A new national grants program dedicated to animals will award $100,000 annually to fund projects and initiatives.
Voiceless, the new philanthropic organisation dedicated to helping animals in Australia will offer non-profit organisations, schools, universities, and local councils the opportunity to apply for one of 10 grants – two $20,000 grants, four $10,000 grants and four $5,000 grants – to be awarded in November this year.
The grants program is the largest of its kind and will help animal organisations that are chronically under-funded and often ignored by the philanthropic community.
Voiceless was established by businessman Mr Sherman, President of the Board of Trustees of the Australian Museum , and his daughter Ondine Sherman, in early 2004. J.M. Coetzee , Nobel Prize Winner for Literature in 2003 and author of ‘Lives of Animals’ and ‘Elizabeth Costello’ is Patron.
Australian actor Hugo Weaving is Ambassador and part of the judging panel.
‘There are many serious issues involving cruelty to animals in Australia that are not being acknowledged," said Weaving. "I look forward to being a part of the Voiceless program and making a difference for animals" he said.
Mr Sherman said J.M. Coetzee’s writings show a powerful and passionate concern for animals.
"In his latest book, character Elizabeth Costello highlights many of the issues facing animals today. She states – ‘Animals have only their silence left with which to confront us" Mr. Sherman said.
Voiceless will also focus on educating children and youth to respect animals and understand the conditions in which they live. In addition, the organisation will work in the area of policy and law to further the welfare of animals.
Applications close on September 30, 2004. Grants will be awarded in mid November at a special awards event.