Our Grants

Group 301

Contributing to Society

Funding goal

Increasing young people’s agency by building their capacity and opportunities to drive change on the issues that matter to them most

*Agency is the ability to act, to be actively involved in shaping one’s future. Agency is what young people have when they feel in control of the things that happen around them. When they are able to make choices and decisions to influence events and have an impact on their world.

Funding outcomes

  • More organisations genuinely embed youth voices in their work
  • Young people are equipped and connected to shape better futures
  • A greater diversity and representation of young people influence decisions that affect and matter to them

WHY ‘Contributing to Society’?

Young people want to make a difference and see their impact on the world. However, they often feel undervalued and sidelined from decisions on the policies and practices that affect their lives. The young people most impacted by compounding challenges and government policy are traditionally the groups that are most under-represented.

By recognising young people as experts in their own lives, we value and encourage their contributions to society. Moreover, evidence tells us that when communities and institutions listen to and engage young people’s expertise, they do a better job of keeping up with the rapid pace of change and design more fit-for-purpose services and practices.

However, youth-led organisations that seek to increase the visibility and capacity of young people are chronically under-funded and typically rely on teams of passionate young volunteers balancing work and study commitments. Youth-focused organisations and services need resources and systems in place to listen and respond to the needs and priorities of young people.

Weave Creating Futures Cultural Camp 01

We see real opportunity in building young people’s skills, capacity and networks to create change and increase their representation and participation in all aspects of society. To enable young people to tell their own stories, engage their peers and lead their communities, meaning young people’s voices have more power and impact.

We seek to prioritise work that is youth led, co-designed and/or actively incorporates the voices of young people from design to delivery. We value initiatives that take a strengths-based approach and harness young people’s insights and lived experience.

We particularly seek to build representation of young people from rural and regional, culturally and linguistically diverse and First Nations backgrounds.

The following are examples of the types of activities that VFFF supports in this funding area to achieve priority outcomes:

  • Resourcing organisations to better listen and respond to young people’s concerns and ideas
  • Giving young people a ‘seat at the table’ within decision-making bodies
  • Supporting peer-to-peer leadership programs
  • Connecting young people to tackle issues that affect and matter to them
  • Increasing young people’s democratic engagement and civic participation
  • Creating space for young people to tell their own stories and use their voice.

VFFF does not accept unsolicited applications. We are currently giving priority to the funding pipeline that has developed through our strategic review consultation process.


“In strengthening a spirit of unity - in the family, the nation and beyond - young people have an essential part to play, and their enthusiasm needs to be used to the full. To help them appreciate their responsibilities to society, both in work and in leisure, and to guide their enthusiasm towards improving the quality of life, not only for themselves but also for others and for future generations, will serve well the whole community and the nation.”

Sir Vincent Fairfax
94th Annual Meeting of the Boys’ Brigade (Inc.), 3 December 1976

Case Studies

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition

Our Impact Australian Youth Affairs Coalition The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) is the national voice and advocate for young people. They work to ensure that young people are equally considered and included in public dialogue and policy. Their membership includes young people, youth-led and youth-focused organisations. AYAC’s historical reliance on Federal Government funding presented…
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Foundation for Young Australians – Building Young People’s Civic and Cultural Engagement

Our Impact The Foundation for Young Australians – Building Young People’s Civic and Cultural Engagement It is fitting that VFFF’s largest grant in the first year of Backing Young People should support youth leadership and civic participation – an area of interest for Sir Vincent and Lady Nancy Fairfax. The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) backs young people with the trust, resources,…
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Current Grants

The Foundation for Young Australians - supporting the Civic and Cultural Engagement Pillar and its two flagship programs - the Young Mayors Program and Student Representative Council

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition - supporting the CEO salary and employment of a Communications Manager

Little Dreamers - supporting increased capacity through employment of Chief Operations Officer and additional Family Support Workers in NSW and QLD

Youth Insearch - strengthening Youth Insearch's Young Leaders model

Ethni - building Ethni's organisational capacity and long-term sustainability

Young Change Agents - core operations funding to measure impact and strengthen diversity

Culture is Life - strengthening internal measurement and evaluation capability

Shopfront - to support Shopfront's Amplify strategy

National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN)- to emed youth voice through the NAPCAN Youth Speak Out (NYSO) advisory council

The Shepherd Centre - towards a co-design project enabling deaf and hearing-impaired young people to shape program design and delivery.

Outloud Inc - towards Outloud's Youth Advisory Group, digital leadership and fundraising support

Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good - towards one year of rental costs to provide a safe space for young people in the Cairns Region

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