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Author: Greater Charitable Foundation

A year of greater giving

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate impact on all of us.

However, few parts of the community were hit harder than the charitable sector, including many of Greater Charitable Foundation’s charity partners.

However, the response from the charities was swift as they either innovated the way in which their services were delivered or pivoted their service offering to meet changing needs.

Greater Charitable Foundation reinforced its commitment to its partners by providing more than $500,000 in funding assistance as they adapted to the new and ever-changing constraints created by COVID-19.

According to Greater Charitable Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Anne Long, the way in which their partners adapted to ensure they continue to serve their communities was inspiring.

“The impacts of COVID-19 on our partners was significant making our increased and ongoing financial support critical,” Anne said.

“We are incredibly proud of the work all our partners have undertaken this year to evolve their businesses and maintain their focus on providing their communities with much needed support.”

Here’s how the partners adapted and refocused their programs with the assistance of the Foundation’s funding.

Hunter Medical Research Institute’s (HMRI) MIDAS2 post stroke fatigue trial was placed on hold due to social distancing restrictions and community lockdowns. Funding of $180,000 from the Foundation was used to conduct the trial through a telehealth service model. This also allowed HMRI to expand the reach of the program to participants in regional and rural areas where the burden of stroke is more significant than in metropolitan areas and where patients often don’t have the same access to clinical trials and specialised care.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s (CPA) Early Response Therapy Program provides targeted interventions for babies at-risk of developing cerebral palsy at a pivotal point in their development, which can reduce the severity and impact of disability for each child. Like HMRI, CPA was forced to move to telehealth to provide at-risk babies and their families with life-changing treatment and support from the safety of their homes. This was made possible through our additional funding commitment of $61,000. Since August 2019, our funding has provided 79 families with access to this specialised program.

The pandemic had an immediate impact on many families across our area of operation, which resulted in a growing need for food relief. In an effort to meet this demand, food rescue service and long-time foundation partner, OzHarvest, redeployed our funding to provide more than 3,000 nutritious Food Essential Boxes to vulnerable families and households in the Hunter Region and on the Gold Coast. The food boxes included fresh produce and pantry staples, with easy-to-follow recipe cards, that could feed a family of four for a week.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW to make significant changes to their programs to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the families of seriously ill children. It also severely impacted their capacity to fundraise, which they rely heavily on to support its operations. An additional funding commitment of more than $82,000 allowed them to provide 555 nights’ accommodation for 82 families from June through September.

The University of Newcastle was initially forced to postpone its Healthy Youngsters, Healthy Dads program due to social distancing restrictions. However, an additional $55,000 in funding enabled them to relaunch and conduct a COVID-safe community program during the last two months of the year that has catered for more than 80 dads and their youngsters.

Having seen an increase in demand for intensive one-on-one support as a result of isolation, Youth Off The Streets used their additional funding of more than $25,000 to provide staff with resources to assist students during lockdown and as they returned to school.

KidsXpress was forced to put their trauma-informed professional development workshops for educators on hold once the pandemic hit. As a result, our funding was redeployed to support their School Partnership Program that provided a Trauma-Informed Counsellor to work in-school with students who required specialised assistance.

We also continued to provide support to our other existing Foundation partners.

Our support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation since 2018 has in turn funded a Child Life Therapy Program at Gold Coast University Hospital to help counteract the fears, misconceptions and anxiety that hospital experiences can provoke for children.

Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation’s (ALNF) Early Language and Literacy (EL&L) Program incorporates speech and language pathology principles, designed to optimise the language and literacy outcomes of disadvantaged Indigenous children within the Taree community.

Greater Charitable Foundation will celebrate its 10th year of giving in 2021. We look forward to announcing details in the New Year regarding how we’ll recognise this important milestone by doing more of what we do best; providing funding to support our community.