Case Studies

Education & Employment

Scholarship programs

We fund a variety of scholarship programs with a focus on assisting students in the region surrounding Canberra and the South Coast to further their education. The funding covers a wide variety of recipients, including refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the LGBTIQ community. The Snow Foundation commits approx. $200,000 per year to several programs with multiple year agreements.

Country Education Foundation fosters the education, career and personal development opportunities of rural and regional youth, through community-based encouragement and financial assistance. We have committed to contributing $75,000 per annum for students in the Yass, Goulburn, Braidwood and Cooma communities.

Royal Agriculture Society Foundation funds scholarships for rural students looking to go into the various fields and return to rural NSW once they graduate. We have committed to contributing $75,000 to support students from the surrounding Canberra and South Coast regions.

The Pinnacle Foundation provides scholarships for 17-26-year-old LGBT+ students who study full-time education at a public institution of higher education. Our $15,000 in funding went to two students studying in the Canberra region.

Companion House is a program that helps refugees in Australia who have higher education goals, after suffering trauma or torture in their home countries. Our annual $10,000 assists six students with course fees and other expenses associated with studying at the University of Canberra.

Queanbeyan High School offers scholarships from our grant of $10,000 a year to five students across Year 10 and 12 who would otherwise be limited in opportunity due to economic constraints, enabling a successful pathway to continue their education at either University or TAFE.

Date

December 2019

NewPIN (New Parents Information Network)

“I feel supported and I now have a support network. I gained confidence, a sense of acceptance and an understanding of the responsibilities of motherhood. I have gained more knowledge and perspective on parenting, especially the emotional aspects of it, the practicalities of it, a good sense of daily routine, and attending to my child’s needs physically, emotionally, and understanding her behaviour. I realised that a happy child is one who enjoys the presence and good memories. I am starting to accept the journey that I am in and the ongoing journey plus the responsibilities that come with it. Through the groups, I have gained more appreciation of others and their journey. Most importantly, I can now appreciate my own strengths as a parent. NewPIN understands us and understands children, it’s invaluable.”

NewPin participant

NewPIN is a highly effective, evidence-based, early-intervention program, offering intensive child protection and parent education program that works therapeutically with families under stress to break the cycle of destructive family behaviour and enhance parent-child relationships.  UnitingCare Kippax has received funding from The Snow Foundation for over 10 years (2008-2019) for a full-time worker who supports 10 families over a 2-year period, helping to create generational social change

Newpin mums, children, facilitators and volunteers.

Newpin Families

Case Study (*name changed for privacy)

*Claire joined NewPIN through a referral from the social worker at the Calvary Hospital. Initially, she felt she did not see herself benefitting from the program given that her child was very young at the time of the referral (3 months old) and that the activities were not relevant to her child’s age as yet.

C had a difficult time in the early part of her parenting experience. Her daughter had oral aversion and was not taking in the bottle. It would take C 1 hour to finish a bottle feed, relying on each droplet of milk that her child would only take when she is asleep. This made it difficult for her to get out of the house. C had fears of her child not thriving and seeking medical help was a slow and tedious process. She also struggled with picking up the baby’s cues and was exhausted. She felt she is failing as a parent.

Due to her own experiences of how she was parented and having strong cultural influences, C experienced lots of fear and doubt in her own parenting. She was also quite isolated being a full-time mother who had low confidence in her English speaking skills.

C started to consider the program as she made friends with fellow members. She particularly enjoyed the parent development programs and as she got more knowledge and understanding of parenting, this helped her have a better relationship with her child. C also found that she has started to reflect on her own experiences to understand what she feels towards her child and their situation. It equipped her with understanding to combat her fears and worries.

C shares that after 2 years in NewPIN, the biggest outcome is that she is now more aware of her own feelings and emotions and she can tune in better with herself and her child. She has also started to accept that parenting is not easy and that she is not perfect. Because of all these, she has now started to feel that parenting is rewarding and appreciates the good and not so good experiences that come with it. Most important to her are the relationships that she has formed with the other mothers, volunteers, staff and the community.

C is now an official parent volunteer in NewPIN. She shares her skills and experiences to other new mothers and gives them support. C plans to continue to work hard to apply everything she learnt in Newpin and to keep identifying her own limitations in parenting and work around it. She hopes to become a role model for other mothers. C would eventually like to go back to the workforce. NewPIN has referred her on to the Community Connections program of Uniting Care Kippax to receive assistance in education and work placement.

Case study #2

Mina* was referred to NewPIN by ADACAS (advocacy service). Mina’s daughter Raine* (4yo) has been in out of home care for almost a year, this is the second time she has been removed. Mina has struggled from a long history of DV, mental health issues and strained relationships with Care and Protection workers. Mina was very apprehensive to work with any service due to the trauma she suffered from her past experiences. According to Mina, she has never been referred to a parenting support program throughout her involvement with CP. Mina has been involved in countless incidents of arguments and grievance cases against CP and Barnardos workers. Mina is clearly very traumatised which explains the defensive and dysregulated behaviour she displays when triggered. She was very keen to join NewPIN in hopes that a parenting support program may help her get her daughter back, however she was still very hesitant to work with anyone. Her first few weeks in NewPIN, Mina was very avoidant, defensive and easily triggered. She was also very suspicious of staff and other participants. NewPIN recognised this and focused on building a supportive, non-judgmental and therapeutic relationship with Mina. Through the parent training programs, group work and non-judgmental support, Mina slowly displayed signs of trust and openness. Mina started to communicate to staff in a less defensive manner and was receptive to staff. She finally agreed to be referred to Case Management and receive legal aid. This made a huge difference to Mina, she now has a team of support workers helping her in all aspects of her journey. There has been continued liaison amongst NewPIN, Care & Protection, Barnardos, Case Management and ADACAS. Mina for the first time feels that she is connected, well-informed and supported. She is now feeling confident that through the continued support she is receiving, she can manage to improve her parenting and address CP’s concerns in the hopes of having her child restored to her care.

 

Date

May 2019

AIME

The Snow Foundation has been an incredible partner to work with in the ACT. The sincere commitment of time, energy and resources from the Snow Foundation, and the family behind this great organisation, has enabled our programs to experience the success we have in the Nation’s Capital.

Yanis Bates, National Operations Manager, AIME

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) provides a dynamic evidence-based educational program that gives indigenous high school students in years 7 to 12 the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to finish school at the same rate as their peers. AIME also connects students with post Year 12 opportunities, including further education and employment.

After an inspirational meeting with Jack Manning Bancroft, Founder and CEO of AIME in 2009, Georgina Byron was determined to get AIME up and running in Canberra. In 2013, The Snow Foundation pledged $200,000 to be spent over 4 years to assist with setting up Canberra based programs. After an initial feasibility study on the ACT, $60,000 was put towards developing programs with the University of Canberra and the Australian National University, including an outreach program. The AIME target of working with 100 Indigenous students across Canberra and the region within the first year was met. The next step for AIME’s Canberra operations, in partnership with the Snow Foundation, is to increase the access and the number of Indigenous Students participating in AIME’s Programs across Canberra.

aime-anu-3

Date

March 2017

Health

Rheumatic Heart Disease

 

[caption id="attachment_2217" align="aligncenter" width="1238"] The Snow Foundation plays a very active role in the campaign to end Rheumatic Heart Disease by seed funding community-led solutions, education and advocacy and working with many partners.[/caption]

Australia has some of the highest rates of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in the world, even though this preventable disease was virtually eradicated in most of the country decades ago. Today, this complication from Strep A is found in Indigenous and remote Australian communities, and in children as young as two. RHD begins as a sore throat or skin sore from Strep A, that can damage the heart if undiagnosed and untreated.

Without a vaccine, people with RHD must stay on a strict and painful, penicillin injection schedule every month for at least ten years. Missing one dose can mean reinfection and further heart damage. Severe heart damage from RHD requires open-heart surgery and a lifetime of additional medication. Cases left untreated will become fatal. Two young Australians die of RHD each week.

In 2015, The Snow Foundation joined the fight to end RHD by funding documentary filmmakers Mike Hill and Sue Collins and their documentary “Take Heart: The Quest to Rid Australasia of Rheumatic Heart Disease.” It provides a first-hand account of RHD treatment and prevention in remote communities across Australia and New Zealand.  The film grew into action toolkits, sponsored by BUPA, that included additional short films, apps, and educational materials to help children and their families learn about RHD prevention and treatment. This is available to communities, schools and clinics.

Take Heart premiered in 2016 and was screened around Australia. It was broadcast on SBS screened at Parliament House in an event sponsored by The Snow Foundation and the Aspen Foundation.

The Snow Foundation also began our continuing support of research to develop a Strep A vaccine, headed by Professor Michael Good AO, a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Fellow at Griffith University.

In 2017, two film screenings were held at Parliament House hosted by The Snow Foundation and Aspen Foundation, one with the Parliamentary Friends of the Close the Gap Campaign where Penny Yibaruk, a 12-year-old with Rheumatic Heart Disease from Onepeli in the Northern Territory spoke about the challenges of the disease and its treatment. She must take regular does of penicillin to stay alive and says, “I just want to be free from this disease.” Dr Boglarka Remenyi, 2018 Northern Territory Australian of the Year and the only paediatric cardiologist in the Northern Territory also spoke to the group about the depth of the problem across the Northern Territory and in remote communities.

The Snow Foundation supports both Dr Bo and Dr Josh Francis, an infectious disease specialist, as they tirelessly volunteer to lead active-case finding in Australian communities with high rates of RHD. Part of their case-finding is teaching Aboriginal health workers to scan the hearts of local children with hand-held echo cardio devices, for immediate detection and better communication with the children who are at greatest risk.

Between March 2017 and November 2018, there was great success in Maningrida, NT, the community with the highest rates of Rheumatic Heart Disease in the world.  The community embraced traditional language education and active case finding to stop the spread of RHD. Community-led, active-case-finding using hand-held equipment at the local school and in the homelands screened 620 children and found 32 cases of RHD. Three children needed emergency open-heart surgery, have returned home and have been successfully following their strict regimen of injections. The community also fully embraced traditional language education to help children self-identify sore throats and skin sores for treatment and teach parents about RHD, the risk factors and prevention techniques.

It’s been the greatest community collaboration I’ve ever experienced,” said Joseph Diddo, Traditional Owner, Maningrida.

2018 was also the beginning of nationwide momentum to end Rheumatic Heart Disease in Australia. In May, The World Health Assembly passed a resolution requiring member countries, like Australia, to prevent and eliminate RHD.

In October 2018, The Snow Foundation hosted a land-mark ‘End RHD’ breakfast at Parliament House together with co-host END RHD, an allegiance of organisations working to address the disease, where both political parties committed to ending RHD. Pat Turner, NACCHO CEO, said, “Our shared vision is that no child born in Australia from this day forward should die of RHD. We are here – now – to ask for your help in bringing that vision to life. …RHD sticks out. It’s the greatest cause of cardiovascular inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country… It exemplifies the gaps in prevention in the health system and in outcomes.” The Brown family travelled from Maningrida with their three boys who all have rheumatic heart disease that requires monthly injections to prevent deadly complications. As a family and as spokespeople for the families battling RHD, they were able to tell their story of coping with Rheumatic Heart Disease in a remote part of Australia. At the end of the event, both political parties confirmed their commitment to eliminate RHD.

Finally, in December, at the National Conference of the Australian Labor Party, a resolution was passed supporting Indigenous leadership, governance and action to prevent and aim to eliminate RHD.  They called for prioritising community-led action with a primary focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with the highest rates of Strep A infection, ARF and RHD.

In 2019, the movement to end Rheumatic Heart Disease continued to grow with even more political success. In February, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM MP announced the Morrison Government is investing $35 million over 3 years in the development of a Strep A vaccine. National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) CEO Ms Pat Turner AM, said the ACCH sector welcomed this funding as a part of the work to end RHD: “We hope that research funds will be mirrored by investment in frontline health services, such as ours, as part of a comprehensive strategy to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia.”

Just a few weeks later, in April, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committed to $33 million in funding for community-led action on rheumatic heart disease (RHD) over three years.  Dr Bo Reményi called it a “significant and magnificent start” to end a disease which is crippling and killing Australian children. It’s also an opportunity for other parties to match this commitment to end RHD. RHD Australia Senior Cultural Advisor and The Snow Foundation partner, Vicki Wade, also welcomed the announcement of additional funding to prevent and eliminate RHD.  “RHD is the best marker for disadvantage between communities, and if we can prevent RHD, we can prevent a lot of other diseases. The social determinants of ARF and RHD are common with many other health problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including kidney, skin, eye, ear and respiratory diseases,” Ms Wade said. “Our mob want to see action and change now. We need our communities to take charge now to prevent this unacceptable disease. Change needs to come from our people, our choices, our voices,” she said.

Date

November 2019

Motor Neuron Disease

Dr Nicholas Cole and his research team at Macquarie University have made great progress in their journey to finding a cure or treatment for Motor Neuron Disease (MND). The team uses zebrafish, an established research model, in their laboratory to generate zebrafish models of the disease to understand how motor neurons die in MND patients. This is possible as zebrafish are transparent and, at a cellular level, have the same nerves and muscles as humans. This means that the degeneration of motor neurons can be seen in a living animal, giving clues into the biological origins of the disease.

The Snow Foundation provided equipment for the fish lab to assist establishment in 2009, and since then have supported the salary of Emily Don a scientist who has subsequently gained her honours degree and PhD. Together Dr Cole and Dr Don have generated good data enabling them to publish papers in high profile journals including Nature, Frontiers in Neuroscience and Nature Communications. The laboratory has expanded and now supports a full time fish room technician, and has more than 20 users including six PhD students who are currently studying in the laboratory.

The Snow Foundation are thrilled with the progress of the MND research but also the development and training of the next generation of young medical scientists such as Dr Emily Don who shares with us her insights:

“In addition to the significant increase my research output, I have made substantial steps towards training the next generation of medical scientists. In 2017 I am focusing on determining how the most common genetic cause of motor neuron disease, the C9orf72 repeat expansion, causes the loss of motor neurons.  My aim is to generate zebrafish that contain long repeat sequences in order to study and understand the basic biological processes that result in motor neuron death.

 Macquarie University has assembled the nation’s largest and first dedicated MND Research Centre with a specialised team of researchers in genetics, biochemistry, cellular biology and animal models. Our multidisciplinary team are collaborating and dedicating our working lives to better understand and beat MND.

 I strive to keep contributing my very best and to maintain a position as in the MND Research Centre. As a young female early career research scientist, in an ever more competitive research funding environment, it is difficult to maintain continuous employment. Having The Snow Foundation support through my early career has enabled me to gain a foothold as a research scientist and provided the stability desperately needed to maximise the time invested in training me in the skills required to be a research scientist.”

Nick

Dr Nicholas Cole shows a MND patient the Zebrafish models used to try to understand the causes and cure MND.

Date

March 2017

One Disease

One Disease’s mission is to eliminate Crusted Scabies as a public health concern from remote Indigenous communities in Australia by 2022. One Disease has worked with over 90 Crusted Scabies patients and healthcare providers in the Top End of the Northern Territory since 2011, with early seed funding from The Snow Foundation for their ‘Healthy Skin Program’ in East Arnhem Land.

They have made incredible progress and are now working in 28 communities across the Northern Territory. Crucial to their success is their approach. The ‘Healthy Skin Program’ is culturally respectful and has been developed in partnership with the Indigenous communities.

In the past year, The Snow Foundation’s support has largely been for the Indigenous community of Maningrida, where five patients with Crusted Scabies receive ongoing support to work towards self-management.

This work has improved the lives of so many like Adam’s family whose children had recurring Crusted Scabies for four years, prior to the help of One Disease. “It’s been six months since the children were treated in hospital and we have not seen white crusts since. Thanks to One Disease, our family are no longer itching and scratching, fighting this mite. I don’t have to warn friends and family not to hug the children. I feel safe knowing scabies has gone and so has the risk of serious long term health issues,” Adam’s story.

One Disease is working to put Indigenous health back in the hands of the Indigenous people. They encourage education and embed systems that allow for ongoing self- management of Crusted Scabies on a local level - to make sure that Adams story isn’t repeated.

20161013_0073a

Dr Sam Prince, Founder and Chair of One Disease at The Snow Foundation 25th anniversary celebration

Date

February 2017

Social Welfare

Good 360

For the first time, generous retailers have an easy solution to donate excess stock to people in need. The seed funding and then further funding provided by the Snow Foundation has enabled us to become fully operational and grow our impact.

Good360 Australia Founder and Managing Director, Alison Covington

Good360 matches brand new, spare products from well-known companies with not-for-profits and schools who need them most. This enables charities to save money, expand programs and increase their positive impact in the community. Products include toys, clothing, diapers, beauty products and bedding. Charities simply pay freight costs and receive the products they need for free.

Good360 provides a social and environmental solution by helping charities help individuals with the goods they need while reducing the negative environmental impact that occurs when unwanted goods go to land-fill.

Since its launch in March 2015, Good360 has:

  • Received $100 million in new goods from more than 40 retailers
  • Donated more than $72 million to more than 1,200 not-for-profits and schools
  • Connected 10 million new items with people in need
  • Helped groups collect more than 3 million items directly from local stores for free

The Snow Foundation has been working with Good360 since its beginning in 2013 when we gave $125,000 to start to fund the development of the Good 360 GivingPlace software that provides the platform for donations and distribution. The foundation also committed $25,000 to Good360 for operational funding. Once the platform was built,  Good360 needed $1.5 million in seed funding to operate and employ a team.

In 2015 the Foundation led a team of eight funders who collaboratively funded the first 3 years of operations to the value of $1.5 million. The English Family Foundation helped to create a business plan and was part of the group that provided essential funding including, The Ian Potter Foundation, the Nelson Meers Foundation, the Mundango Charitable Trust, the Myer Foundation, the Maranatha Trust, and an anonymous foundation. Each group gave between $20,000 and $125,000 to achieve Good360’s target of $500,000 a year.

In 2018, the Foundation committed a further $375k over a three-year period.

Over several years, The Snow Foundation paid for more than 50 charities to have a Good360 annual membership. This provided them with free products. The membership fee has now been waived, giving charities more ordering power. For all charities, the cost savings allow them to make their donated dollar go further and assist more families.

 

Date

October 2019

Karinya House

For more than ten years The Snow Foundation has supported Karinya House, providing funds towards a caseworker position. Their reputation of providing a safe and nurturing environment for mothers and babies, who would otherwise find themselves alone in vulnerable circumstances, is well-known and we are proud to help amplify their good work.

Zara was referred to Karinya House when she was pregnant with her second child. Zara was living with her 5-year old son and waiting for her new husband to be granted a visa to join her in Australia.
Zara had migrated to Australia with her ex-husband several years prior but after experiencing domestic violence she separated and had since remarried. Zara spoke to a hospital social worker about how lonely and isolated she was feeling and was referred to Karinya House for emotional support.

On first meeting with Zara, Caseworkers were impressed with her strength and resilience. In the two years since she arrived in Australia, she had completed her study and was now working in two casual jobs to support herself and her son. After leaving her abusive ex-husband she lived in women’s refuges until she was allocated her own Housing ACT property. Zara was extremely capable and independent but also worried about caring for her son and a new baby with very little support.

During her pregnancy, Zara was provided with emotional support through regular phone calls and meetings with her Caseworkers. She was busy with work and caring for her son, and grateful for the opportunity to talk about her experiences and feelings. Zara enjoyed celebrating Christmas with other women from Karinya House as she would otherwise have been alone at this time. Karinya House also helped in practical ways; providing transport to and from school for Zara’s son while she recovered from dental treatment and assisting Zara with access to essential baby items that helped relieve financial stress.

Zara was anxious about going through labour and birth alone. Karinya House offered Zara the security of knowing she would have a support person with her in the event her baby was born before her husband arrived in Australia. Caseworkers also wrote a letter supporting Zara’s husband’s visa application.  David’s visa was granted, and he arrived in Australia shortly before the birth of baby Layla. Over the next few months, Zara and her family experienced a challenging period of adjustment to a new baby and moving to a new country for David. Karinya House Caseworkers assisted the family with accessing their Centrelink entitlements, linking in with support services for new migrants and understanding their housing options.

Although David and Zara were very capable, they needed help to navigate our often-complex systems work in Australia.  Zara struggled with feeling financially dependent on her new husband given her previous experiences of domestic violence, and she talked through these feelings with her Caseworker.  David returned to work in a fly-in-fly-out role when Layla was only 3 weeks old. Volunteers from Karinya House provided respite care for Layla for a few hours a week while David was away to give Zara a chance to rest. Zara was also referred to the Maternal and Child Health program to assist her with caring for baby Layla.  The Karinya House Group program gave Zara an opportunity to get out of the house and socialise with other women and Zara made a priority of attending the program and other special group activities throughout her time as an outreach client.

At the time of publication, the family are working hard to settle into their new lives and becoming increasingly independent. They are hoping to soon move out of their ACT Housing property and into a private rental property. The children are settled in school and David is continuing in his fly-in-fly-out job. Both David and Zara are looking for employment that will better suit their new family situation.

Date

October 2019

Assistance Beyond Crisis (ABC) Micro Finance Program

A microfinance program offering interest-free loans for people who have experienced and left a domestic or family violence situation.

Local Canberra research showed that 80%-90% of local women seeking support for domestic violence experienced financial abuse and that 25% were left responsible for a debt accrued by their partner.  Over half of them become homeless in the first year, post-crisis which is why support during this time is vital.

In the ACT, there are avenues of support for low-income victims of domestic violence. But for people in the middle-income bracket (earning over $50,000), there are fewer options available.  These domestic violence survivors make up a "missing middle" in Canberra. In 2016, the Snow Foundation, along with Women’s Centre for Health Matters, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG and PwC, held community round tables which determined that access to finance was a key factor in a woman’s decision to leave, stay in or return to an abusive relationship.  These results were the catalyst for the Assistance Beyond Crisis loans scheme.

This micro-finance program aims to close the gap for the 'missing middle' – working parents or individuals, who have experienced and left domestic violence situations but need help getting back on their feet and avoid homelessness or returning to a bad situation to alleviate financial hardship.

These loans have helped pay rent and rental bonds, get critical household appliances like refrigerators and washing machines or pay for car registration and repairs or legal cost.

Loans are co-funded by donations from companies such as Beyond Bank Australia, Deloitte, KPMG, EY, Service One Alliance Bank, PWC, and by community donations from the Funding Network, The Snow Foundation, and the Rolfe family, among others. This innovative funding model has been recognised by both the Small Grants Awards from Philanthropy Australia and the Workplace and Business Awards and is being implemented in the Hunter Valley.

To date this program has already helped more than 35 women and 70 children with interest-free loans after leaving domestic violence situations.

“I would like to say how appreciative and lucky to have been to be able to be granted an ABC loan. I left my abusive husband last year, after years of torment towards me and my sons. That morning (unbeknown to me at the time) he had drained all joint bank accounts.  I had applied for legal aid for assistance with a violence order and had been rejected due to earning “too much”. It didn’t matter that my husband had taken it all, and left me paying all liabilities, they only saw the $ income. I was forced to find a private lawyer and was lucky enough to have found a lovely firm that allowed me to pay my bills when they become due rather than having to foot a hefty $3000 or more upfront to sit in trust. The ABC loan seemed to pop up at just the right time! I can’t recall where or how I first found out about this, but it was like someone had read my mind. There are people out there who do earn “too much” for assistance and are turned away, but what about the ones like me that didn’t see a cent of their earnings cause they had been lumped with debts (approved on the basis of two incomes), had lawyer fees and needed help with bills, beds and basics after being forced into a situation they wouldn’t wish on anyone. I applied for the loan and was lucky enough to be granted money to assist me through the difficult (not only financially- but mentally) time. It was an easy process, with the most caring souls at the other end of the line/email. I have now got back on my feet and have been trying to pay more toward the loan to try and pay it out so that others can have the same opportunity that I had. Loan recipient.

 

Date

October 2019