Seeking funds from philanthropic trusts and foundations


In this section you will learn about applying for philanthropic grants and the opportunities that these can bring new researchers.

What is philanthropic funding?

Philanthropic sponsors include:

  • corporate and family foundations
  • philanthropic intermediaries – organisations that re-grant money from foundations and apply investment cultures to philanthropy
  • private ancillary funds
  • collaborations with other not-for-profit organisations
  • other corporate and community support.

While it can be difficult for individuals to source funding from philanthropic foundations in Australia (as most of them are limited by law to funding organisations and cannot legally make grants to individuals), most of the philanthropic funding available for individuals from foundations is in the form of scholarships, fellowships, research grants or travel grants (Philanthropy Australia, 2012).

Philanthropic grants are a useful way to start building your research track record. As amounts involved can be small and success rates can be high, your chances of securing a philanthropic fund are increased.

Examples of philanthropic grant schemes

Some of the philanthropic grant schemes currently available include:

  • Telstra Foundation logo Telstra Foundation (Australia) focuses on children and young people in remote and regional Australia, and supports projects in technology, education, sports and recreation, arts and culture, environment, social issues, disability.
  • Myer Foundation logo Myer Foundation (Australia) aims to enrich individual and civic life; to improve the lives of people impoverished from personal, environmental, social or cultural disadvantage; to protect and strengthen democratic values and participation.
  • Ian Potter Foundation logo Ian Potter Foundation (Australia) supports research into arts, community wellbeing, education, environment and conservation, health, medical research and science.
  • James N. Kirby Foundation logo James N. Kirby Foundation (Australia) supports research into health, education, technology and science, art, and literature.
  • auDA Foundation logo auDA Foundation (Australia) encourages education and research initiatives that will enhance the utility of the Internet for the benefit of the Australian community.
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation logo Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (international) supports research into global health, poverty and development, education and information.
  • The Christensen Fund logo The Christensen Fund (international) supports research into biocultural diversity working in partnerships with Indigenous peoples and others.
  • The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research logo The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (international) supports research into Parkinson’s disease.

Preparing philanthropic grants

Here are some extra considerations when preparing philanthropic grant applications (Hatherell, 2011):

  • Use very clear language and avoid confusing technical terms because philanthropic applications may be decided by a board that may not be able to provide expert advice or feedback.
  • There will likely be different selection criteria (particularly with regards to track record) and the emphasis will be on community benefit and partnerships.
  • Personal contacts and negotiation can be important in gaining philanthropic grants so foster these relationships when possible.

For assistance with developing projects, editing applications, supporting documents, application submission and review of grant contracts, contact the Alumni and Development Office.

QUT Community Collection for Grantseekers, Fundraisers and Philanthropists

QUT is home to the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies and the QUT Community Collection for Grantseekers, Fundraisers and Philanthropists. This collection is available at Gardens Point Library (on Level 7 near the Researchers Centre) and provides public access to grantmaker directories and literature on fundraising and nonprofit management. Public access is also available to the electronic databases of the U.S.Foundation Center, of which QUT Library is a member. These databases include:

These fully searchable databases can be accessed within Gardens Point Library. An online subject guide in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies has also been created to assist those seeking resources on philanthropy, nonprofit studies, philanthropic organisations and research bodies.

Activity – visit the QUT Community Collection for Grantseekers, Fundraisers and Philanthropists

Visit the QUT Community Collection for Grantseekers, Fundraisers and Philanthropists on Level 7 of Gardens Point Library and search some of the available databases (listed above) for philanthropic grant opportunities in your research area.


Philanthropic and community grants are a useful way to start building your research track record. Use directories and professional networks to identify community and philanthropic funding opportunities. As these grants focus on partnerships and outcomes for communities, demonstrate that your research will have a positive, sustainable impact on the welfare of the wider public.