Women’s sport and regional and rural sporting clubs will be the big winners following a groundbreaking decision that allows Australian sport to access more than $4.4 billion of philanthropic assets retained by Public and Private Ancillary Funds.
Ancillary Funds are required to distribute a minimum of 5 per cent of assets held every year and sport can now benefit from the $500 million plus distributed annually, following a favourable federal government decision.
That decision saw the Australian Sports Foundation’s new charitable fund given deductible gift recipient status (DGR) and that is expected to lead to a further $25-30 million each year for charitable community sports projects by 2022, rising to more than $50 million a year within 10 years.
The significant news was hailed by Australian Sports Foundation CEO Patrick Walker.
“This is the most significant step in sports funding in Australia for 20 to 30 years,” he told The New Daily.
“We’re thrilled. It’s been a long journey to get this confirmed. For the first time, this puts large chunks of sport in a real charitable remit.
“Lots of sport can fall in the charitable remit. It has great benefits for mental and physical health and our migrant communities.
“Sport is part of Aussie DNA and it is fundamental to having a healthy and active life and to a cohesive community.”
Walker explained that women’s sport – and the inadequate facilities that participants are forced to put up with – would be a major focus of the new charitable fund.
“Women’s sport is one of the areas that will benefit most,” he said.
“There’s a big growth in female sports but a real lack of female changerooms. Facilities were often built 30 to 40 years ago and people just weren’t thinking about women’s sport then.
“This was a massive issue and this money will help improve facilities.
“They [facilities] were stopping the growth of female participation. We have had a huge upsurge in interest in women’s sport but a complete lack of facilities to go with it.”
Women will not be the only ones to benefit.
“It [this money] will also help improve rural and regional sporting facilities, which are often in communities where sport is the real heartbeat,” he added.
“The improvement of old and run-down facilities will help communities be more healthy and help with diversity and inclusion.
“Sport is incredibly powerful in connecting migrants and refugees.”
Women Sport Australia communications director Louise Evans said any move that boosted the “chronic underfunding” of women’s sport was welcome and would encourage more women to play, officiate and support women’s sport.
“Our social media channels and our inbox overflows with cries for help from women and girls around Australia often seeking just basic sporting facilities on and off the field of play,” he said.
“Often times there are male facilities at sporting fields and centres. But the women and girls have to change in a car and wait for the men to vacate the toilet so they can have a five-minute toilet window for women and girls.”
How to get your sporting club involved
The Australian Sports Foundation not only raises money to give to sport, but also helps clubs fundraise.
Walker said interested clubs should head to the website for further information.
“We raise money to give sport through grant rounds twice a year. We invite clubs to apply and hope to assist in growing participation and promoting equity through sport,” he said.
“We also help clubs to go out to the community and offer tools and support to help them fundraise.
“We have an online platform that helps clubs receive tax-deductible donations and can offer the use of sports partnership managers to help assist clubs.”