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Small Giants

Regen Melbourne

Regen Melbourne

We are currently experiencing the convergence of three disruptive and interconnected forces: the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, rising social inequa...

australia > VIC > metro
28/07/2021 > 31/07/2022


  • Community and economic development
  • Civic engagement and leadership


  • General population


We are currently experiencing the convergence of three disruptive and interconnected forces: the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, rising social inequality, and the climate and biodiversity emergency. Our current economic paradigm does not adequately provide pathways for the transformative action needed to overcome these complex and interconnected challenges. We urgently require new community infrastructure to collaboratively rise to these challenges and more importantly seize the opportunities that are increasingly clear.

Regen Melbourne is an emerging network of individuals and organisations exploring a regenerative future for our city. Formed at the height of the COVID- 19 pandemic in 2020, the network was convened by Small Giants Academy, Circular Economy Victoria, the Coalition of Everyone and Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. Regen Melbourne is now made up of more than 800 individuals and more than 50 organisations from across sectors.

In October 2020, Regen Melbourne instigated a community engagement project with three clear purposes: to investigate the appropriateness and adaptability of the Doughnut Economics model to Melbourne’s unique context (see link below), to develop preliminary community insights around a regenerative future for Melbourne, and to explore the value of a place based collaborative network to Greater Melbourne. To achieve this, we combined the Doughnut Economics City Portrait methodology and a unique community engagement model.

Building on much great work that has come before it, including Macro Melbourne and Resilient Melbourne, this process produced the core building blocks of our collaborative network: a co-created vision for our city, a unique compass for measuring our progress and a road-map of action.

The Opportunity
Collaboration in any form is hard in an economic system that favours competition. Cross-sector collaboration is harder still. There are a range of existing networked-projects in Melbourne around themes like food (Moving Feast) and climate change (Greenhouse Alliance). However, collaboration between sectors and systems is rare and difficult. A lack of time, resourcing, visibility and leadership keeps silos in place and maintains the status quo.

Systems level collaboration requires structures and support that are rarely resourced appropriately. This type of collaboration requires a defined strategic and geographic mandate, alongside shared principles and a shared vision of the future. During our first six months of work, Regen Melbourne attracted an astonishing array of cross- sector expertise. We recognised the opportunity to harness this community to bridge the ‘system of systems’ gap across Melbourne.

Regen Melbourne is seeking philanthropic contributions between $10,000-$100,000.

*Small Giants is a registered charity and are currently confirming an auspice agreement


Regen Melbourne can become a key piece of community infrastructure: a collaborative network for the regeneration of our city. To harness the energy of the network and to fulfil the promise of the Towards a Regenerative Melbourne report, the proposal here is to establish and fund the backbone support function for Regen Melbourne. An independent and resourced backbone function is a common feature of successful place-based networks around the world. The role of this function is to:
• Coordinate four key work streams: convening, research, projects and storytelling;
• Ensure accountability to the road-map and the vision/principles;
• Manage daily operations of the network;
• Internal and external communication;
• Develop strategic partnerships; and
• Ensure appropriate resourcing and resource allocation.

Project Outcomes

1. Develop Regen Melbourne as mature, active, cross-sector and influential network;
2. Deliver the Regen Melbourne road-map;
3. Deliver a blueprint for community led collaborative networks that can be established in other locations around Australia; and
4. Deliver a blueprint for the activation of place-based, regenerative capital to support community led regeneration.

Small Giants envision a more just and inclusive global economy that supports human flourishing while living in harmony with the natural world. Small Giants Academy is a not-for-profit education initiative that – through our Programs and Storytelling – inspires and equips people to become leaders in what we call the Next Economy. Our belief in both inner transformation and systemic change guides everything we do.


TOTAL BUDGET: $700,000
Funding sourceAmount
Other philanthropic trusts & foundations (confirmed)$600,000
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$100,000
Expense itemAmount

Support Regen Melbourne

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.