As the term describes, this is philanthropy within a geographical area. GHF took this approach from the beginning of 2014 in order to better understand the impact of our work. Previous to this, while we had an issues focus, ie helping young people break the cycle of disadvantage, our activities were across a range of disparate initiatives that were not otherwise connected. This wide and shallow approach was helpful to a point but it was hard to aggregate the outcomes. Our approach now is deep and narrow – geographically we are working within the Mornington Peninsula and with regard to the issues, we are seeking to support people facing intergenerational disadvantage to break that cycle.
We have been guided in this process by our Deputy Chair, Andrew Fairley AM who has played a major role within Australian Philanthropy as both adviser and trustee of a number of organisations, not least the Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation of which he is currently Chair. This organisation was formed in 1965 in Shepparton on the death of Sir Andrew Fairley, Chairman and Managing Director of SPC Ardmona for over four decades, for the express purpose of benefiting the people of Shepparton. Andrew (Jnr)’s experience of philanthropy restricted to a defined geographical area had shown him what aggregated outcomes could be achieved through this placed based approach.
Focusing on a geographical area has a number of benefits, both to the Foundation and, hopefully, to the communities. We are able to develop deep, ongoing relationships with community members such that we have a better chance of understanding the issues facing the community and the reasons behind their formation; we gradually understand the relationships between organisations, the ways they work together and how we might contribute; we can work with people long term so that an arbitrary timeframe is not enforced and acknowledgement is made of the need for long term solutions to issues that have grown over the long term; we can get to know people and organisations and work at a more intense level such that initial engagements that might illicit relatively superficial outcomes can build towards bigger investments that are focused on change at a systemic level.
We are still in early days with our work on the Peninsula and we are incredibly humbled by the amazing people we have met and who have shared their stories and work with us. We’re excited to be learning more about this beautiful area of Victoria and the significant social issues that are so hidden, but also of the potential to unlock resources and support the people at the coal face who live the issues day to day and themselves have solutions in mind.
For more information on the relevant statistics for the area, please see this recent report from our GHF Director, Dr Janet Stanley.
GHF focuses on location based philanthropy in the Mornington Peninsula region. There are several areas of particular interest including Rosebud, Hastings and Frankston North.
We work with a collective of not-for-profit organisations on the Peninsula and love to bring these teams together to make connections with others in the area.