The Funding Network celebrates the success of Thriving Young People crowdfunding events

1 May 2024

Crowdfunding events held by The Funding Network (TFN) in March have raised almost $290K for non-profit organisations working to break cycles of disadvantage and reduce inequalities for young people around Australia.

The funds pledged over two events in Sydney and Melbourne connected some of Australia’s brightest changemakers to people and organisations who can help them grow and build their capacity to deliver greater impact. It is estimated that around 2,371 young people across Australia will be directly impacted by this funding support. For Joe Kwon, co-founder and CEO of NSW-based Confit Pathways, this funding was essential to continuing their mission of reducing youth recidivism. “It gives us so much hope that the community believes in providing opportunities and second chances for those who have lived experience of the justice system,” says Kwon. “This support not only enables us to bring this program to more communities around NSW, but it also helps to bridge that social gap by breaking down stereotypes to create positive opportunities.”

Joe Kwon, Founder and CEO of Confit Pathways

Victorian-based, therapeutic surfing charity Ocean Mind raised enough money to extend their programs to the Mornington Peninsula. For CEO and founder Rachael Parker, this has significantly increased their capacity to enrich young people’s mental health and potential through surfing. “Together, we’re reshaping the landscape of the mental health system,” she says. “Thanks to this funding support, we're changing the lives of 50 young people facing mental health challenges in coastal Victoria.” 

Thriving Young People is TFN’s first impact stream for funding in 2024 and represents one of four impact areas TFN have identified as requiring acute support over the next three years. The other three areas are:  Equity & Inclusion, First Nations and Regional Communities. After an open call for applications, the six programs featured in these two events were chosen by an independent panel to bring together the right individuals, resources and ideas to empower young people. Geraldine, CEO of event partner Waratah Education Foundation, participated in the Sydney selection panel and spoke to the high calibre of non-profits who applied. “Each of the finalists represent the best that Australia has to offer in terms of initiatives that focus on the ongoing well-being of young people” she says. “From mental health to ensuring access to quality education and fostering social connectedness, it is imperative that we as a society highlight the need to give every young person the opportunities to thrive.”

(L-R) Lauren Myer, David Butler, Rachael Parker and Rick Cohen after the Thriving Young People event in Melbourne

Lauren Myer and David Butler, co-founders of Mountain Track Youth - a youth intervention program based in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria - are looking forward to putting the funding support into action. “This level of funding at such an early stage of our existence means we can go ahead and support so many more marginalised and traumatised young people in the local community.” Rick Cohen, founder of social enterprise bakery Worthy Cause, echoed the appreciation for the enormous generosity and the confidence to bolster their efforts within the community they support. “We can continue our shared vision for a future where marginalised and disadvantaged young people don’t have to choose between the life they were born into and the life they deserve,” he says, “With this support and our program, we can be the change we want to see in the world.”

All six organisations are deeply embedded in the social fabric of Australia’s most vulnerable communities and are critical in addressing specific issues facing young people. For 84 year-old Norma Tracey, founder of charity Strong Mothers, this event has only strengthened her resolve to continue advocating for young First Nations mothers and their children in Western Sydney. For Angelique Wan, founder of NSW-based Consent Labs, sharing her story was necessary to get consent education to more teens in regional communities. “This funding will allow us to share this vital education with young people who might otherwise not be able to receive it.” 

(L-R) Joe Kwon, Norma Tracey and Angelique Wan celebrating after the Thriving Young People event in Sydney

Over the next 12 months, TFN will collaborate with these six non-profit organisations to keep individual funders and event partners Atlassian, Evans & Partners and Waratah Education Foundation updated on the impacts of their support, showing how the power of people can uplift and empower young people experiencing entrenched disadvantage around Australia. 

Registrations are now open for TFN’s Equity & Inclusion events held in May and June across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Join us and experience the incredible sense of joy and community created when we give together.