From the CEO to our Community

Covid-19 – A time for community and philanthropy leadership.

Most of us have never lived through a time when the whole nation feels the impact of serious health and economic risk. It is vital we all hold onto hope.

Sydney Community Foundation, Sydney Women’s Fund and Be Kind Sydney will continue to do our work raising funds and providing donors a tax deductible platform for giving that will directly reach people most in need in our city.

It’s a time for all of us to be kind to others and to look after ourselves, our families and communities.

We know vulnerable people in our community have fewer choices and will be impacted more than others.

Our small team is working remotely, mastering zoom and tele-conferencing to stay in touch with the local programs we support and with donors.

We intend to make grants in May and June as usual, and will be flexible with reporting requirements if charity resources are stretched. For some donors and services we are exploring more urgent funding responses.

Cancelled Events
Sadly, we must postpone the annual philanthropy event the 2020 Maybanke Lecture at Sydney Customs House on April 1 2020, as Sharan Burrow AC cannot fly from Europe at this time.

The annual John Skipper Kelly Fund Dinner on May 2 must also be postponed.

The economic impact caused as a consequence of the virus is already devastating invested savings and the jobs of many and charities report volunteers are staying home.

Communities need us now more than ever
Challenging to all of us who believe in the work we do at Sydney Community Foundation is the reality of women and families struggling despite Sydney’s good life. And now the crisis will just add to this acute need.

The local charities we support in disadvantaged areas will be key to responding with basic and complex support. We’ve been in touch with many partners and they are already suffering blocks to running services to disengaged young people as community gathering stops and facilities close; less food is being delivered to the village pantry we support in Bankstown.

Food programs are continuing but some supplies are challenging and our local leaders are doing their best to secure these basic items.

As we face the daily challenges of Covid – 19 so do the charities and those they are assisting. New social distance policies are in place and many classes are now cancelled. Where possible they are moving online like the women’s sewing group now meeting on What’s App.

For some our charity partners offer safe harbour for people who are not safe at home. For these people, programs are still going at a reduced capacity with strict hygiene measures in place. We are keeping in touch with our partners and will continue to do so.

A message to donors and charity partners
We’ve just launched Inspiring Your Giving 2020. These 52 needed programs from food security to education pathways, Indigenous projects early childhood and programs for women all still need funding. We won’t let our communities down and will continue to fundraise and stand by local charities.

We are innovating with major philanthropy partners for live pitch fundraising to now take place online, allowing giving to continue.

The Foundation is open and responsive to calls from donors and charity partners.

Our first job is to listen to our communities.

We are here to advise on giving and critical need
We are already guiding services and donors. We are here if you want to talk to us about the situation you’re facing, or how you’d like to support others in our community. We must prepare for this situation to continue for some months.

As we work to master the challenges of the remote work place and much more phone time, philanthropy can enable a community response to this unprecedented threat that so many in our community are facing.

We will quickly direct resources to the vulnerable people.

Be Kind Sydney – Responding to Covid-19
We are considering taking donations to direct to medical research to donors who want to give on this issue through our Be Kind Sydney DGR 1 fund.

If you would like to speak with us about how your funds can be directed where you want them to go to address the local COVID-19 relief effort, please contact Caroline Fonda who leads our engagement team on 0431 747 031 or on caroline.fonda [at]

We need the kindness of our donors more than ever.

We’ll share stories of hope and kindness from our city, some digital chicken soup as we spend time away from friends and colleagues.

Philanthropy, community and government must find a way through the Covid–19 crisis together.

The board and team at your community foundation wish our charity and philanthropy partners well with the challenges to your inspiring work. We thank our donors for your thoughtful giving as an agency for change.

Take Care during this challenging time. We hope you and those closest to you stay healthy and positive as we look to better times.

With very best wishes,

Jane Jose CEO
Sydney Community Foundation | Sydney Women’s Fund | Be Kind Sydney