The Paul Ramsay Foundation in Sydney, Australia, has unveiled a new strategy for fighting intergenerational poverty, with a focus on health, education, and assistance for local communities.
Established in 2014 with a bequest from the healthcare and media magnate, the AU$4 billion ($2.6 billion) foundation will work to break "cycles of disadvantage" with annual investments ranging between AU$150 million ($97.6 million) and AU$170 million ($110.6 million). To that end, the foundation will focus on four initiatives: Transitions to Employment, which will fund efforts to assist individuals struggling to find long-term, stable employment, including those with disabilities; A Chance to Learn, which will support early childhood and lifelong learning opportunities; Thriving Communities, which will fund efforts to empower communities to develop their own solutions to the specific challenges they face; and Criminal Justice, which will initially focus on intergenerational disadvantage, incarceration rates, homelessness, and domestic and family violence.
According to a study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research commissioned by the foundation, girls and boys born into the lowest income families have only a 14 percent and 22 percent chance of rising out of poverty in their lifetimes.
To date in 2020, the foundation has committed AU$84 million ($54.6 million), including AU$45 million ($29.3 million) to fifteen organizations in support of long-term initiatives focused on helping vulnerable communities. Partner organizations include United Way Australia and The Hive, which are developing early education options for children who are assessed as developmentally vulnerable; the Synergis Fund, which supports high-quality housing for people with disabilities; and the Living Learning social impact bond, which supports services for young people with mental health conditions who have fallen off the education and employment track.
Earlier this year the foundation awarded AU$30 million in support of bushfire recovery efforts and phase-one COVID grants totaling AU$9 million in support of vaccine research and at-risk communities impacted by the virus.
"Even in a country as prosperous as Australia, we cannot forget our three million fellow citizens who live in poverty. These Australians and others affected by the 2019-20 bushfires and the COVID pandemic need all the support we can give at this uncertain time," said the foundation's CEO, Glyn Davis. "Cycles of disadvantage exist when children are ill-prepared for school, Australians do not complete education, find employment or are caught in the criminal justice system. They also occur in communities [that] know what needs to be done to break these cycles but do not have the resources to help their most vulnerable. These cycles relate to amongst many factors, poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and domestic and family violence. Breaking them requires us to collaborate, innovate — and take risks."
(Photo credit: Paul Ramsay Foundation)