How We Grant

In her will, Helen Macpherson Smith instructed her Trustees to provide grants "as they shall think fit".

HMSTrust's grants strategy reflects the legal parameters of the will, Helen's philanthropic preferences and the prime source of her legacy, regional Victoria.

The Helen Matrix explained

To be eligible, a grant application must meet particular criteria. Firstly, the organisation must have the required tax charity concession status and be situated in Victoria and operate solely in Victoria. Secondly, the project must fall within one of HMSTrust’s five program areas and is required to address at least one of the program’s three key focus areas as outlined below. Thirdly, the project must match at least three of HMSTrust’s five key priority objectives to be considered for a grant.

The colour-coded diagram represents the matrix of programs and objectives and can be seen in each of our online case studies which appear on our website.

How We Grant

HMSTrust Programs

Each of the five programs has three focus areas. Applications need to match at least one focus area in the selected program.

Education and Vocational Pathways

Education and vocational initiatives that help individuals to improve their circumstances, whether it is to break the cycle of disadvantage or to achieve full potential as community leaders.
Focus areas:
– Engaging and retaining children and youth in education;
– Transitioning unemployed people and their communities into meaningful work;
– Enabling migrants and refugees to transition into Victoria’s culturally diverse community.

Regional Resilience

Projects and programs that deliver benefits to rural and regional communities.
Focus areas:
– Social enterprise;
– Cross-sector and cross-community collaboration;
– Long-term social cohesion.

Culture and Heritage

Creative initiatives that give voice to communities by attracting local participation, encouraging public engagement and developing a sense of place.
Focus areas:
– Strengthening collective capacity;
– Building collaborative cultural networks;
– Fostering creativity to enrich lives.

Land and Environmental Stewardship

Initiatives that deliver responsible conservation of Victoria’s natural environments through cooperative projects and sustainable practices.
Focus areas:
– Conserving biodiversity at all landscape scales;
– Protecting and managing Victoria’s water systems;
– Nurturing landscapes as sustainable environmental systems.

Health Advancement

Major multi-year grants that lead to better health outcomes and quality of life.
This grant category is only available at the Social Impact Grant level.
Focus areas:
– Translational research;
– Improved access to health services;
– Learning opportunities.

HMSTrust Key Objectives

Applications should meet at least three of the Trust’s five Key Objectives.

Strengthening rural and regional Victoria
Strengthening the capacity, resilience and potential of communities in rural and regional Victoria.

Supporting Indigenous Victoria
Supporting initiatives that protect, restore, sustain and empower indigenous communities, heritage and land.

Building organisational capacity
Developing the skills and capacities of individuals, groups, communities and sectors that provide long-term benefits to Victorians.

Extending opportunity
Supporting projects that extend and protect basic rights and freedoms to which all Victorians are entitled.

Collaborating and Partnering
Maximising the impact of HMSTrust’s social investments through collaboration and partnership across community sectors, with other service providers and/or other funders including government.