Social Justice Small Grants Criteria

The Mercy Foundation’s Social Justice Small Grants Program provides seed funding to assist communities and organisations to build capacity that will help create structural change and bring about greater social justice in Australia. The Mercy Foundation seeks to create greater social equity and inclusion in the Australian community.

Grant amounts range from $1,000 to $10,000.

The closing date for grant applications is Monday 21 March 2022.

The Mercy Foundation’s Social Justice Small Grants Program provides seed funding to assist communities and organisations to build capacity that will help create structural change and bring about greater social justice in Australia.

1. Area of focus: Poverty

Source: ACOSS, https://povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/poverty/#what-is-poverty

Everybody should have enough money or resources for the basic needs of life, such as enough food for oneself and for one’s family; a roof over one’s head; and resources to cover clothing, education and health expenses.

Poverty is a relative concept used to describe the people in a society that cannot participate in the activities that most people take for granted. While many Australians juggle payments of bills, people living in poverty have to make difficult choices – such as skipping a meal to pay for a child’s textbooks.[i]

ACOSS and UNSW produced a report in 2020 on Poverty in Australia 2020. It found that:

  • There are 3.24 million people (13.6%) living below the poverty line of 50% of median income – including 774,000 children (17.7%) and 424,800 young people (13.9%).
  • In dollar figures, this poverty line works out to $457 a week for a single adult living alone; or $960 a week for a couple with 2 children.
  • More than one in eight adults and more than one in six children are living in poverty.
  • Many of those affected are living in deep poverty – the average ‘poverty gap’ (the difference between the incomes of people in poverty in various types of families and the poverty line) is $282pw.

This year, the priority will be on projects that help address poverty for marginalised groups in the community. Examples include projects that address unemployment, literacy, education and inclusion.

2. General Criteria

The following criteria will be used to assess Social Justice Small Grant applications:

Priority is given to:

  • Innovative projects that require seed funding to increase social equity and inclusion and challenge unjust structures and systems
  • Projects that target disadvantaged women and/or women with children
  • Small to medium organisations with a turnover of less than $500,000 with limited access to other funding sources

Applications are accepted for projects that are run wholly within Australia, by community-based groups or organisations based in Australia.

Organisations applying for funds must be a legal entity (or auspiced by a legal entity), not-for-profit and therefore exempt from income tax, but are not required to have Deductible Gift Recipient status.

Social Justice Small Grants are not available to fund:

  • Core (normal) operating costs of applicant organisations
  • Vehicles
  • For-profit organisations
  • Private individuals
  • Projects that require recurrent funding
  • General fundraising appeals
  • Research
  • Deficit funding
  • Duplication of existing services
  • Organisations that have, or have access to, significant government or other funding
  • Government entities
  • Projects that do not meet the identified goals and priorities of the Mercy Foundation.

 3. Other considerations:

  • Organisations must have a safeguarding policy in place prior to funding (refer to the ACNC website for more information).
  • The objectives of the project must be clear and measurable.
  • Organisations must demonstrate capacity to implement and manage the project.
  • Organisations need to explain how a project will continue if the key person (who might be a board member, staff member or volunteer organiser) leaves the project while it is still being implemented.
  • The application should include how the project will be evaluated and what developments or future actions will come from the project.
  • Applications require the completion of the appropriate application form and a brief description of the organisation and an annual report or similar document to substantiate the organisation’s status.
  • Applicants must provide referees who can vouch for the organisation’s competencies and the project’s viability.

The applications will be assessed and prioritised for funding according to the above criteria, with consideration given to ensuring there is a fair representation of projects from different states across Australia.

Please contact the Mercy Foundation on 02 9911 7390 or email office@mercyfoundation.com.au if you have any questions about grant eligibility guidelines.

[i] https://povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/poverty/#what-is-poverty