The Trust disbursed three grants during our March 2017-18 financial year. This brought the number of grants given by the Trust to 13 since we awarded our first grant in December 2008, and the total amount disbursed close to $24,000. We expect this figure to rise significantly over the next three years as we increase the number of fundraising events held across Australia.
The Trust prides itself on maintaining an annual allocation to the Australia wide Network Meeting via a host Citizen Advocacy Programme. We have been doing this since 2013 and this year was no exception. The Trust was also pleased to offer a further grant to the now well established Study Group and has been delighted in witnessing the growth of interest, depth of learning and number of participants in this ongoing event. Our third grant went towards supporting a CAPE (Citizen Advocacy Programme Evaluation)
The commitment of Citizen Advocacy Programmes to regularly undertake the rigor of a CAPE is of utmost importance to the Trust, as it a key means by which Citizen Advocacy Programmes maintain their integrity and sustainability. One of the goals of the Trust is to have the capacity to offer an annual grant for this activity.
The Trust has not wavered from its resolve to award grants only to those programmes constituted to carry out Citizen Advocacy and those programmes that combine Citizen Advocacy with other types of advocacy (e.g. individual, systems) need to have a specific committee for the citizen advocacy component of their work in order to be eligible for our grants.
In fact the Trust cannot do otherwise, since the Trust’s own Constitution and Trust Deeds specify grants may only be awarded to Citizen Advocacy Programmes and is the rationale behind Grant Applicants being asked to provide a copy of their constitution alongside their grant submission.
Furthermore, any functions carried out by the Board must be in line with the Trust’s Objectives, in particular the one that speaks to supporting, promoting and safeguarding the continued existence, independence and quality of Citizen Advocacy Programmes throughout Australia. The Trust takes this mandate very seriously and firmly believes that a Citizen Advocacy Programme that has a constitution which clearly mandates Citizen Advocacy in its mission, goals and work assists that programme to retain its integrity and commitment to effective Citizen Advocacy. The Grants Committee looks for evidence that Programmes are in fact guided by the Citizen Advocacy model. The Trust looks forward to another year of grant giving and with plans afoot to step up our fundraising efforts throughout 2018/19, it means our grant levels will increase accordingly. The Trust, of course, cannot function effectively without supporters and so we invite our readers to consider becoming regular donors to ensure that the vital work of Citizen Advocacy Programmes in protecting and uplifting the lives of vulnerable people with intellectual disability continues and expands.
By Christine Venner – Westaway.