More than 250 Canberra charities and non-profit organisations have registered for grants which will start to flow in the next few months from the once-stalled but now restarted Chief Minister's charitable fund.
The fund has about $400,000 available and is inviting first-round applicants.
The fund is managed by the Hands Across Canberra philanthropic foundation, set up in 2010 to serve as a conduit between donation providers and recipients.
The ACT government's $5 million pledged last year is by far the biggest single contribution to the Hands Across Canberra donations fund with the organisation's chief executive, former senior public servant Peter Gordon, explaining that this will act as "seed money" to kick-start long-term charity commitments in the territory.
"This seed money allows us to look well ahead. We will invest three-quarters of that funding and then use the income from that investment to continue to help vulnerable people within Canberra and the immediate region," he said.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he hoped that the size of the government commitment and the partnership with Hands Across Canberra would "raise the profile of philanthropy in the ACT and get a broader range of people contributing".
"All the metrics on Canberra show that we are, on average, a wealthy community [although] we might not have the extremes of wealth that you find in pockets of the older established capital cities," he said.
"This is a significant upfront contribution by the government on behalf of all Canberrans to establish an endowment that will last well into the future. This is tangible money available to support people in our community."
He admitted that there were "challenges in our community and they are many and varied, and this grants round won't solve them all. But it is a start."
Funding for the Chief Minister's charity will be topped up via a tax on gaming machines, taking 0.4 per cent in net gaming revenue from poker machines as part of Canberra clubs' "compulsory community contributions".
ACT Gaming Minister Gordon Ramsay flagged the extra contribution to the fund last year when he said it was clear the community "needs more, not less" out of the required 8.8 per cent of gaming machine income which goes into community schemes.
The "pokie tax" increased by 0.8 per cent in October last year. Of this increase, half was directed into the Chief Minister's fund.
"In addition to the $5 million endowment, there will be resources coming in annually that will be part of gaming machine turnover so that will be an ongoing component," Mr Barr said.
On current turnover, Mr Barr said the additional gaming machine tax revenue flowing to his fund would be "in the order of $400,000".
Grant funds would be dispensed on the direction of the Hand Across Canberra board which includes former ACT Public Trustee and 2018 citizen of the year Diane Kargas Bray, banker Charles Cramer, businesswoman Mel Keys, solicitor Alice Tay and career diplomat Peter Vardos.
Although Hands Across Canberra has been established for some eight years, it has yet to set up official offices in Canberra. The registered charities address of the Chief Minister's Charitable Fund is Mr Gordon's street address in Hamelin Crescent, Narrabundah.