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Charitable trusts can be a way to support refugees

2 min read

Equity Trustees has highlighted the foundations and charitable trusts in its portfolio of philanthropic organisations that work to support refugees. 

It is granted from trusts like these which mean many programs and support services exist in Australia to assist displaced people to make them feel safe and adapt to their new home. 

While Government programs exist to settle new arrivals, charitable funding often is needed to fill the gaps, to ensure refugees make a successful transition to Australia.  

Some of these include some of Australia’s oldest trusts, including: 

  • The William Buckland Foundation – which has distributed more than $141 million to Victorians since it was established in 1965, some of that funding has supported organisations assisting refugees resettle into Australian society. These organisations include SisterWorks (funded to 2027); The Beautiful Bunch, The Social Studio, Free to Feed and Centre for Multicultural Youth.  
  • The W.C.F Thomas Charitable Trust – provides grants to organisations that deliver essential services to refugees. These include RISE. Refugees, Survivors and eX-detainees. 
  • RM Ansett Trust – funding projects that empower young refugees, such as the River Nile Learning Centre. They focus on educational scholarships, mentorship programs, and extracurricular activities that help refugee youth build confidence, skills, and a sense of belonging in their new communities.  
  • The Truby and Florence Williams Charitable Trust – funding community-led projects that foster social justice, provide legal support and enhance the civic participation of refugees, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights are protected – including SisterWorks. 

More recent funds established by active philanthropy clients have recently supported organisations including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australian Refugee Association, Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, The Beautiful Bunch and Mercy Works which all have programs supporting refugees arriving and settling into Australia. 

Equity Trustee’s General Manager of Charitable Trusts and Philanthropy, Jodi Kennedy, said each of these charitable organisations are directly contributing to positive change among refugees. 

“Every year Australia welcomes large numbers of refugees from a diverse range of backgrounds,” said Kennedy. 

“Refugee Week is an opportunity for Australians to come together and learn about the experiences and stories of these displaced people as well as support efforts to help with their integration and overall wellbeing,” Kennedy added.   

Refugee Week is a nationwide celebration held annually to honour the contributions, resilience, and creativity of refugees and asylum seekers.  

 The aim of the week is to raise awareness around the challenges these refugees face, as well as create ways in which Australians can become more welcoming and inclusive. 

“When refugees arrive in Australia, they bring unique skills, knowledge, and experiences that can contribute to the growth and development of our country. But they need the support of the community to settle in,” Kennedy explained.  


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