The South Melbourne Community Chest is a non-profit organisation which raises funds to distribute to local community groups. We do this mainly through our opportunity shop with profits distributed annually in the form of community grants.
The opportunity shop is run by a paid Manager, a paid Retail Assistant and a team of volunteers. A Committee of Management, also volunteers, oversees the ongoing operation of the Community Chest.
We value integrity, inclusiveness, openness and practical action.
The South Melbourne Community Chest was launched in November 1946 as an umbrella charity fund in the City of South Melbourne. The Community Chest concept aims to bring together the residents, the Council, the business community, and other community-based organisations “…in a common effort to advance the welfare of the community, to promote health, recreation and fitness, to further education and culture, to stimulate philanthropic, benevolent, and humane projects and to foster community spirit among the citizens…”.
Over the period from its inception until the 1970s the Community Chest raised money through a variety of activities including raffles, appeals, and major community events.
It was a pioneer of the original Meals on Wheels program in which meals were distributed to the needy elderly citizens using bicycles . The Chest also played a major role in the fund-raising to set up the original Claremont Home for the Aged.
Since the 1980s the core of the Community Chest’s fund-raising activity has been the opportunity shop at 200 Bank Street and over the years the Chest has donated almost $2 million to community organisations.