Grant strategies to build nonprofit capacity

Notes for Nonprofits on the 2017/18 Budget


Author: Kate Sunners



Points of interest for many nonprofits in the Federal Budget papers last night... Here they are, gleaned from the glossies.


Another round of the Building Better Regions Fund is promised, with $200 million further being allocated.
$24 million is going to Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships. 9.1 million to mental health services through the telehealth program for regional Australians.
There are also hints that some of the responsibility for regional skilling and job creation will be moved to local councils.


Almost half of the Budget’s $165 million for mental health support and prevention funding is earmarked for community psychosocial services. (The Budget also features random drug testing for new welfare recipients. Strange fellows to share the budget bed).

$50 million is marked for veteran mental health and $15 milllion for mental health research initiatives at Orygen, the Black Dog Institute and the Thompson Institute.
Medical research funding of $65.9 million and $5.8 million for childhood cancer research were also announced.

Homelessness and Social Housing

Social housing gets a mention in this budget, with mention of funding arrangements through States and Territory to meet affordable and social housing targets.
$375 million has been earmarked to provide funding certainty to providers of homelessness services. And a promised $10 million over 10 years will go towards social impact projects targeted at reducing homelessness.

Social Impact Investing

The Government are doing some interesting things with alternative funding methods. This budget features establishment of a National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to ‘operate an affordable housing bond aggregator’ as well as tax incentives to increase private investment in affordable housing. For those to whom the words ‘bond aggregator’ mean little, it’s a model that’s previously been implemented in the UK and Switzerland. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has the explanation: a bond aggregator amasses “large amounts of capital from the bond market so as to provide lower interest, long-term loans to not-for-profit community housing providers…” It operates similarly to a social impact bond in a long term, low risk bond in which investors are guaranteed repayments by the Government should the community housing providers not be capable of repayment. (More information at:

However, interestingly, AHURI also mentions that these bonds are only a functional model for housing for people who are still capable of renting in the private rental market (bond houses are charged at 80% or less market rate rent).

As in the last Budget, the message of funding for outcomes and increasing interest in social impact investment are strong in the 2017/18 Budget, a big hint to organisations to move to outcomes and social impact measurements!

Check out the glossies at: