All organisations considering applying to VFFF are requested to read these guidelines and then contact us on (02) 9291 2727 before commencing an application.

VFFF makes grants to charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Grants between $20,000 and $50,000 are available for organisations working in NSW or Queensland. Grants above $50,000 are available for organisations working in NSW.

The following guidelines offer information to assist grant seekers determine whether their request is compatible with VFFF’s goals.

You will also find information about VFFF grant making. This is provided in the spirit of transparency and to assist grant seekers determine whether their work aligns with how VFFF works and the role it seeks to play as a grant maker. The final section details our application process.

VFFF considers requests in two areas:

  • Thriving people and places
  • Christianity

The challenge we perceive: Despite the best efforts of dedicated people, the social services system is not shifting the dial in places and within groups of people where disadvantage has persisted for decades.

The opportunity we see: New ways of doing business are needed, working alongside those experiencing the challenges, so everyone in Australia can fully participate in education and work and build the thriving future they envisage.

The diagram below articulates how VFFF sees its contribution to building thriving communities – both among people & in places. We acknowledge there are many other elements of thriving communities that intersect with those detailed here. Our funds are directed to:

  • Working together on new approaches
  • Learning & education
  • Jobs & economic development


Download guidelines for Thriving people and places

VFFF’s Founder Sir Vincent Fairfax was a committed Christian and actively involved in the Anglican Church. Christian faith was a central pillar of his life and character, providing purpose, a robust ethical framework and the basis of care for others. Today, VFFF seeks to support a spiritually rich society that values Christian faith in action.

Our Christianity funding focuses on young people, with the goal and priority outcomes noted below:

Download guidelines for Christianity

Our approach

Aiming to maximise available funds, VFFF seeks to be catalytic with its grants and:

  • Direct its funds into the grassroots of communities, where the causes and opportunities for change lie
  • Support local people to drive the changes they want for their communities (community-led)
  • Connect local people with like-minded others who can support them achieve their goals
  • Enable communities and organisations to try & test new approaches to persistent issues
  • Make investments in organisations we believe in (rather than being project-driven)
  • Support organisations at critical times of transition or development
  • Support organisations that are unable to rely on high profile fundraising
  • Support cross-sector work and collaborations

Our assessment

We work closely with organisations and groups to understand their current position and future aspirations so we can provide the most useful support we can at the opportune time. In assessing funding opportunities, we consider;

  • Is there strong leadership? – ‘doing’ leaders with vision, action and tenacity – people who are making things happen and motivating others
  • Is the organisation in good health? – sound governance, effective operational systems and financially viable
  • Is the work proposed driven by demand? – there is evidence that the work proposed is relevant and important to the people who are meant to benefit from it, and that those people have or will be genuinely involved in its development
  • Is there a sound strategy? – the work proposed is a logical and practical response to the issue and local context, and there is evidence suggesting it will be effective in these circumstances
  • Is there capacity and experience to deliver the strategy effectively? – a deep understanding of the people you seek to work with, relevant specialist skills, you are trusted by the people you seek to work with
  • Are the desired outcomes clear and demonstrable? – clarity on what will be different as a result of the grant, and mechanisms to track outcomes as you go along, allowing refinement in real time
  • Are there other financial contributions? – or a sound plan to leverage VFFF support to obtain further funding

Our grant profile

In the 2018 financial year:

  • 79% of applications to VFFF were approved
  • 71% of grants approved were multi-year commitments
  • Grants ranged from $20,000 to $5,046,496
  • 59% of funds approved were for work in regional areas
  • 84% of grants approved were for core operations or organisational capacity building

VFFF provides support that falls under the following three categories:

1. Core operations
This refers to organisational and administrative costs such as salaries and overheads that maintain the everyday operation of an organisation. VFFF primarily makes core operations grants for small to medium-sized organisations at a critical time of transition or development.

e.g. For Generate Ministries to support the growth and sustainability of the Generate chaplaincy program in NSW public schools ($525,000 over three years).
Seed funding for CareerSeekers to establish the New Australian Internship Program. ($200,000 over three years).

2. Capacity Building
Capacity building grants aim to strengthen organisations by investing in core competencies such as business or operational planning, board development and governance, management capacity, staff training, leadership development and infrastructure. This support intends to enhance the ability of an organisation to operate more effectively beyond the conclusion of the grant.

e.g. For Bible Society Australia to employ specialist digital media skills to digitise the Eternity newspaper ($269,000 over two years).
e.g. To establish the Northern Inland Aged Care Alliance, a group of nine residential care providers from New England and Northern Rivers, aiming to build viable not for profit aged care services in regional NSW communities. ($50,000).

3. Programs
This refers to costs that are directly related to the development, implementation, delivery and evaluation of a specific program or activity. Most VFFF grants under $50,000 tend to be for programs as well as some larger grants.

e.g. For the We Belong Inc. Jesus Club to provide support, training and resources for local churches to equip them to reach people with intellectual disabilities ($45,000).
e.g. For Birrang to establish the Maranguka Driving Licensing Initiative to enhance social and economic participation among Indigenous people in Bourke, NSW. ($223,832 over three years).

VFFF does not provide funding for: Public fundraising appeals, Endowment funds established to provide a corpus for institutions, Disaster appeals or Political projects and/or lobby groups.

Latest Grants

  • Australian Schools Plus
    $6,306,443 in school grants and operational funding towards the Fair Education initiative.
  • Byron Region Community College
    $415,000 towards Sourdough Business Pathways, helping build strong and sustainable businesses in the Northern Rivers region.
  • First Steps Count Foundation
    $1,650,000 towards the construction and operational setup of the First Steps Count Child and Community Centre, Taree.
  • Human Rights Law Centre
    $382,332 to boost and diversify the Aboriginal Rights Team.
  • The Social Outfit
    $130,000 towards capacity building strategies.
  • Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation
    $50,000 towards the Refugee Action Support Program, supporting refugee students with language and literacy demands in the classroom.
  • First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation
    $40,000 towards the National Indigenous Art Fair, exhibiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from 30 remote community art centres across Australia.
  • Eat Up Australia
    $48,023 towards Eat Up NSW, providing sandwiches for the young Australians who go to school every day without any lunch.
  • Best Employment
    $34,800 towards the Best Food Garden, producing and providing fresh produce to the Inverell community.
  • Queensland Youth Orchestras
    $25,000 towards the 2019 Regional Tour to North Queensland, providing concerts and workshops to regional communities.