The 10 Myths of Christmas giving to charity

Together we can change lives
ByCara Varian

The 10 Myths of Christmas giving to charity

The HMEF answers all your questions

Christmas is a time for giving! While choosing gifts for our family and friends are our first priority, it’s the time of year to appreciate what we have and look at ways we can make a difference to others.

Australians are great givers! When it comes to generosity, we’re second on the list of a total of 146 countries! ^

The Harding Miller Education Foundation provides scholarships for Year 9 girls in public secondary schools to continue their education, supporting girls with academic potential who are experiencing personal or socioeconomic disadvantage.

At this time of year, the HMEF highlights its work and encourages donations to fund future scholarships. CEO of the Harding Miller Education Foundation, Cara Varian takes a look at many of the myths about donating money to a charity.

  • Myth 1. ‘A lot of the money donated goes to administration costs.’

Cara: You will have heard people say they don’t give because of concerns about how the money would be used.  They say they’ve heard a lot of the donations go to cover administration. We can assure you that the Harding Miller Education Foundation ensures 100% of all donations go direct to scholarship recipients. The founders cover all administration costs, so all donations are used for scholarships. No donations are used for administration.

  • Myth 2: ‘Only small donations don’t really make a difference.’

Cara: Scholarship donations can be any amount that works for you and they all make a difference. Whatever you can afford to give is appreciated. Your donation can specify a particular school or a particular type of student, including refugee background, rural, urban or out of home care.

  • Myth 3: ‘Giving to ‘education’ sounds vague and is too anonymous.’

Cara: HMEF makes your donation personal. Regular giving donations can be linked to a specific scholar and donors receive bi-annual updates on their girl, her progress, achievements and personal story.

  • Myth 4: ‘Public schools are government funded so girls shouldn’t need extra help through scholarships.’

Cara: Schools are stretched to meet the needs of every student. HMEF recognizes that students need more than a laptop to succeed. Hidden costs such as excursions, uniforms, textbooks etc. still need to be paid for. In addition to the financial and resource support, more than 100 experienced learning professionals volunteer their time and expertise to provide coaching support.  Only girls who meet the criteria for financial hardship and are enrolled in public schools can apply for a scholarship.

  • Myth 5: ‘There are plenty of scholarships that can be applied for, why is HMEF different?’

Cara: Harding Miller Education Foundation offers Australia’s most generous scholarships to female public high school students and specifically focuses on girls with high academic potential and significantly challenging socioeconomic backgrounds. This combined focus is unique to the HMEF.

The scholarships are valued at $20,000 over four years and we don’t just write cheques and hope for the best. Our scholars are provided with a multi-layered support system to make the most of the scholarship.

  • Myth 6: ‘Anyone can get to year 12 if they try hard enough.’

Cara: There are many girls in public schools who are deterred from staying on at school because of socioeconomic disadvantage. They may be in out of home care or live in a household where English is the second language. Those who live in rural or regional Australia or identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander may be discouraged from staying on to Year 12.

  • Myth 7: ‘Girls and boys already have the same opportunities in education.’

Cara: The Harding Miller Education Foundation’s mission is to bridge the gap of opportunity for girls within the public school system. We are right behind the aims of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) which aims to support countries to achieve measurable change in girls’ education and gender equality, especially for the most marginalized. Learn about the UN sustainable development goals here.

  • Myth 8: ‘Australian teenagers are well off compared to those in other countries and don’t need extra help.’

Cara: Our scholarship recipients include a wide range of hardships – challenging living conditions, family issues, remote locations and language difficulties. HMEF has a stringent selection process starting with a principal’s recommendation, and our expert selection panel identifies girls who will benefit from the scholarship. The full scholarship includes tools and resources as well as personal coaching and support.

  • Myth 9: ‘If not enough is donated the scholarship recipients will miss out.’

Cara: 75 scholarships every year are secured by the Foundation’s founders, Kim Harding and Irene Miller so once a girl is accepted for a scholarship, she can be confident she will continue to be supported by the scholarship right through to Year 12.  In addition to this we have a multilevel fundraising and donor strategy that supports an expanding number of scholarships every year which are assured by the Foundation as well.

  • Myth 10: ‘Expecting that a donation will change a life is a pretty big call. At Christmas we should focus on our own families, rather than give to others.’

Cara: Every donation is appreciated, no matter how small. In the spirit of giving at Christmas, a donation to HMEF will make a difference in a girl’s life that will give her the opportunity to realise her potential.  HMEF has already supported over 350 girls from more than 130 public schools within Australia. It’s exciting to be part of this foundation. It’s a game changer!

To find out more and make a donation, go to https://www.hardingmillereducationfoundation.org.au/donate/

Reference:

^The World Giving Index 2018 is published by the international Charities Aid Foundation. It rates charitable giving in 146 countries around the world, placing Australia second to Indonesia when rated on donating money, helping a stranger and volunteering time. Available from: https://www.cafonline.org/docs/default-source/about-us-publications/caf_wgi2018_report_webnopw_2379a_261018.pdf

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