TOBIN BROTHERS FOUNDATION: Awarding Inspirational Organisations

By: Matt Weedon, Tobin Brothers Funerals
Monday, March 7, 2016

There are so many people in our community who are repeatedly ignored, unacknowledged or forgotten and the many small organisations striving to help them are fighting an uphill battle to obtain funding and public recognition.

This is one of the reasons the Tobin Brothers Foundation was established in 1984.

Since that year, which marked Tobin Brothers Funerals 50th anniversary, the Tobin Brothers Foundation has made annual grants to lesser known organisations and individuals whose work can be shown to have meaningful community benefit and has awarded over $460,000 to more than 260 deserving recipients.

This year, the Foundation made grants to twelve recipients totaling $27,200 and each was invited on February 24th, 2016 to accept an award recognizing their charity work in the community.

Introductions were made by Tobin Brothers Funerals Chairman Michael Tobin (right) and the Foundation Chairman Trevor O’Hoy (middle).

Also invited this year was a guest speaker, Sarah Davies from Philanthropy Australia. Its mission is to champion, enable and support an innovative, growing, influential and high performing philanthropic sector in Australia. Ms Davies’ speech centred on explaining these ideals and how the Foundation was an example of unmitigated philanthropy.

During the weeks leading up to the event, each award recipient’s organisation was filmed showing their diverse and inspirational work in helping their communities. Take a look at each of them below, some are bound to surprise you:


At the conclusion of the event, plaques were presented to representatives of each organisation honouring their great work and achievements in helping their communities:


The Babes Project Inc

Currently The Babes Project is overwhelmed with women who need vital support in the Perinatal period. It is important forum to extend our reach to the Frankston region, which is an area we receive many requests for support from. The Babes Project will open the new centre in early 2016.

The grant will purchase a much needed computer, backup hard drive and printer for the new Pregnancy Support Centre in Frankston. It is essential for staff and volunteers to have access to these items to ensure they can work with women and provide the best possible care.


TRY Australia

Our group mentoring initiative - Mentoring In The Hood (MITH) - brings together young people in need of additional support to develop meaningful relationships with positive adult mentors, be exposed to new learning experiences, and create a connection to their local community for life-long beneficial outcomes.

The funds will help run a volunteer recruitment campaign in order to raise awareness of the organisation so that we can recruit, screen and train at least 20 volunteer mentors from the area.


St Kilda Police and Citizens Youth Club

The MAC (Mobile Activity Outreach) program aims to assist disadvantaged and at risk youth. It is an early intervention program that engages young people through recreation and sport to provide mentoring to improve young people’s self-esteem, behaviour and attitude. The program facilitates fun games, team building, trust activities in a safe and supportive environment for disadvantaged youth from local housing commission estates. We will run our Program 5 nights a week for 48 weeks of the year. Every Monday and Friday night we cook a BBQ and provide fruit and water in partnership with the Father Bob Foundation.

The grant will be used to purchase new sporting equipment to ensure the activities that we run 5 days a week, are fun, safe and able to engage young people in a variety of activities. Presently all our sporting equipment is old and tired and through the course of a year we have a lot of breakage and loss of equipment because of our daily use of the equipment and the areas that we go to.


Youth Insearch Foundation (Aust) Inc

Youth Insearch works alongside welfare agencies, schools and local police to identify 'at-risk' youth who will benefit from the program. We aim to reduce crime, substance abuse, binge drinking and prevent suicide in young people, as well as enhance self-esteem and productivity through empowering youth.

The award money will enable three young people, from the Melbourne region, to participate in the Youth Insearch program for 12 months.

Young people who attend the Youth Insearch program generally come from financially disadvantaged environments.

The Foundation’s financial support will allow young people to attend Weekend Workshops, Follow up Support Groups free of charge. Most importantly, attending these events will provide young people with a supportive peer group of other young people who are actively seeking to improve their lives and support other young people to the same.


Road Trauma Support Services Victoria

Road trauma is life changing and the ripple effect on the community is profound and lifelong. We believe that no one should have to cope with road trauma alone and in 2013 successfully trialled an art therapy program to bring together people impacted by road trauma in a safe, supportive and creative environment.

The funding will go toward a six month art therapy program for twenty women who have suffered road trauma. The group will meet one a month for six months.

The award money will pay for an art therapist. All other costs associated with recruiting and supporting participants, ongoing counselling and overheads will be covered by RTSSV. The program would be overseen by the RTSSV Manager of Counselling Services and two qualified RTSSV counsellors will be at each session to support participants.

Government funding covers less than half our costs and without the support of the community we cannot provide this important program.


Aipoly Inc

At Aipoly, we have been developing a technology to solve a major problem that 285 million people worldwide are affected by.
There are millions of visually impaired people who have been deprived the opportunity to make decisions. Here in Richmond, we assembled a team of motivated young entrepreneurs and engineers to build the best form of image recognition for the blind. After licensing a private image database of 10 million sources of information and developing a state-of-the-art neural network that can work on a mobile phone, we decided that the best way to have the greatest impact possible in delivering this solution, would be giving it away for free to all blind people.

We have already tested Aipoly with 88 blind individuals, but our product improves constantly and we are yet to showcase our latest version.

The funds will be spent on hiring a mobile user experience designer with experience in assistive technologies to improve and refine our app towards launch, and better gear it towards the use of the blind.


Melbourne Homeless Collective

SEPC clients would like to leave a memoir for loved ones involving trained volunteer biographers. The award will assist in purchase of digital voice records and software to assist in the launch of the biography services.

Melbourne Homeless Collective is a registered charity with DGR status, however we're very young and are still establishing our foundations. Although we are currently supplying our Period Packs to over 1000 women each month we have only just moved from being a garage operation to having our own warehouse. However we have no infrastructure for the warehouse. This money will pay for shelving for our stock and packs, office furniture, stationary and essentials such as a white board, printer and signage. This will provide a more productive organisational structure and operations.

A second and also vital part of our program is to provide awareness sessions to community groups, about the plight of women who are left without adequate sanitary items, and how we as a community can come together to help them.


Hepatitis Victoria

Hepatitis Victoria is the peak not-for-profit community organisation working across the state for people affected by or at risk of viral hepatitis.

We offer a number of programs and support facilities for individuals and organisations.

The grant will assist in purchasing playing cards for distribution, which have been shown to improve awareness and facilitate in opening conversation about difficult subjects like Hepatitis.


Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria

The Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic) is a state-wide, specialist mental health organisation, providing support, recovery and educational services to people and families living with anxiety disorders. We aim to support and equip people with knowledge and skills that will build resilience and recovery and reduce the impact of anxiety disorders.

The grant will assist in training staff to council and support people suffering from anxiety.


Darebin City Brass

Darebin City Brass offers a juniors Brass Band program most night of the week, run by Jack Kelly OAM.

The funding will be used to buy instruments and in particular a Tuba for a young boy who wants to join the band but cannot afford an instrument.


Kids Like Us

Kids Like Us Australia (KLUA) is a community services organisation run on a social enterprise model. KLU was established in February 2013 and is a registered charity with ACNC. KLUA was created after three children with a strong social conscience identified that there was a need to provide support to other twice exceptional students, and to reduce the isolation and distress that they saw in other twice exceptional children in Australia. Since February 2013 KLUA has established a steering group of 15 twice-exceptional students, developed programs, trained staff, and currently provides counselling, learning support and advocacy services to students aged between 4 and 23 years old.

The Foundation Award will be used to fund a Lego program for twice exceptional students.


University College

University College is a residential college affiliated with the University of Melbourne. More than a home away from home, living at UC is an enriching experience that allows students to get the most out of their time at university.

The funds will assist one student from rural Victoria, who cannot afford all the expenses associated with completing her degree, will now have the opportunity to stay at University College for guidance and support.


We look forward to next years Tobin Brothers Foundation Awards and helping more charitable organisations continue their great and diverse work in the community.

Photography by Matt Weedon – Tobin Brothers Funerals

Video produced by Matt Weedon and Michael Lynch – Tobin Brothers Funerals

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