Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices, and names of people who have passed away.

First Nations Philanthropic Funders Working Group tackles COVID-19

Latest news

28 June 2023

An innovative approach has been rolled out in remote, rural, and regional Aboriginal communities in South Australia to address critical health preparedness and support needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The response is being led by six Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations (ACCHOs) that form the First Nations Philanthropic Funders Working Group (FNPRWG):

  1. Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Inc.
  2. Yadu Heath Aboriginal Health Corporation
  3. Tullawon Health Service Ltd.
  4. Umoona Tjutajku Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
  5. Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service Ltd.
  6. Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Ltd.

The Working Group is also receiving assistance from Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation.

The group was originally established to oversee the creation of a community-informed and -led model to direct philanthropic funding for First Nations communities across South Australia.

Called "Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands: Responding to COVID-19," this community-led approach aims to create additional capacity within the ACCHOs to support Aboriginal communities in the face of the ongoing pandemic and manage future impacts of the pandemic among Aboriginal communities across rural and regional South Australia.

The work is being supported by three philanthropic organizations: the Paul Ramsay Foundation through a funding contribution, the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, and the Fay Fuller Foundation, who provide ongoing resourcing to the FNPFWG.

Leeroy Bilney, Chair of the FNPFWG, says that this is a wonderful opportunity for Aboriginal communities to really take control of their local health needs relating to COVID.

“During the height of the pandemic, we were, by and large, able to keep our mob safe. But we’re not out of the woods yet and there is still the potential for the COVID pandemic – or another similar disease – to badly affect our communities.

“We know what we need to do to make sure that the ACCHOs and local health professionals in community can guide and support our people and respond to whatever comes our way.

"Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF) heard about what we were trying to do and have provided funding to make that happen. The Working Group will decide how that is distributed to support activities that will have the greatest impact in driving better health and wellbeing outcomes for, and as determined by, community.

“It’s wonderful to have PRF’s support and to be working with both Fay Fuller Foundation and FRRR on the administration and governance of this work. This is a genuine partnership where each of us brings our expertise to the table, and we are all focused on the same outcome –putting Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands.

“But it’s bigger than that. We want to create pathways for First Nations people to access resources outside of current structures, shape how and in what ways they interact with philanthropy, and to evolve and influence sustainable change while preserving our cultural identity,” Mr Bilney said.

For more information visit the FNPFWG site.