The NAB Foundation is not currently seeking applications and we do not take unsolicited proposals for funding.
Why is this important?
The NAB Foundation is the philanthropic arm of National Australia Bank (NAB). Our vision is to back the social innovators who move Australia forward. Through our giving and investment approach, we aim to demonstrate new and innovative ways to use philanthropic capital for greater societal impact.
To achieve our vision, we are:
- Directly supporting new and different ways of addressing issues strategic for the bank, our customers and the communities where we operate. Our grants help both not for profits and social enterprises to incubate and scale new, innovative and sustainable ways of solving problems. To date, our funding focus has been the areas of mental health, domestic and family violence, financial resilience, environmental wellbeing and supporting initiatives to build the social enterprise ecosystem in Australia.
- Undertaking discrete impact investments and overtime, investing our underlying assets with a clearly articulated socially responsible investment position.
We take a long-term, collaborative approach to our partnerships and want to make a positive and lasting impact on the organisations that we partner with. Beyond grants and investments, we also provide valuable in-kind support such as communications advice, business mentoring, capacity building and access to the skills and resources of the wider NAB Group. Measuring outcomes is also a priority for us - we want to work with organisations that seek to measure their outcomes and understand how they’re making a difference, and we can support organisations on that journey.
About our grant focus
With a key focus on fostering social innovation and backing innovators, since 2016 we have supported organisations and initiatives in the areas of:
- Domestic and family violence – we know this issue can affect anyone and is one of the most common forms of violence against women and children in Australia. Through our grants, we support work in prevention, early intervention and improvement in support to victims. Read more about NAB’s Domestic and Family Violence work here.
- Financial resilience – financial shocks are unexpected expenses and drops in income, and for Australians they are all too common, with around two in three Australians experiencing some financial hardship during their life. Our grants direct technology, innovation, and talent toward addressing this important issue and we support innovators who are helping Australians prepare for and weather the financial shocks that all of us experience in life. Read more about NAB’s work around financial inclusion and resilience here.
- Environmental wellbeing - regional communities are dependent on the good management and preservation of the natural resources they rely on. Through our grants, we support regional communities to better manage their natural resources and promote biodiversity in the face of challenges such as declining access to water, water quality, land degradation and climate change and work on solutions to some of these complex issues.
We have two grant types within each category above:
- Thrive grants - for organisations with proven models or solutions, these grants help initiatives or organisations to become sustainable, to scale or collaborate and move to their next stage of growth;
- Seed grants - for early stage initiatives or organisations, these grants are ‘seed’ funding for building, testing or piloting an innovative idea, or for funding core operations and organisational capacity.
Most recently, we have focused on supporting social entrepreneurs to solve big social challenges and to build the social enterprise ecosystem in Australia.
We are not currently seeking applications and we do not take unsolicited proposals for funding.
About our investment focus
Beyond our grant making program, we also engage in impact investment as one way of unlocking additional capital from the Trust to help solve social problems and increase our impact. We are committed to engaging in financial innovation to help address complex societal challenges.
We look for impact investment opportunities that deliver either a financial return and / or positive social outcome. The impact investment market is an evolving one and we believe this is an innovative way to support financially sustainable initiatives that address social issues. Overtime, we further plan to invest our underlying assets with a clearly articulated socially responsible investment position.
Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) Case Study
Every day, Sacred Heart Mission (SHM) works to provide people who are experiencing homelessness with access to a wide range of services that work to address the underlying causes of chronic disadvantage and social exclusion. For more than a decade, SHM developed, tested and refined a program that addresses chronic homelessness — the Journey to Social Inclusion (J2SI) — now known as one of the most effective service models to end chronic homelessness in Australia. In 2017, the program was expanded to 180 people over five years in Melbourne through a unique and bold partnership with funding from the Victorian Government, financial guarantees provided by philanthropy (including the NAB Foundation) and low-cost debt from the Catholic Development Fund. Importantly, this was the first time a philanthropic guarantee was used to finance a pay-for-performance social impact investment in Australia, significantly lowering the cost of financing.
Guarantees are an effective way to deliver low-cost funding, generating savings for both government and service delivery organisations and have the potential to unlock greater amounts of capital to enable social impact at scale. In Australia guarantees are an underutilised tool in the philanthropic tool box – and there is considerable scope to expand this approach to social impact investing by leveraging the corpuses of trusts and foundations, moving beyond grant making to support the scaling of proven, impactful projects like J2SI.
NAB, in partnership with SHM and the Victorian Government Treasury department, commissioned a case study from the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) as a contribution in building the impact investing ecosystem in Australia and to help others to better understand how innovative financing mechanisms and partnerships across sectors can improve social outcomes.
Download the case study here to find out more about this innovative program (PDF, 917KB).