2017 Community Grant Winners

2017 was the first year we invited the general public, along with our members, shareholders and staff, to vote on their favourite projects – and we received over 15,000 votes.

Congratulations to the following charities who were selected as winners across our three core categories: People, Planet and Animals.

Thank you to all those organisations and voters who participated in the process.


Free The Bears

Since 1997, Free the Bears has been successfully protecting bears across Asia through the creation of safe sanctuaries for bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

With support from Australian Ethical Community Grants, this project created, equipped and established a new Cub Nursery and Intensive Care Unit for orphaned Moon bears and Sun bears. This world-class facility will improve survival rates for rescued bears while increasing capacity for efforts to end bear bile farming in Laos.

AWARE (Australian Wildlife Assistance, Rescue & Education)

Each year, Australian Wildlife Assistance, Rescue and Education (A.W.A.R.E) provides bush fire rescue and ongoing care for thousands of injured and orphaned native wildlife.

With support from an Australian Ethical grant, A.W.A.R.E were able to procure and sustain sufficient rescue equipment and food supplies to provide the best possible care for orphaned native wildlife which included ringtail and brushtail possums, sugar gliders, flying foxes, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, blue tongued lizards, tawny frogmouth, koalas and many others.

Wildlife Victoria

A grant from Australian Ethical was used to train new volunteers on how to safely and successfully rescue and respond to injured native wildlife. This will allow Wildlife Victoria to be able to respond and care for another 15,000 individual native wildlife animals each year.

In 2016, Wildlife Victoria responded to an unbelievable 52,258 native animal cases. Sadly that number grows each year and we need new recruits to assist.

Wildlife Asia

Wildlife Asia’s mission is to protect Asia’s tropical forests and key landscapes which host the highest levels of biodiversity and iconic mega fauna habitat.

With the support of an Australian Ethical Community Grant, Wildlife Asia are able to continue the operation and training of the Rhino Protection Units in Sumatra, ensuring the safety of critically endangered Sumatran Rhino’s. Protection Units undertake forest patrols, dismantle snares, report wildlife crime and collect rhino species data.


A community grant from Australian Ethical supported Bio-R in building, installing and monitoring artificial nest boxes to create habitat for threatened, hollow-nesting native wildlife in Mt Lofty Woodlands, South Australia. The project provided opportunities for pre-release prisoners and community members, including children, to connect with nature and be part of a tangible project for our native birds and mammals.

Bio-R works to reconstruct habitats across Australia for biodiversity and the long term health of our Australian ecosystem.

Friends of the Koala

Friends of the Koala is committed to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing koalas; protecting and enhancing their habitat; educating the community about issues affecting koalas and assisting with relevant research to protect the koalas and biodiversity of the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

A community grant from Australian Ethical established an on-site triage and pathology facility at the Friends of the Koala’s Care Centre in East Lismore, adding great value to 30 years of licensed voluntary koala rehabilitation.


Orange Sky Laundry

Orange Sky’s mission is to positively connect communities, and ultimately to transition people out of homelessness. It starts with restoring dignity with clean clothes and a non-judgemental conversation and it continues by providing people with employment opportunities to build confidence and a sense of purpose.

Support from Australian Ethical’s community grant funded the development and growth of Orange Sky’s laundry social enterprise, providing employment for homeless Australians.

Free To Feed

Free To Feed provides real jobs to refugee chefs/cooks through its hands-on cooking classes, spice trade and events, as well as an opportunity for local Australians to hear their stories and learn to cook authentic and exotic food. Free To Feed was voted Melbourne’s number one cooking school by Timeout Melbourne; all it’s classes are run by refugees and asylums seekers.

The community grant from Australian Ethical supported workshop training for 10 refugees to empower them to run their own cooking classes.

One Girl

With the support of an Australian Ethical community grant, One Girl can fight gender inequality and educate 200 vulnerable women and girls in Uganda. One Girl is expanding their Business Brains training from Sierra Leone to Uganda to equip girls with entrepreneurial skills, self-confidence, sexual and reproductive health knowledge, and the opportunity to start their own business.

Enterprise Learning Projects

Gulbarn Tea is on a mission to introduce Australia (and the world!) to a new herbal tea variety! Wild harvested on Alawa country, and used for thousands of years as a bush medicine, Melaleuca citrolens or ‘gulbarn’ is now hitting the market as a tea. The community-driven business is creating new economic opportunities for individuals and families in Minyerri, resulting in positive social, cultural, environmental and wellbeing impacts for the community. Funds from an Australian Ethical Community Grant have allowed ELP to support the community on their business journey.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

A grant from Australian Ethical has supported an Asylum Seeker Resource Centre gender lawyer provide legal assistance for up to 150 women, creating an environment of trust so they can safely disclose their experiences and present their case for asylum. It is Australia’s only specialised service assisting vulnerable women seeking asylum as a result of gender-based persecution which includes domestic violence, LGBTI, trafficking, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and violence due to being without a male protector.

Earbus Foundation

The Earbus Foundation is working to see current and future generations of Indigenous children succeed at school unhindered by the debilitating effects of Otitis media and its impacts upon their ability to learn and achieve their full potential.

Ear disease interferes with almost every aspect of early childhood development, but worst of all it stops children getting an education. Children who can’t hear, can’t learn. A community grant from Australian Ethical provided Earbus with further improved equipment to successfully treat and prevent ear disease in Aboriginal children throughout Western Australia.


Food Ladder

Food Ladder’s custom designed hydroponic systems grow commercial quantities of vegetables in places where it is impossible to grow food or there is limited access to food. Food Ladder is a proven model generating positive health, education, training and employment outcomes as well as much needed economic development for those communities most disadvantaged.

An Australian Ethical community grant funded the installation of solar panels on the existing Food Ladder system in Ramingining to reduce operating costs and provide a sustainable and reliable power source, ensuring crops grow securely and maintain food security in the region.

The Wilderness Society

A community grant from Australian Ethical directly supported The Wilderness Society’s advocacy efforts to prevent oil drilling in the Great Australian Bite. From one oil spill, it is estimated that 6,000 turtles, 900 dolphins, 25,000 mammals, 1,000,000 birds and countless fish will die, suffer internal damage and defects.

The Wilderness Society works to protect, promote and restore wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth.

Australian Conservation Foundation

The community grant from Australian Ethical is supporting ACF’s Stop Adani – Transform our Energy Future campaign. This campaign is the moment to save the Great Barrier Reef by transitioning Australia away from dirty coal towards clean, renewable energy. Adani’s polluting mega-mine is not just another coal mine, it represents all future coal mines – a bleached reef, a bleak future, catastrophic climate change – and Australian’s don’t want it.

The Australian Conservation Foundation is a community of more than 400,000 people who speak out, show up and act for a world where forests, rivers, people and wildlife thrive.

Pollinate Energy

Pollinate Energy brings life-changing, affordable, accessible energy products to those in India who need them most. Pollinate also creates job and skill development opportunities for disadvantaged people by employing them to expand the business. Through a network of ‘Pollinators’, they have impacted the lives of more than 70,000 people across 4 cities.

A community grant from Australian Ethical helped expand Pollinate’s product offering and network of pollinators into a new city in India.

Lock The Gate Alliance

The “Filling the CSG Facts Void” project will take a first step towards filling a critical void in publicly available data on the chemical composition of air and water emissions from CSG mining, thus providing a basis for better information in the future on the likely severity and range of health impacts it causes and to better inform local people experiencing negative impacts from CSG.

Lock The Gate Alliance works to protect Australia’s natural, cultural and agricultural resources from inappropriate mining and to educate and empower all Australians to demand sustainable solutions to food and energy production.

Ongoing Hero Grants

As a result of their amazing work and continued success, The Orangutan Project and Free to Shine received a 3 year funding commitment for $20,000 a year, starting in 2016. We will be supporting them both again in 2018. Read more.

To see further information about the great work being done by these two amazing organisations, please click on the respective links above.