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Media Release

Bank of Melbourne community grants exceed $2 million

8 September 2017

Bank of Melbourne’s Neighbourhood Fund will donate its $2 millionth dollar to a local charity this month, with nine local charities sharing $370,000 in its largest-ever funding round.

The latest grants will be used to build a community bike hub; deliver an English program to refugees and asylum seeker women; support an indigenous educational program; enhance water safety; offer basic literacy materials to disadvantaged children and new mothers; equip young women with life skills; provide safe and affordable housing; and purchase a rescue vehicle for natural disasters.

Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Michelle Winzer said the generosity of Bank of Melbourne’s community meant the $2 million milestone had been reached four years after the Neighbourhood Fund was established.

“Thanks to the combined efforts of Bank of Melbourne’s customers, suppliers and partners, Neighbourhood Fund has donated more than $2 million to 84 grassroots organisations over the past four years, with this money helping 300,000 Victorians in need,” Ms Winzer said.

“We’re delighted to support the hard work of local charities that are making a difference in their communities every day.”

The latest funding round will improve the lives of disadvantaged Victorians by supporting:

1. Good Cycles – Dandenong: $50,000

Using a 2016 Neighbourhood Fund grant, Good Cycles established a shipping container bike shop and training facility on the water front in Docklands. The Bike Hub has become a place to develop the organisation’s social franchise model, which helps young people secure employment. This year’s grant will be used to build a similar Bike Hub in Dandenong, where the unemployment rate is significantly higher than the state and national average.

2. River Nile Learning Centre – Metro Melbourne: $47,900

River Nile Learning Centre provides young refugee and asylum seeker women with important skills to help them equally participate in the community. The grant will be used to engage a Social Worker to lead the English Foundation Program, improving the language and reading skills of some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.

3. Aboriginal Literacy Foundation – Ballarat, Hamilton, Heywood & Portland: $26,000

The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation aims to bring indigenous literacy levels in line with the non-indigenous population. The grant will be used to expand the success of the foundation’s indigenous tutoring program in the western outer metropolitan areas to Western Victoria by providing staff and equipment.

4. Coast Guard Werribee VF10 – Port Phillip Bay: $17,997

Coast Guard Werribee VF10 provides safety and search and rescue services to the community that uses 400 square kilometres of Port Phillip Bay for work and recreation. The grant will be used to buy a specialised thermal imaging camera to enable night time search and rescue.

5. Western Chances – Western Melbourne: $50,000

Western Chances assists young people in Melbourne’s west to realise their potential, by providing scholarships, opportunity programs and ongoing support. This grant will enable around 55 young people to afford educational and job training costs such as text books, stationery, laptops, calculators, specialist music or dance tuition and public transport.

6. Women’s Property Initiative – Greater Melbourne: $50,000

This not-for-profit, registered housing provider has been developing safe, secure and affordable housing for at-risk women and children since 1996. This grant will help employ an additional full-time Property Manager to accommodate the development of the business and fuel further growth.

7. Reading Out of Poverty – City of Greater Dandenong: $40,000

Reading out of Poverty used a Neighbourhood Fund grant in 2013 to buy literacy resources, train volunteers and develop community partnerships for its Next Generation Reading program for newly-arrived migrants and refugees. This grant will be used to translate an educative book and accompanying early literacy materials for new mothers into 10 languages, as well as film online tutorials and run playgroups.    

8. Life Changing Experiences Foundation – Hoppers Crossing: $36,300

Life Changing Experiences Foundation supports and educates young girls who have experienced trauma and abuse or come from particularly disadvantaged low socioeconomic circumstances. This grant will be used to deliver a series of workshops to 300 Year 7 students, equipping them with crucial life skills in an environment fostering self-worth and empowerment.

9. VIC SES Leongatha Unit – Leongatha and surrounds: $50,000

This volunteer-based organisation responds to natural disasters and works to ensure the safety of the local community. This grant will help purchase a purpose-built rescue and storm truck that can be used for the next 10-15 years in Leongatha and the surrounding Gippsland community.

The last funding round for 2017 is open now, closing on 15 September 2017. For more information about the Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund or to apply for grants of up to $50,000 in this funding round, visit