Education is a key funding area for philanthropists who wish to assist in closing the gaps of equity, social participation, employment, and intergenerational disadvantage. This give list outlines charities focused on bettering educational outcomes in Australia across the early childhood, schooling, adult education and tertiary levels, as well as extra-curricular and support programs.
If you are interested in funding in the education space and aren’t sure how to narrow down the options, it can be worth considering the following:
While the entities listed below are all known to APS, we do not conduct a detailed analysis of their financial position and governance ahead of their inclusion in this list. This is not an exhaustive list of the not-for-profit organisations working in this space.
Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF)
ALNF was established in 1999 by speech pathologist Mary-Ruth Mendel. It is dedicated to raising language, literacy and numeracy standards in Australia, because being able to read and write is the key to accessing education and employment and to participating fully in society. People who have difficulty reading and writing suffer from shame, poor self-esteem and negative life experiences. ALNF’s programs for marginalised communities include early learning and literacy, refugee literacy support and Indigenous first language programs. They also provide literacy packs and books to disadvantaged communities and run programs around storytelling, the arts and literacy.
Australian Schools Plus
Schools Plus exists to help close the education gap caused by disadvantage. Schools Plus works with teachers and schools in disadvantaged areas to empower them with funding, coaching and resources to implement initiatives that will help their students succeed. Schools Plus exists to help students succeed at school, specifically students who face extra barriers to succeeding, whether that be due to their rural location, their socio-economic background, having English as a secondary language or because they have additional needs. In the last 5 years, Schools Plus has directed over $26m in funding to support strategic school projects that help students succeed. Examples of programs include:
- The Smart Giving program provides schools across Australia with support for a variety of 12–18-month projects in areas such as STEM, mental health and wellbeing, and literacy and numeracy.
- Fair Education funds projects encouraging family and community engagement, over an initial three-year period, with a view to creating lasting change for the participating schools, their students and local community.
- The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards celebrate and acknowledge the pivotal role that great teachers play in closing the education gap.
Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO)
AYO has a reputation for being one of the world’s most prestigious and innovative training organisations for young pre-professional musicians. It nurtures the musical development of Australia’s finest young instrumentalists across metropolitan and regional Australia: from the gifted school-aged student, to emerging artists on the verge of a professional career. AYO offers tailored training and performance programs each year for aspiring musicians, composers, music journalists and arts administrators aged 12 to 30.
City East Community College
City East Community College is a nonprofit adult learning organisation in the heart of Sydney’s East. Their vision is in the value of lifelong learning. Since 1952, the College has been providing a place for all members of the community to learn more, enhance their skills and pursue their interests through quality education. In addition to delivering courses in various areas, it links skilled migrants and refugees to volunteer mentors to create pathways to meaningful employment. Mentoring takes place over the course of six months, with a minimum of two sessions per month, including via phone, email and face-to-face contact.
Country Education Foundation (CEF)
CEF helps rural and regional youth access education, training and jobs through grants, scholarships, support services and resources. They create and support a network of local foundations, as run by dedicated volunteers across the country through which grants and community support to young people living in rural and regional areas to pursue their education and career goals so they can continue their education and training. They also support and mentor students throughout their studies or apprenticeships.
CS in Schools
CS in Schools is a non-profit organisation based in Australia that aims to inspire and educate students in computer science and computational thinking. The organisation provides free resources and workshops for teachers and students in primary and secondary schools to help them develop skills in coding, algorithms, and other computer science topics. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) partners with CS in Schools to support their mission of promoting computer science education in schools. RMIT provides funding, resources, and expertise to help CS in Schools develop and deliver their programs to schools across Australia.
Note: CS in Schools operates independently under the auspices of RMIT.
Victorian-based Ganbina mentors young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, from six to 25 years old, to ensure they gain the education, skills and life experiences they need to unlock their full potential. The program includes learning support, life skills training, cultural appreciation, career guidance and financial assistance.
Ganbina strives to empower young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to achieve their full potential and thus live rewarding, fulfilling and independent lives as adults. Ganbina graduates act as powerful ‘Agents of change’ in their own communities. They inspire and lead their families, friends and communities to unlock their own potential through education, training and employment.
The long term aim of Ganbina is that education, training and employment become widespread in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. As a result, young people achieve true social and economic equality with all Australians.
KickStart for Kids
KickStart For Kids is a nonprofit organisation in SA, assisting disadvantaged school children achieve positive educational outcomes and increased self-esteem. KickStart for Kids currently provides a breakfast and lunch program to approximately 8,000 primary school children throughout SA, of which more than 3,000 are considered at risk. The program’s key objectives are improving attendance, behaviour and learning outcomes for these kids, through the delivery of its school breakfast and lunch programs, mentoring programs and their Camp KickStart school holiday care program.
Public Education Foundation
PEF is a NSW-based nonprofit organisation that aims to promote and support the quality of the public education system in Australia. PEF achieves this by distributing scholarships to students; grants to teachers and schools in demonstrable need; and through its advocacy for excellence in Australia’s public education system.
Established in 2008, PEF has united educators, corporate organisations, the Australian Education Union and all tiers of the Australian Government to agitate for better outcomes within the public education system. PEF has a clear ability to influence policymakers, raise public awareness and build support for reform, as evidenced by its initiation of the Gonski Review in 2010, together with other education advocacy groups.
Raise Foundation – Together 4 Youth Collective (T4Y)
Together 4 Youth (T4Y) is a unique collaboration of social and emotional learning (SEL) providers, backed by a consortium of philanthropic funders, who have joined together to improve the delivery of programs into schools across Australia.
T4Y addresses the need for a coordinated and streamlined approach through 14 SEL providers, with the aim of better preparing young people to face the challenges of moving through school and transitioning into further education or employment. T4Y does so by providing a whole of schooling journey for students’ SEL needs throughout Years 7-12, information sharing between SEL providers, coordinating and streamlining processes so that schools have minimum administration requirements, and working with schools to create evaluation tools that suit the needs and requirements of both schools and service providers.
To view the network of current SEL providers, click here.
Save the Children
Save the Children’s Australian Services are dedicated to supporting children in Australia to reach their full potential. Their vision is for all Australian children to have the capabilities, connections and confidence for success in their future – regardless of background, location or circumstances. Their work focuses on ensuring that children and young people are set up to participate and engage in learning; families are providing positive, safe and supportive home environments, and that communities are strong, connected and safe.
One of their programs is the ‘Hands on Learning’ program. Hands on Learning is a practical school-based program that runs in more than 100 primary and secondary schools across Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. The program increases student achievement by creating opportunities for young people to discover their talents and experience success through practical learning out of the classroom.
The Story Factory supports young people to have the skills and confidence to tell their stories. Based in Parramatta and Redfern and established in July 2012, Story Factory’s programs are created for young people aged 7 to 17 who are Indigenous, have English as an additional language or dialect or are from under-resourced communities – in other words the young people who have the least access to writing programs.
Supported by a community of expert storytellers and volunteer writing tutors, young people are empowered to create original stories of all kinds. They develop the skills and confidence to find their voice and shape the future.
With NAPLAN results demonstrating a decline in writing skills among young people, exacerbated by Covid-19 lockdowns and especially true in under-resourced communities, Story Factory’s programs are especially important. Story Factory measures success through improved literacy and writing skills, increased enjoyment of writing and storytelling, improved ability to make effective critical and creative decisions, and greater ability to generate and share original ideas.
Teach for Australia
Teach for Australia’s mission is to recruit Australia’s future leaders into the classroom and inspire, connect and empower them to a lifetime of action towards educational equity. Teach For Australia is dedicated to working in areas of need, helping break the cycle of educational disadvantage and ensuring Australia fulfils its aspiration to be a land of opportunity for all. It does this by recruiting talented future teachers and placing them in schools where support is most needed. Educational disadvantage affects early in life: almost one third of children from the lowest socioeconomic households start school unprepared in at least one key area of child development, such as language or cognitive skills. This gap is often sustained and sometimes widens over the course of a child’s education. Teach for Australia believes that by recruiting the right teachers into the right schools this gap can be narrowed.
The Girls and Boys Brigade (GBB)
Based in Surry Hills, NSW, GBB provides recreation activities, education support and opportunities to develop life skills for disadvantaged inner-city children and youth aged 5-18 years. These programs focus on educational support, recreation, life skills, vocational workshops and tailored assistance for family challenges. GBB’s support starts in primary school and continues until high school, assisting children and young people as they navigate through the big changes in life. Through early intervention and a holistic service model, GBB is equipped to respond quickly to the changing needs of participating families. This helps children, youth and their families to deal positively with life’s challenges and improve their long-term outcomes in the areas of education, employment, health and wellbeing.
The Smith Family
The Smith Family is an independent children’s charity helping disadvantaged Australian children to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves. It is one of Australia’s largest national education-oriented charities. They support disadvantaged Australian children to participate fully in their education, giving them the best chance at breaking the cycle of disadvantage. They run learning support and mentoring programs to help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their peers, and build aspirations for a better future for themselves.
The Learning for Life program provides emotional, practical and financial support to help disadvantaged children and young people with their education. The support starts in the early years of learning development and continues through primary and high school. The programs, including financial literacy, technology, arts and learning clubs help build skills, knowledge, motivation, self-belief and a network of positive relationships with parents, peers and significant others. This support increases a young person’s likelihood of remaining engaged with school, completing Year 12 and developing realistic and informed study and career pathways for life beyond the school gate.
The Song Room (TSR)
TSR brings specially trained music or arts teachers to deliver music and arts programs to the most disadvantaged school children around Australia. Independent external evaluations have found that the Song Room programs increased students’ literacy and numeracy skills and school attendance, improved their social and emotional wellbeing and ability to concentrate, and improved the children’s engagement with learning. The Song Room is the first Australian recipient of the prestigious ‘World Innovation Summit for Education’ award for its outstanding contribution to global innovation in education. They are developing ambitious prospects to sustainably imbed their programs in the DNA of the schools they work with to ensure long-term outcomes for students.
Variety The Children’s Charity
Variety The Children’s Charity is a national nonprofit organisation with global origins committed to supporting children. In Australia, through a federated structure of seven state and territory offices, Variety delivers vital equipment and services and educational support to children aged 0 -18 years who are sick, experiencing geographic or financial disadvantage, or live with a disability. Variety supports children’s educational needs through providing scholarships, grants, and educational resources, as well as offering inclusive and accessible learning opportunities by supporting the professional development of educators.
Variety Australia coordinates national opportunities and programs with the seven state and territory offices, as well as providing overarching governance, efficiencies and economies of scale. Variety Australia does not normally make grants or run programs itself, but distributes all funds donated to the state and territory offices to ensure local knowledge delivers the maximum social impact and outcomes. To review these, please refer to each State and Territory office’s ACNC Reports as listed on the ACNC charity register.
Updated 24 March 2023