Our story so far
The Inner North Community Foundation is a unique story of social investment, created by a collaboration between three municipal councils and their not for profit organization, IntoWork Australia. The model of a community foundation was adopted in 2007 to respond to regional changes and challenges as traditional employment pathways disappeared along with industry restructure and population changes. The social and economic value that can be harnessed by a place-based community foundation structure was seen to be an ideal response to this change and challenge.
In 1983, nearly one in five young people in Melbourne’s Inner North were out of work, as traditional employment opportunities in textile, clothing and footwear industries were rapidly disappearing. A collective response to this decline came from the local councils of Brunswick, Coburg, Fitzroy and Northcote, who established the Inner Northern Group Training (INGT), a not-for-profit organisation to provide young apprentices with employment opportunities.
INGT is now known as IntoWork Australia, with a national profile and 10 businesses generating an annual turnover of over $140 million. IntoWork has retained their three non-beneficial founding members, the Yarra, Moreland and Darebin City Councils. IntoWork remains based in the Inner North in High Street Northcote.
In 2007, IntoWork resolved to establish the Inner North Community Foundation to contribute to local vitality and prosperity in perpetuity. It pledged a commitment of $5 million to the corpus, as well as covering Foundation overheads, for granting to local initiatives which strengthen pathways to employment for people in the inner north. To date direct operational support is valued at over $1.8 million.
Significant early funding support was received from the Victorian state government, the Portland House Foundation and several private donors, all seeking to match the substantial investment of the founding organisation, IntoWork.
As well as these major donors, over the past nine years, more than 300 people and organisations have given donations – both small and large – to the Foundation. The Foundation continues to offer a number of opportunities for donors to bring their money to life through place-based philanthropy,