Introducing the foundation’s new Grants Manager

We’re pleased to announce that Candace Reeves has been appointed permanently as the foundation’s Grants Manager. Candace has been acting in the position for three months and brings a strong focus on social justice to the role. We spoke with Candace to get to know her a little more.

Tell us a bit about yourself when you’re not at work?

Well, I’m passionate about human rights, travel and great coffee. My favourite place so far was India, and my most recent trip was to Scotland to watch my fiancée compete as part of the Canadian hockey team at the Commonwealth Games.

I’m also studying and have only two subjects left before I complete my law degree. When I’m not studying on the weekends, I like discovering new brunch spots and walking my sausage dog, Beanie.

Where were you before coming to the foundation?

I was working as a Senior Legal Assistant in the Human Rights Team at the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office.

What are the most innovative foundation grant projects you have come across?

Our grants funded the establishment of some of Victoria’s key legal bodies, such as Justice Connect’s Homeless Person Legal Clinic and the Human Rights Law Resource Centre. These projects met a real community need, and deliver services creatively in a way that’s targeted to that need – so they’ve had a long-term impact on the lives of Victorians, despite challenges associated with limited funding and resources.

 What sort of projects is the foundation looking to fund?

The foundation grants funding is for projects helping Victorians better understand the law. We’re looking for projects that fill gaps to help address community legal needs, and that can have a significant and long-term impact.

What do people need to know before applying for our grants?

Our general grants are for projects with budgets over $5,000, although we most commonly award between $20,000 and $50,000. We also have small grants for projects of $5,000 or less.

All our grant applicants also benefit from the foundation’s expertise in legal education, publishing and project management. Our staff can offer free advice on plain language, writing, editing, printing, online strategy, events and the legal studies curriculum. This can help develop your project idea, strengthen your application, and improve the overall success of your project.

Any tips on applying?

When writing your application focus on the impact of your project on the lives of Victorians.

We are looking to fund projects that make a real difference so make sure your project has a practical application and there’s a demonstrated need in the community

We can also help you put together your application to give you the best chance of success – so it pays to get in touch with me as soon as you have an idea for a project. I’m always interested to hear about people’s work and to discuss how we might be able to help.

How should people go about applying for a Victoria Law Foundation general grant?

Applications for our next general grants round close on the 17 March 2014 and our small grants are available year-round. You can read our grants criteria, download an application form and find out more about past projects we’ve funded, all on our website.

Make sure you contact us at least six weeks prior to the close date for advice before you apply, but also feel free to get in touch about your project any time to discuss your ideas.

We look forward to hearing from you.


What makes a good small grant project?

Only four months into the financial year and we’ve already given away five small grants worth a total of $23,239. Each project is proof that you can do a lot with a little, and we’re looking forward to seeing the outcomes.

In the meantime though, our grants team is on the lookout for new projects to fund so we asked our Grants and Awards Manager Erin Dolan what she thinks makes a good small grant.

What is the small grants program?

It is for legal projects with a budget less than $5000. There is no opening or closing dates, so you can apply at any time and you’ll usually get an answer within two weeks. Such a quick turnaround is rare in the world of grants, but we’ve streamlined the process to make sure we can respond quickly to meet an immediate need. The application form is really easy to use and you can give me a call do chat about your project before you even start filling it out.

How could an organisation use a small grant?

Our small grants are perfect for organisations who need to act quickly, have an idea for a low-cost high-impact project, or who need money to scope a larger project. Obviously they must be legal projects that benefit Victorians, and they still also need to meet our grants criteria.

What type of projects have you funded with a small grant?

Our small grants have funded a huge variety of projects, such as DVDs, postcards, fact sheets, guides and special events. Organisations have also used our small grants to extend their research or implement important or unexpected recommendations.

We’ve featured a couple of great small grants on this blog already, including some really powerful videos by Youthlaw. But there are many more examples of small grant projects on our website.

Has a small grant ever led to a larger general grant?

Absolutely. Our small grants have definitely been used as ‘seed’ funding, which can help an organisation to decide if a project is worthwhile or has the right focus before they invest too much time and money or ask for a larger grant.

For example, St Kilda Legal Service was awarded seed funding from the foundation to find out the most effective methods of delivering legal information to street sex workers and the legal issues most relevant to this group. They used their findings to support an application for a larger project. In 2011/12, we awarded them $20,144 to implement a targeted education campaign informing street sex workers of their legal rights.

Is there any type of project you would like to fund but haven’t?

I really like big ideas that can start with just a small amount of seed funding. It would also be great to see some submissions for new technology grants such as for smart phone apps.

How should organisations apply?

Call me and have a chat about your project. I definitely prefer to speak to applicants about their projects before I receive an application. I can usually get an immediate feel for whether or not your project meets our criteria. And, if necessary, I can call on a member of our team to offer you specialised publishing, education, communication or plain language advice.

Visit our website for more information.