6 November 2014
On Wednesday 150 people gathered at AMP on a stormy Sydney evening in support of four dynamic grass-roots non-profits at the Funding Network Event. The organisations were diverse but united by fresh approaches to difficult social problems. Fittingly, the evening attracted an array of people who were fresh to philanthropy – donors as young as 11 and as far away as England – gave generously, and for the first time in TFN history the event was live-streamed and broadcast around the world.
The idea behind TFN is that four organisations deliver a six minute pitch to raise $10,000 each. They smashed their targets. In just 30 minutes, Top Blokes (young men’s mental health), The Manjeri Project (sustainable funding for a Ugandan school), 1st Hand Solutions (cultural reconnection programs for Indigenous youth) and Joiningthedots (welcome dinners for newly arrived and established Australians) collectively received over $65,000 in funding, plus substantial in-kind services from an enthusiastic audience.
The people behind the organisations told compelling stories. Brya, from 1st Hand Solutions, talked honestly about his struggle growing up, and how reconnecting with his Aboriginal heritage and playing the didgeridoo helped him overcome anger, depression and loss. Hamed spoke in support of The Welcome Dinner Project, and explained how meeting people through the initiative helped him to break out of the isolation of being a recent arrival in Australia, and pursue his passion of photography.
The real reason for the success of TFN’s collective-giving model is people pooling funds and working together for positive change. People like Brya and Hamed inspired the audience to publicly pledge donations starting from just $100.00. But is the evening wasn’t just about raising funds. There’s a tremendous ripple-effect. It was an opportunity for the (online and offline) audience to learn about pressing social issues and have an opportunity to do something about them. For the organisations brimming with potential and led by passionate people, yet lacking the capital and access to networks for their programs to grow, TFN opens up a whole world of new paths for funding and support.
The event was generously hosted by the AMP Foundation in the AMP Tower in central Sydney on November 5, 2014.