and wind energy infrastructure. 

Download the Annual Report 2020/21 for more details on investment performance.

Infradebt, one of ACF’s first two impact investments, is building new solar and wind energy infrastructure in alignment with our work to safeguard the environment.
Sophie Doyle, Foundation SA’s Philanthropy and Engagement Manager presents to guests at the launch of the new community foundation in May 2021.

Supporting, enabling and amplifying impact

The launch of our Foundation Support Services has enabled us to provide grantmaking and infrastructure support to other trusts and foundations. 

Working in partnership with the Wyatt Trust, Australian Communities Foundation designed and established Foundation SA in 2021 – Australia’s first new community foundation in five years. 

Australian Communities Foundation will continue to provide backbone services to Foundation SA until it grows to a size where it has built a sustainable corpus to allow it to transition to become a public ancillary fund in its own right. 

Read the full story for more details on how we’re supporting Foundation SA.

Building ACF culture, capability and sustainability


While Covid-19 kept us all apart for most of the year, the ACF team was supported to stay connected through team building activities and workshops focused on supporting mental health. 

ACF kept its focus on healthy working practices from home as extended lockdowns became a reality for our team in Melbourne. As we pushed to meet our quality and growth goals set in easier times, we added in laughter, work flexibility and lots of celebration of one another’s achievements. ACF’s values of courage and agency were on display daily from our team. 

In a break between lockdowns, the team had the opportunity to get together and volunteer at FareShare’s charity kitchen in Melbourne. 

Read the full story


In 2021, we transitioned to a new integrated system from world-leading database provider for community foundations, Foundant Technologies.

As part of the transition, we launched a new online portal for our giving community, enabling fundholders to donate to their funds, request grants, and view fund balances and statements all in the one place. We also developed a new online portal for grant partners that streamlines our grantmaking processes and reduces administrative burden on partners.

Read the full story

The ACF team volunteers at the FareShare kitchen in Melbourne. FareShare rescues surplus food and cooks free, nutritious meals for people doing it tough.

Annual Report 2020/21

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