Hands Across Canberra hopes to raise more than $500,000 for 55 local charities in its second annual Canberra Day appeal.
The appeal was launched beside Lake Burley Griffin on Thursday, with fundraising starting now and leading to the Hands Up 4 CBR Giving Day, to be held on Tuesday, March 9, the day after Canberra Day.
Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon was confident generous Canberrans would again step up to help those less privileged in the community.
"This is the second year that we've run the appeal. Last year was learning, this year establishes the tradition that in 10 years time we hope to one day see a multi-million dollar day out," Mr Gordon said.
"Essentially, it's about encouraging Canberrans to do something locally. Canberrans are inherently generous, we're the most generous people, per capita, in Australia.
"However, a lot of that money doesn't go to good local causes. So the concept of giving where you live is at the heart of what we're doing."
Hands Across Canberra represents 300 charities and organisations, with 55 directly involved in the appeal, essentially doing their own individual fundraising. Once each charity reaches $5000, that amount will be matched by the Chief Minister's Charitable Fund and local businesses. All donations will be tax deductible.
"If you look at Canberra's headline stats: rising median house prices, rental demand and high median income it is easy to believe that Canberra doesn't face the same level of poverty, homelessness and social disadvantage as other areas. Sadly this is not the case, with many of our local people doing it tough and in need of our help, " Mr Gordon said.
Hands Across Canberra also held a one-off appeal last year to help charities reeling from the impact of bushfires and COVID-19.
Mr Gordon did not believe donation-fatigue had set in.
"We honestly didn't know if the charities would have the energy to run an appeal, because it's essentially run by the charities themselves and facilitated by us. We sampled them and they were enthusiastically willing to join. So 55 out of 300 readily put their hand up and said they were prepared to do the work that's got to be done," he said.
Among the charities that has pledged to take part in the fundraising is Hartley Lifecare, a Canberra-based not-for-profit organisation which provides supported accommodation for people with disability, their families and carers.
One of it big income sources is the Hall markets which have not been held for 12 months due to COVID-19 restrictions. But Hartley Lifecare event manager Deb Miller said the markets would be finally re-opening at the Hall showgrounds on Sunday, March 7.
Ms Miller said any money raised from the appeal and any other source would go to Hartley Lifecare's capital campaign, replacing ageing accommodation in Hughes in which 10 people with disabilities lived, at a cost of $1 million.
Hartley hadn't been involved in the first Canberra Day appeal last year.
"This year we're really embracing the opportunity," Ms Miller said.
Hands Across Canberra ambassadors Kane Constructions general manager Jo Farrell and Aspen Medical founder Glenn Keys were also at the appeal launch. Mr Keys said many businesses and individuals wanted to give back but felt overwhelmed by which charity to support. Hand Across Canberra was invaluable in highlighting local causes making the biggest impact, he said.
"I cannot commend enough everybody to leading up to the Canberra Day Appeal, just to sit back and go, 'Do I really need to buy a lunch out today or could I donate that to Hands Across Canberra?' Or as a business say, 'Do we need to do that event or can we we all raise some money together and donate that to Hands Across Canberra?'," Mr Keys said.
To make a donation to the Canberra Day Appeal or see other ways to get involved, go to canberraday.org.au