HERE TO HELP: St Vincent de Paul Gympie volunteers Val Barnes, Jessie Thomson, Robyn Nothdurft and St Patrick’s Conference of St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland president Mary Condon. The women show off the blankets made by another volunteer from recycled fabrics.
HERE TO HELP: St Vincent de Paul Gympie volunteers Val Barnes, Jessie Thomson, Robyn Nothdurft and St Patrick’s Conference of St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland president Mary Condon. The women show off the blankets made by another volunteer from recycled fabrics. Greg Miller

$600 million for Coast's leading charities

SUNSHINE Coast charities and not-for-profit organisations collect almost $600 million a year through donations, bequests and grants, with higher education and the fight to save children from the sex slave trade among two big winners.

Data from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has shown people dig deep for the region's 429 registered not-for-profits, which received $44.7 million in 2014.

The data from that year's statements which registered charities submitted to the ACNC showed Sunshine Coast charities and not-for-profits had a combined gross income of $585.6 million.

Almost half of that - about $287.3 million - went towards expenses, including wages, for about 7000 dedicated employees.


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Government grants made up about 56% ($328.4 million) of the total income from Sunshine Coast charities and not-for-profits while 7.6% ($44.7 million) came from donations and bequests.

The remainder came from other sources.

Data from the ACNC also showed which charities and not-for-profits recorded the highest donation amounts and who were the largest beneficiaries of government money.

Destiny Rescue - a Sunshine Coast charity which rescues children from human trafficking and sexual exploitation - recorded the region's second-highest amount of donations with $3.4 million.

Queensland state manager David Bermingham said the organisation aimed to direct 70% of donations to overseas projects while the remaining 30% covered administration, fundraising and awareness.

Charities, both local and across the globe, played a vital part for humanity, he said.

"These organisations work on the ground in areas that bureaucracy is not able to reach.

"They see the work that needs doing and fulfil the need by getting in and getting it done."

Mr Bermingham said generosity towards Destiny Rescue had a lot to do with the "Aussie spirit" of supporting the underdog.

"Australians are the sort of people that are prepared to stand up and say 'that's not right. What can I do?'."

If Destiny Rescue did not exist, thousands of children would still be working in the sex trade in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and India.

University of the Sunshine Coast was the only charity to record a higher amount in donations, accounting for about 17% of the region's total donations pool, with about $7.5 million.

Mercy Ships Australia was third highest with $3.2 million.

The university was the region's largest beneficiary of government grants, receiving about $169.1 million.

It was followed by Sundale Ltd, with $25.5 million, and IFYS (Integrated Family and Youth Services) Ltd with $19 million.

Wishlist, also known as the Sunshine Coast Health Foundation, raised $1.2 million in donations and received no government funding in 2014.

Chief executive Lisa Rowe said money raised from paid carparking at Nambour Hospital covered administration costs, which allowed 100% of donations to be used whenever something was needed, whether it was a new piece of equipment, a music therapist to help patients, or training for staff.

She said the work Wishlist did for the region's hospitals was like the "cream on top", to enhance a patient's experience at hospital and to ultimately reduce the need for people to travel to Brisbane for health care.

The work charities did was humanity's way of effecting positive change, Ms Rowe said.

"The work of charities across this world is important to us as humans, because it's the vehicle to effect positive change in a world where there is so much need," she said.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 436 charities and not-for-profits were listed in the Sunshine Coast region.
  • About 58% of these (total 251) recorded donations.
  • Less than a third (total 128), received government funding.
  • Total income from Sunshine Coast charities and not-for-profits was $585.6 million.
  • Total expenses were $524.9 million.
  • 7028 people were employed by charities and not-for-profits. 2529 were full time.

Source: 2014 annual information statements registered charities submitted to the ACNC