Community-led programs working to prevent contact with the justice system will expand their scale and impact with new funding from the Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF).

PRF, in partnership with the Australian Communities Foundation (ACF) and Thirriwirri, today announced a total of $9 million in grant funding to 11 organisations as part of the Just Futures Open Grant Round. The Just Futures grants support early-stage and small-scale programs, with a focus on community-led initiatives. Of the 11 grantees, six are First Nations-led and three are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)-led.

Each of the organisations will receive either a medium grant of up to $500,000 or large grant of up to $1 million, both for a period of up to five years. To date, PRF has provided grant funding to more than 50 organisations helping to prevent or reduce further contact with the justice system.

Dominique Bigras, Head of Justice and Safety at PRF, said the Just Futures grants were an opportunity to support the extraordinary work of small-scale operations, while building partnerships for long-term change.  

“Evidence shows that community-led initiatives are key to addressing the drivers of contact with the justice system, working at the grassroots level to play a critical role in breaking cycles of incarceration,” she said.

“The Just Futures grants will grow the impact of community-led prevention and post-release programs, with a focus on young people, especially First Nations and CALD youth, systems change and advancing alternatives to custody. We look forward to working with our new partners and seeing the positive impact that they can achieve through this support.”

ACF’s Director of Philanthropic Services Georgia Mathews said the organisation was proud to be supporting programs focused on young people and diverse communities.  

“We are proud to partner with PRF to support projects that prevent or reduce further contact with the justice system and will make a real difference in outcomes for young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” she said.

PRF worked with First Nations-owned and operated organisation Thirriwirri on the development and application process for the Just Futures Open Grant Round. Thirriwirri’s Co-Founding Director David Major said the organisation was excited to see the impact the new grants will have in First Nations communities.

“There are myriad passionate and dedicated First Nations-led organisations across the Country, working to improve the outcomes and focus on the strengths of our mob,” he said. “We are delighted to see the successful grant recipients and we know these First Nations-led organisations will have a massive impact in their communities.”

The Just Futures grant recipients are as follows.

Afri-Aus Care Inc. (VIC) will grow its program to support Victoria’s diverse multicultural and faith communities, including supporting South Sudanese youth who are in contact with the justice system.

“It’s amazing to receive a grant like this from the Paul Ramsay Foundation, which enables our organisation to provide support to community members with the highest needs.” - Selba-Gondoza Luka, CEO/Founder

Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health (WA) will grow its holistic support programs for addressing intergenerational trauma, poverty, and justice system engagement in First Nations communities.

"If we want to truly bring change and break the cycle of intergenerational engagement in the justice system for Aboriginal people, then Aboriginal people have to be listened to as we have the answers for our people. It is great to be working with the Paul Ramsay Foundation on this project that is a national prototype of how to do co-design properly with us and how to bring structural reform to our justice system for Aboriginal people.” - Liza Fraser-Gooda, Co-Chair, FISH Board of Directors

Gudjagang Ngara li-dhi (NSW) will develop its community-driven support services programs for Aboriginal children, young people and families.

“This funding allows us the opportunity to put into practice a community model of care grounded in culture, connection, and community.  It will give our children the opportunity to participate in positive experiences, which are the foundation for all children to thrive and lead happy positive lives.” - Simone Hudson, CEO

Kids Under Cover (VIC & SA) will pilot a rapidly deployed accommodation solution for young people at imminent risk of Youth Justice involvement, detention and/or homelessness, alongside case planning and management support to build capacity.

“This investment in our program will enable us to demonstrate the impact of a new housing approach and achieve brighter futures for young people at risk of becoming entrenched in the justice system.” - Stephen Nash, CEO Kids Under Cover

KRED Enterprises Charitable Trust (WA) will use the grant to incorporate a family support component to its Marlamanu program, which transforms the lives of at-risk Kimberley Aboriginal youth by supporting them on a working Aboriginal pastoral station.

“We wish to express our sincere thanks to the Foundation for their support which will go a long way in supporting the growth of our young Aboriginal men into future community leaders and role models.” - Damien Parriman, CEO KRED Enterprises

Murri Watch (Qld) will use the funding to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people experiencing homelessness in the Brisbane CBD area.

“The Just Futures grant will support Murri Watch to deliver the tailored, culturally strong programs that help our young people get their lives on track.” - Ken Georgetown, CEO, Murri Watch

North Australian Aboriginal Family Legal Service (NT) will grow its child protection program in the NT, ensuring Aboriginal children and their families are referred to Aboriginal Community Organisations for culturally safe and appropriate assistance.

“Our Program will ensure Aboriginal children, parents and families receive culturally safe and targeted support as early as possible, which is when it matters the most. Our Program will mean less child protection notifications and substantiations, and less Aboriginal children and adults entering the criminal justice system.” - Rachael Hill, Executive Assistant

Synapse (National) will further develop its Guddi Way Screen program which aims to reduce reoffending rates through providing tools and support for those living with a brain injury.

“The Paul Ramsay Foundation grant will allow for wider engagement with First Nations courts to deliver the Guddi Way Screen. This program has seen a decline in recidivism in Indigenous sentencing services, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this has.” - Adam Schickerling, National Director Strategy & Engagement

Village Connect Ltd (Qld) will expand its place-based, community-led programs supporting the flourishing of Pasifika and Māori people in Logan, South East Queensland.

“It takes a KOKO village working holistically with young people and their families to reduce recidivism. With this funding the reality of a better future for our community and our young people can be realised.” - Dr Inez Fainga’a-Manu Sione, Researcher

Village Response Collective (VIC) will grow its health, housing, employment, education and social inequities programs for Pasifika peoples in Victoria.

“The value of the Just Futures Grant is not just measured in the amount of the funding; but the legacy of change it will bring to the Pasifika (Polynesian, Melanesian, Micronesian) community and families.” - Dr Marion Muliaumaseali’i - Programme design and Project Lead

YSAS/Bunjilwarra (VIC) will continue to expand its Aboriginal youth drug and alcohol healing service situated at Hastings, southeast of Melbourne.

“This grant will enhance the Bunjilwarra experience for young people and their families through improved connections to culture, family/kin and physical wellbeing.” - Pete Dawson, Bunjilwarra Clinical Lead/Co-Manager

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