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“Woor-Dungin means ‘share’ in the language of the Gunnai people of south eastern Victoria” Woor-Dungin, a project of the Koorie Heritage Trust (KHT), is a coalition of Indigenous organisations and philanthropic trusts, foundations and pro bono service providers working in partnership to build the capacity of Victoria’s Indigenous organisations, promote best practice in Indigenous philanthropy and link Indigenous organisations with the philanthropic sector.
In 2005, the Reichstein Foundation in collaboration with RMIT University and The Lumbu Foundation developed the Indigenous Capacity Building Program in response to concerns about the extremely low number of applications being received from Indigenous community organisations, and the quality of those applications that were received.
The program brought together staff from Indigenous organisations based in Victoria to participate in an 11-week program aimed at increasing knowledge of the philanthropic sector and confidence in applying for philanthropic funding. Participants were also asked to provide suggestions on ways philanthropy could improve how it works with Indigenous organisations.
In the course of this training, a number of issues emerged which continue to stand as barriers to the development of effective partnerships between Indigenous organisations and the philanthropic sector. These issues include capacity constraints within Indigenous organisations as well as the significant ‘cultural’ divide that lies between the two sectors.
Overcoming these barriers is the core function of Woor-Dungin; working both with Indigenous community organisations, trusts and foundations and pro bono service providers to increase capacity across both sectors, and develop new and sustainable partnerships between Indigenous organisations and philanthropy.