Kind heart, fresh starts: RACV’s Community Foundation

RoyalAuto magazine

With RACV’s help, community and charity groups are laying the foundations for the future – and setting up inspirational stories along the way. 

Story: Leanne Tolra.
October 2018. 


When Candice McGregor learned that apartment developers in South Yarra wanted to donate truckloads of furniture and whitegoods to her West Welcome Wagon charity organisation, she and her team sprang into action. 

“Our warehouse space in Sunshine West is just 420 square metres and we knew we wouldn’t have room for it all, but we couldn’t turn an offer like that down,” Candice says.

The charity windfall – including fridges, beds and couches – was enough for 10 households. 

“So we agreed to take it and we just made space for it. It was like putting together a giant puzzle,” Candice says.  

It’s basics like these that can help set up new lives for the 500 households of asylum seekers from more than 30 countries supported by the charity group in Melbourne’s west. For Candice and her team, a $105,000 RACV Community Foundation grant has been just as vital a building block.  

‘We believe can inspire everyone connected to these projects, whether you’re a volunteer, an organiser or someone who needs a helping hand.’

“The grant we received this year will allow us to expand our operations and build a mezzanine for easy access and allow us to bring stock in and out.”

West Welcome Wagon is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation that provides furniture, bedding, clothing, appliances, kitchenware and non-perishable food items to people who have arrived in the country with little more than the clothes they are wearing. Last year, RACV gave the charity $20,000 to buy a van to help collect and deliver donated goods. 

The RACV Community Foundation was established in 1997 and is funded with the help of employee, member and community donations. In 2018 the foundation provided $734,000 to support 20 organisations working with some of Victoria’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. “They are grassroots organisations where people are working to help people, and all of them will have a lasting impact,” says RACV Community Foundation Chairman Graeme Chipp. 

“We have provided funds to groups supporting mothers with post-natal depression, young people who are isolated, Indigenous education support groups and organisations supporting people with mobility concerns around public transport.

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‘People and ideas flourish when they get the right support.’

“The projects we selected are ones that we believe can inspire everyone connected to them, whether you’re a volunteer, an organiser or someone who needs a helping hand,” Graeme says. 

Last year, the foundation provided $290,000 to the KIDS Foundation, which was established by Ballarat primary-school teacher Susie O’Neill to teach pre-school children how to prevent household accidents. 

“That grant enabled the program to reach around 100,000 Victorian pre-school children,” says Graeme. 

In this year’s federal budget, the government announced a $1 million funding grant that will allow the KIDS Foundation program to be rolled out across the country.

“This is why we contribute to such works,” says Graeme. “People and ideas flourish when they get the right support.”


Foundation facts

  • The RACV Community Foundation is 21 years old.
  • It has provided $4.8 million in support to more than 500 community organisations.
  • 45 per cent of grants in 2018 were in rural and regional locations. 
  • RACV members across Victoria make ongoing donations to the foundation. To donate or register your interest for the next grants round (opening soon) visit: racv.com.au/foundation.

RACV community donations program

RACV also provides donations of up to $5000 for local projects and programs that seek to build more cohesive and connected communities across Victoria.