How We Grant

HMSTrust's grants strategy reflects the legal parameters of Helen's will, her philanthropic preferences and the prime source of her legacy which was regional Victoria. Within these boundaries, the Trust's grants strategy is continuously evolving as it responds to changes in social needs, legislation and sector trends.

The HMSTrust matrix explained

The distinctive colour-coded HMSTrust matrix is a simple device that highlights the programs and objectives that define the Trust’s areas of interest and shows how their intersection enables us to achieve our Vision of “A strong, just and sustainable Victoria”.

The matrix structure was first introduced in FY14 and had an immediate impact on our grantmaking. It has enabled the Trust to work more strategically, with greater efficiencies and to greater effect. The 5 x 5 matrix was developed to be an easy reference for grantseekers. The columns represent the Trust’s five key objectives and the rows, the Trust’s five programs.

An application is required to match:

  • one of the Trust’s five programs and at least one of that selected program’s focus areas; and
  • at least three of HMSTrust’s five key objectives.

HMSTrust’s Grants Policy is reviewed every three years to ensure that our grantmaking remains relevant and effective in a rapidly changing social environment. The first review of our 2014 Grants Policy was completed in 2017 and was based on the learnings from the previous three years. FY19 was the second year operating with the revised grants strategy. The Programs section of our website provides full details of our current strategy.

How We Grant

Impact of the HMSTrust matrix

Since the HMSTrust matrix was introduced in FY14, there has been a substantial reduction in the number of applications that were a poor match to the Trust’s areas of interest and a corresponding increase in the approval rate. This year it was at an all time high of 59%, compared to 32% in FY13.

With the clarity provided by the matrix, our grants staff have the time to develop greater knowledge and understanding across our programs, undertake more thorough due diligence and increase our active engagement with grantseekers and grantees.

In FY19, we introduced a new pre-application process in which we ask all grantseekers to contact staff before commencing an application. This has been a positive initiative, enabling staff to provide guidance to grantseekers about our application process and to build our own knowledge and awareness of the sectors in which we work.