Inner North Community Foundation

The Inner North Community Foundation Board circa 2008.

August 2017 marked 10 years of the Inner North Community Foundation.

From Preston to Pascoe Vale, Reservoir to Richmond, Fawkner to Fitzroy – the Foundation has granted over $2.6 million to more than 130 community groups to run innovative and creative programs that unlock the potential of local people.

Contributions to the corpus – large and small, once off and many – have created a community resource that now stands at $5.8 million. Operational support from our founder IntoWork Australia covers administration costs, allowing all donations to go directly to local not-for-profit organisations.

The Foundation is not the final destination, but can get money and resources to where it needs to land to effect change, and funds are used across broad interests, with a special focus on building pathways to employment and promoting economic participation.

To mark the occasion, I asked people involved with the Foundation over the years to write reflections about the Foundation as a way of capturing the past and confirming future directions.


“What excites and impresses me about the future of this Foundation is the vast amount of good and benefit it will provide to Melbourne’s inner north. To have donated over $2.6 million over the past decade to assist a large number of individuals and organisations is super impressive and it’s exciting to know this help and support will continue and grow in the future.” The Hon Alan Brown, Chair IntoWork Australia, Inaugural Foundation Chair

“I’m excited about the great potential and reach of the Inner North Community Foundation as a place based, community focused organisation that is run by an incredibly passionate and dedicated team. I’m excited by the leadership and difference that I know it can make.” Mi-lin Chen, City of Yarra Councillor and 2016 Board Associate

“The Inner North Community Foundation has all the hallmarks in the first 10 years of a really great foundation. It was started with a lot of thought by local leadership. It had a wonderful endowment to kick start its granting program and it has had great EO and Board leadership to build a strong support base and a reputation for making a difference on local issues. It is building the social and financial capital of the inner north – one of the great parts of Melbourne.” Catherine Brown, CEO, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, consultant to the Foundation’s initial business plan


Inner North Community Foundation Short Documentary (Trailer) from Inner North Community Foundation on Vimeo.



“The concept of a geographically defined community foundation, rather than an issues based philanthropic organisation, is a distinctive and important characteristic of the Inner North Community Foundation in the very large ocean of charities and philanthropic organisations. This enables the Inner North Community Foundation to respond to local issues through organisations with a base in the inner north, and partner with key local organisations.” Kevin Breen, Founding Director and former Chair

“There is a groundswell among local people that they want action on the problems they see locally and want to be part of a solution, but are just not sure how to get involved. The Inner North Community Foundation provides local people with the chance to make a targeted impact through their giving and as an avenue to support the real need that’s out there. The Inner North Community Foundation has the runs on the board to nurture and grow local philanthropy and build in the networks that connect and leverage every opportunity that will make a difference. I think the Inner North Community Foundation will be instrumental in defining the answers in very challenging times, and is willing to show courage in how it responds.” Melanie Raymond, Chair, Youth Projects Australia and former Director


“I am sure I will be able to say, in another 10 years’ time, that Inner North Community Foundation has played a remarkable role in the creation of community by supporting employment, connectedness and tolerance in the region and inspiring locals to support local issues. It continues to represent and lead a diverse inner city region, encouraging and enabling a strong and distinctive community.” Alice Macdougall, Special Counsel Herbert Smith Freehills, pro-bono supporter of the Foundation

“Even though there is no ocean in sight, all boats have risen in the inner north as a result of the work of the Foundation. People from every age, culture and social strata recognise the name of the Foundation and feel positive about how it fulfils its role. High level donors, governments and businesses, as well as generous locals, all respect and value the Foundation for the role it plays.” Genevieve Timmons, Founding Director and former Chair

The Inner North Community Foundation is a unique story of social investment, created by a collaboration of three municipal councils and their not-for-profit organisation, IntoWork Australia

The model of a community foundation was adopted in 2007 to respond to regional changes and challenges as traditional employment pathways disappeared along with industry restructure and population changes. The social and economic value that can be harnessed by a place-based community foundation structure was seen to be an ideal response to this change and challenge.

In 2007, IntoWork established the Inner North Community Foundation to contribute to local vitality and prosperity in perpetuity. It pledged a commitment of $5 million to the corpus over 10 years, as well as covering Foundation overheads for granting to local initiatives which strengthen pathways to employment for people in the inner north. To date direct operational support is valued at over $1.95 million.