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Impact takes time, and you need friends along the way

It is common, in philanthropy circles, to use the ambulance analogy to clarify purpose: As a family, do you want your giving to support organisations that put a fence at the cliff edge to stop people falling, or back those that are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff to aid the fallen.

For those that are in the ‘fence’ camp (philanthropists eager to prevent or enable), systems change is often an area of focus.  This is the concept of supporting interventions to create the change we want to see in the world and shifting the multiple conditions that hold problems in place.

The Equity Trustees Annual Giving Review shares our commitment to enable systems change, and specifically unlocking sector potential and convening collaboration.

William Buckland Foundation is a $135m trust managed in partnership with co-trustees by Equity Trustees and in recent years, has been supporting a significant project around ending family violence.

The Family Violence Philanthropy Collaboration Project (FVPCP) set out to facilitate a cross-sector collaboration between government, philanthropy and the family violence sector in order to support systems change and the implementation of the 2016 Victorian Royal Commission recommendations into family violence.  

From March 2018, Domestic Violence Victoria (DV Vic) has worked in partnership with the project principal funders, Gandel Philanthropy, the Ross Trust and the William Buckland Foundation – and with Family Safety Victoria (FSV) in the establishment of the Project.  

The Project works at the intersection of two complex problems – the challenge of improving family violence outcomes in Victoria and the interdependent challenge of supporting a coordinated community response.

Together the FVPCP Funders Network have built their understanding of family violence issues, sector and reforms, they have found new ways to work together and are developing and delivering a highly impactful program of collaborative funding projects. 

Complex problems require coordinated responses and new ways of working together.  The Project is focused on developing and testing a hybrid approach to grant making that supports innovation and systems change through both horizontal (across organisations and sectors) and vertical integration (through community and government systems). From a philanthropic point of view, this approach is a departure from typical grant making. It requires investment in the process, and in collaboration. It also requires tolerance for risk.

A united approach leads to a more comprehensive understanding of the eco-system, identification of the key areas of need, facilitation of partnerships between experts and services that reduces duplication and improves collaboration. Initially funded to October 2019, the principal funders renewed funding based on the positive outcomes from Phase 1.

When tackling systems change and complex social issues, progress takes time and collaboration is vital.

Find out more about this project