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Funding Sports

’Giving for Sport’ identifies a $300m per annum funding opportunity for community sport and athletes 

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The Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), who have been helping sporting clubs, athletes and organisations fundraise for more than 30 years, will publish a ‘Giving for Sport’ report on March 11, detailing the changing landscape of philanthropy in sport, identifying crucial gaps, and revealing significant opportunities to increase philanthropic funding for sport during the next decade.

ASF’s new report will help stakeholders to understand the dramatic impacts that the global pandemic has had on the Sports and Recreation sector.

Findings from the sample survey, conducted in June 2021, reveal a loss of $1.1 billion in revenue last year, 9,000 community clubs fearing insolvency, and 61% of Australia’s representative athletes experiencing significant career disruption, loss of income and earning opportunities.

ASF continues to make a significant contribution to the sustainability of sport in Australia, helping to raise nearly $51 million from philanthropic sources over the course of last year – an increase of 16% on prior year. The number of donors also increased by 50%, proving that Australians are eager to contribute to the survival of local and representative sport in their communities.

However, the Foundation urges that sport will play a vital role in our recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Sport builds physical and mental health, and brings people together in a way that little else does” Patrick Walker, ASF Chief Executive Officer, said.

“COVID-19 led to enforced inactivity and increased isolation, particularly among our kids and marginal communities. There is so much more to be done and we want to use this report to demonstrate the critical role that philanthropy could play in creating a healthy and more active Australia.”

ASF estimates that, if amateur sport received the same generosity as the arts sector, there could be a $300 million opportunity for philanthropic giving in sport. While the arts has charitable status, amateur sport is yet to receive it, meaning giving to sport can be more complex, and donors are less likely to consider sport when making philanthropic decisions.

“Sport receives little philanthropic funding compared to the arts, and it is time to grant charitable status to amateur sport in the same way. This would unlock boundless opportunities and would enable more Australians to benefit from the health and social aspects of sport.” Walker added

There is a real opportunity for philanthropy to do more for sport but it requires a change in legislation that would help the perception in how we value sport and its ability to drastically improve the lives of Australians – from physical to physiological health.”

With Brisbane 2032 on the horizon, the Foundation stresses the importance of acting fast and ensuring that appropriate pathways for young, aspiring athletes are provided through adequate funding opportunities.

The report will be officially released through a launch event held at Ulverstone Showground in Tasmania to demonstrate the importance of fundraising for local athletes and community sporting clubs.

Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Minister for Sport, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, along with ASF VIPs, key sports and notable athletes will be in attendance. Journalists based in Tasmania are also invited to attend.

ASF will use this launch event to underscore that community sport plays a vital and significant role in the Australian way of life and the rebuilding of communities in the aftermath of COVID-19 through its vast physical and mental benefits, promotion of social cohesion, and disease and stress reduction.


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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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