Major Project Grant

The International Women’s Day (IWD) Illawarra committee raises funds to support local community organisations that specialise in helping Illawarra women. The major project grant is aimed at assisting with funding needs for local women’s support services in the Illawarra. We encourage you to submit an application.

Applications currently closed.


Established in 1979, Women Illawarra has been pivotal in founding various women’s services in the region, spanning health, housing, and domestic violence support.
One of our initiatives, Mumung, meaning ‘Sister’ in Dharawal, empowers Koori women through singing and language programs. In 2023, Mumung engaged teenagers, yielding exceptional English compositions rooted in indigenous language and culture.
This year, with the IWD funding, Women Illawarra will host a culture camp for Koori teenage girls, fostering belonging and cultural connection. Led by facilitators, elders, artists, and language experts, the camp will culminate in recording cultural songs. Additionally, Women Illawarra will aim to launch a program for Koori women, featuring monthly walks and strength-based discussions led by local female leaders. This initiative aims to alleviate the isolation experienced by women migrating to the Illawarra due to domestic violence, providing
a supportive environment for newly identifying Koori women.

Find our more about Women Illawarra


One Door Mental Health provide an informal group program designed to support women survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) to rebuild their sense of dignity, confidence, and self-esteem. The group aims to help women to regain control of their lives by facilitating increased economic independence and social connectedness via the recovery principles of hope, healing, and empowerment.

The program offers non-clinical support and includes group sessions/activities such as facials, hairdressing, makeup, sporting activities, leisure skill courses and enjoying shared meals and/or coffee underpinned by a positive coaching environment.

At the completion of the program participants will be referred to Dress for Success where further pre-employment courses can be undertaken, if required, and be styled in suitable outfits to enable them to present themselves well at job/rental/volunteering interviews.

Find out more about the One Door Mental Health Illawarra Clubhouse


Established in 1992, Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation (Coomaditchie) works with local Indigenous Australians to improve their wellbeing, and to strengthen their identity and cultural connection. It is a predominantly female­led organisation providing a broad range of welfare and advocacy services to the community, together with initiatives in bush regeneration, art, cultural heritage and community development.
The Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation is based in the old Kemblawarra Community Hall just south of Wollongong New South Wales. This is an ideal location for the organisation to continue the role of forefathers as the custodians of then Coomaditchy Lagoon, within the immediate environment. The Corporation is committed to the regeneration and care of the land around the Coomaditchy Lagoon.
As IWD lllawarra’s Major Project recipient for 2022, this funding grant will help to expand and enhance Coomaditchie’s Deadly Women Deadly Kids program which targets the health, wellbeing and cultural identity of Aboriginal women and their families. The program has been disrupted by COVID and Coomaditchie is passionate about re-enlivening and broadening its scope, re-engaging with female participants and offering new educational and cultural experiences to allow women to connect with their community.
Funding will be directed to activities including the establishment of a community garden with produce used in traditional meals and bush medicine, holding cultural workshops with a focus on art, dance and storytelling, visiting significant women’s sites in the lllawarra and South Coast, a healthy cooking and lifestyle classes focusing on nutrition and exercise.

Find our more about Coomaditchie’s Deadly Women Deadly Kids Program


Refugee women who settle in Australia face multiple roadblocks, including healthy eating and accessing food as a pathway to health. Providing support programs to humanitarian refugees in the Illawarra, SCARF currently assists more than 1,800 community members from 14 countries of origin. The 2021 IWD Illawarra major project funding enabled SCARF to invite female participants to complete the six-week Lunchbox For Learning healthy eating program. Nourishing mind, body and soul, the program saw participants gain an accredited Certificate II in Hospitality while creating additional employment opportunities for women with refugee backgrounds during its 6-week duration.

Find out more about SCARF


The EVE Project was the deserving recipient of funds in 2020. Representing Equality, Value and Empowerment, The EVE Project was founded by Lisa Brooke and Helen Dwyer in 2017. The Illawarra-based, not-for-profit organisation offers a new alternative for women who live with trauma from past abuse, providing therapeutic services, training and on-the-job work experience in the hospitality-based social enterprise, EVE & Co. The 2020 IWD Illawarra major project funded trainees to begin the 40-week Thriving Futures program to gain formal accreditations and empower them with the confidence and skills to rebuild their lives.

Find out more about Eve & Co.


Funds raised in 2019 facilitated the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre’s Preventing Violence – Supporting Mothers program. An Australian-first, the program addresses a rise in son-to-mother violence in the community in response to calls for support from local mothers affected. Designed as an early intervention measure for both mothers and sons aged 6-8, the program empowers mothers to raise respectful boys, while helping young men navigate healthy relationships and behaviour towards women as they transition to adulthood. A vital addition to the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre’s support services, Preventing Violence – Supporting Mothers made a positive impact in the community by nurturing mother and son relationships.

Find out more about the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre


In 2018 $20,000 was granted to Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra (SAHSSI) a not-for-profit specialist for homelessness which covers the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions. In the last fiscal year they supported 733 with or without children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Illawarra and 313 women in the Shoalhaven.

The IWD funding will support the Domestic Violence Early Intervention Program in high schools and the Preventative Child Protection program in women’s clinical groups at refuges which is about reducing the impacts of domestic violence on children.

Find out more about SAHSSI


In 2017 funding went to The Illawarra Women’s Health Centre, a community-based feminist health care centre for women only. IWHC was established 30 years ago and has been providing a safe place for women to access specialised women’s medical and health care services.  IWHC target marginalised and vulnerable women: from diverse backgrounds in all age groups from 12-85+ including Aboriginal women and women with disabilities. They assist many women fleeing violence who need ongoing support to begin a new safe life.

In 2017 a pilot program for women with intellectual disabilities who have experienced domestic violence was launched. This program was developed after a year of research working with the target group to identify barriers and challenges to understanding violence, and accessing support to escape and recover from it.

Find out more about the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre


In 2016 funds raised went to two well-deserving organisations in the Illawarra; The Salvation Army’s Carinya Cottage & Transitional Supported Housing and Relationships Australia. The main funding recipient was Carinya Cottage & Transitional Supported Housing, a crisis refuge and transitional accommodation service, providing a safe living environment with case management support for women and children. IWD funding will be dedicated to assisting the women and children toward a more positive future, enabling Carinya to establish a ‘brokerage fund’ to help in various ways such as: ensuring school-age children have school uniforms, shoes and stationery for their current/new school, mums will attend learning circles to broaden their understanding of the value of healthy eating and household budgeting, the importance of tenancy management (keeping rent payments up-to-date, rights and responsibilities as a ‘good’ tenant).

Find out more about Salvation Army’s Carinya Cottage & Transitional Supported Housing and Relationships Australia


In 2014 and 2015 IWD Illawarra supported Relationships Australia to enable them to hold their annual camp and support program for vulnerable young Illawarra women to assist in addressing a range of topics including self-esteem and body issues. The project addresses issues related to relationship health, physical and mental health and wellbeing, and developing confidence as well as assisting the young women to understand healthy body image and its relationship to media hype. It will also include techniques to become cyber savvy, manage stress and maintain a healthy mind and body.

Find out more about Relationships Australia


In 2013, funds raised at the luncheon helped support the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre, who coordinated the ‘Empowering Young Women of the Illawarra’ project. This program gave Year 8 girls from high schools in the Illawarra the opportunity to attend an Enlighten Education Girl Essential workshop. The Workshop offered three different messages; Love the Skin You’re In, Stop It, I don’t Like It and Forever Friends. These workshops helped girls decode the messages they are exposed to, and inspired them to follow their own path to success and fulfilment and to develop self-esteem and confidence.

International Womens Day Illawarra 2012

In 2012 and 2011, the committee raised much needed funds and support for an organisation assisting women in need in the Illawarra, the Older Women’s Network (OWN). This organisation offers wellness programs that are designed to assist older women to stay well by providing physical activities as well as community education and training on issues of isolation, depression, grief, injury prevention and management of chronic medical conditions. Participants achieve good levels of fitness while developing social networks and increasing confidence and self-esteem.


In 2010 the luncheon was a fundraising event for Wollongong Women’s Refuge raising $15,000 to help deliver services not previously available at the Refuge such as the funding of a mental health worker and developing particular mental health programs.

IWD Illawarra 2008

The luncheons held from 2007-2009 were fundraising events for Carinya Cottage, a program run by The Salvation Army to provide assistance to women and women with children experiencing domestic violence, homelessness or some other personal crisis. Over this time, the committee has been able to raise up to $40,000 for Carinya Cottage.