2020 has brought many challenges to our nation and our world. Whilst we are grateful that our country has managed to curb the spread of COVID-19, our communities are trying to cope with the fallout from devastating bushfires, economic downturn and growing inequality.
Earlier in the year, in response to the bush fires in NSW, we contacted a past grant recipient, Bermagui Preschool, to discuss how we might help. The director spoke about the trauma the children were facing, the hardship of their parents and the damaging effects of the bushfires on the community garden that was funded many years ago. A grant for $10,000 helped to rebuild the gardens and cover costs for counselling sessions for parents, staff and children.
Coincidentally, the focus of our Social Justice Small Grants program was ‘Justice in the digital world’. When governments across Australia put their states into lockdown, this grants program provided digital devices, internet access and online assistance to ensure marginalised groups across Australia were able to stay connected and reduce isolation.
Our policy is that 100% of donations are channelled towards additional grants and the Home in a Box program. This year, the budget for Social Justice Small Grants almost doubled, funding 13 projects in communities across Australia.
The focus for Grants to End Homelessness for 2021 is ending homelessness for older women. In NSW, a woman over 70 years, facing a housing crisis, has 50,000 applications ahead of her on the social housing wait list. Our country desperately needs a transformative investment in social and affordable housing.
In 30 years, through our grants programs, the Mercy Foundation has touched thousands of lives, creating lasting change in communities across Australia. This is made possible by the hard work and concern of the many grass roots organisations and community groups, determined to make their communities fairer.
We take this opportunity to thank you for your support in 2020. We thank the Sisters of Mercy North Sydney, for daring to make their dream of a Mercy Foundation a reality and for continuing the legacy of their founder Catherine McAuley.
From all of us at the Mercy Foundation, we wish you a happy Christmas and may 2021 bring you peace and joy.
CEO, 2019 to current