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Journeying with people in hope, love and support...

The John Wallis Foundation continues the work of the Missionary Sisters of Service supporting people and communities experiencing hardship and disadvantage. 

We are inspired by a world which demonstrates compassion, justice and love in equal measure to all.

The Foundation runs an annual Small Grants Program, a series of inspiring speakers events, and other activities to strengthen community relationships. 

The Foundation is named in honour of Father John Wallis, founder of the Missionary Sisters of Service.

Our 2017 Small Grants Program is now closed 

Thank you to the many small community groups and organisations across the country who applied to our 2017 Small Grants Program - we have received more than 160 applications, many from very small rural communities in remote regions across a wide range of issues and needs.  We have commenced the processes of assessment and seeking further funds.
We hope to be able to announce successfully funded grants in May 2017.

 Hagley Farm School Camp for hearing impaired children and families - Nov TAS (2016 Grant) 

Hagley Farm School Camp for hearing impaired children and families - Nov TAS (2016 Grant) 


2016 small grants program

The dedicated team of the John Wallis Foundation Grants Committee have worked long hours to read all the applications for this year's Small  Grants Programme.   

 Bernadette Wallis mss, Liz McAloon JWF Executive Officer, Amanda Freeman and Stancea Vichie mss, working on the Small Grants applications.

Bernadette Wallis mss, Liz McAloon JWF Executive Officer, Amanda Freeman and Stancea Vichie mss, working on the Small Grants applications.

They were inspired by the creative initiatives of so many people responding to a need they saw in their local community.   The range of needs represented by these applications are evidence that many people in our wealthy country are suffering hardship of one kind or another.   The applications came from all States of Australia, from rural and also urban areas.  

 The Foundation is privileged to be able to make a difference to some people, thanks to the generosity of the people who support us with their contributions.   Because of their generosity we are able to approve 50 of the 137.

A list of successful applicants will be made public soon.

For stories of 2015 projects funded, see Highways & Byways April 2016

The John Wallis Foundation supports projects that are small, local, and completed within twelve months.  Projects accepted reflect the spirit of the work of the Missionary Sisters of Service, that is, reaching out to people on the margins, building relationships, offering practical support and developing leadership.   

Beacons of Hope: 2014 Projects

Each year we fund a Small Grants Program through donations and interest earned on our investments.   Through this programme, the Foundation funded twelve projects across the country.   We also fund projects which may emerge from our Regional Groups in Toowoomba, Hobart, Bundaberg, Whyalla and Melbourne. Click here for a list of the 2014 Small Grants Program Recipients.  Below are stories and photos from some of the grant recipients.


One of the 2014 John Wallis Foundation Grants provided baptism preparation kits for the parishes of St Marys and Scottsdale.   These two parishes cover the large north-east corner of Tasmania.   They consist of a scattering of small towns and have no resident priest.  Sister Lorraine Groves mss is pastoral minister in St Marys parish.   She writes:

Fernando and Leticia Landi were to be godparents to Fernando's niece, Marina, in Brazil.  The Parish Priest requested that they do a Baptism Course before the baptism.  Fernando and Leticia work different shifts in different places.  It was not possible for me to see them together.  They really appreciated the instructions provided in the kit.  Click on the photo below to see more images of Marina's baptism, as well as some from the baptism of Steven and Martina Omenka's baby Dorothy in Bicheno,  on Tasmania's East Coast.

English Classes and Community Engagement for Refugees

Sister Mary Lewis writes: The Mercy Connect Sunshine Library Project is going ahead in leaps and bounds. We have over 70 students on our roll, all of whom are either asylum seekers in Community Detention or refugees. The weekly attendance at the classes is around 15 – 20 people.   We have 15 trained volunteers who give two hours each Saturday morning to teach English to participants. 

Practically, it includes filling in forms, helping understand questions in-cluded in a driving test, or understanding what is required to do an IELTS test.  These are some of the many challenges facing new-comers of non-English-speaking background.

All the students enjoy the friendship of the group and their participation each week is encouraging. At the end of 2014 they appreciated being awarded for their attendance, participation and progress during the year. One man said he was going to the market to buy some fresh fruit with his 'prize for attendance'.

The support received from the John Wallis Foundation has greatly improved the life of many people.   Thank you.

Click on the photo below to see more images of the students at work.

Rural Women's Leadership Programme

Over a twelve month period, from November 2013, a group of women of the Shire of Wakool, South West NSW, gathered regularly at the Moulamein Public Library for a Leadership and personal development programme.   

Participants included teachers, cooks, HACC, Aged Care and  Shire Council workers, Pre-School committee members, Career advisors, and Art Gallery/Catering volunteers: a wonderfully engaging and energetic group of women wanting to learn new skills, and be pro-active in all spheres of their lives.

The programme was developed in consultation with the women, and shaped as it moved along, according to their needs.   Sessions included topics such as leadership, communication skills, values, understanding  and working with difference,  project planning, networking and managing conflict among others.   The John Wallis Foundation funded two of the sessions which focused on helping the women understand their own giftedness and that of others.

Congratulations to participants, facilitators and to the co-ordinator of the project Bernadette Pattison pbvm.     To see a full report of the project, click here.

Hispanic Community reaches out to Seniors

The Hispanic Community of Melbourne was another of this year’s small grant recipients, to support their Outreach Programme for Seniors.   The programme provides activities that bring together older people who are often isolated from their community by language and other factors.  Click on the photo gallery below to see some of their community enjoying a recent outing.



Supporting Asylum seekers

 The Melbourne YCW group and volunteers recently hosted a day out for young asylum seekers as part of their small grant activities.

The Melbourne YCW group and volunteers recently hosted a day out for young asylum seekers as part of their small grant activities.

The Melbourne YCW Action Group are supporting a group of isolated young men seeking asylum..   They can feel very isolated and alienated by an increasingly difficult process to obtain acceptance by Australia.   The YCW group is building a relationship of trust with them - by giving time, friendship, support in their isolation.   They organise recreational and community integration activities, as well as advocating for them regarding their refugee status.   The John Wallis Foundation is pleased to provide some assistance to the YCW through the small grants programme.

 The neighbourhood of Mernda on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.

The neighbourhood of Mernda on the northern outskirts of Melbourne.

Growing Community where Suburb Overtakes Country

In July we announced the parish of Mernda, Whittlesea and Kinglake as one of the JWF small grant recipients.   This parish is in one of the fastest growing areas of outer Melbourne, where infrastructure is not keeping up with population growth.   

Brian and Ellen Smiddy of the Melbourne JWF Regional Group initiated contact with the parish to explore whether the John Wallis Foundation might be able to assist.  Discussions with parish priest, Fr Martin Ashe, and part-time Pastoral Associate, Sr Anne Hill, Brian and Ellen and JWF Executive Officer, Liz McAloon, came up with a plan for a part-time Community Engagement Leader to help lay the foundations for a strong Parish Community.

The Foundation’s grant provides some initial funding towards a salary for that person.   The aim was to find other sources of funding for this mission.   Since then, the project has received a contribution from the Brigidine Sisters, $1000 from the Northern Deanery, plus funding through the Melbourne Catholic Education Office for the next three years.    We are delighted  to learn that the small JWF grant gave the impetus for others to support the project.  From little things, bigger things DO grow!

Healing with Haircuts:    The Chauffeur Style

 Vicki, Michelle and Amanda  

Vicki, Michelle and Amanda  

- Amanda Freeman

Over the past few months Vicki, Michelle and myself have been offering haircuts at the “Heal Clinic” in Ringwood, Vic.   The response of people doing it hard or living rough shows that healing does happen with haircuts, as the following story shows:

I arrived at the Heal Clinic at 3.15pm.   Jo, (I will call him) was already there when I arrived.  He came early, enjoying the coffee and chat while he waited.

 Ann is enjoying having her washed and cut - and Amanda's caring presence.

Ann is enjoying having her washed and cut - and Amanda's caring presence.

Jo has a grand beard and moustache.   He has been unemployed for many years.   This was the second time I cut his hair. I asked him how he would like his haircut today.   He answered, “Like a chauffeur’s please.”   A little puzzled, I asked him “What is the significance of a chauffeur’s hairstyle?” With a mischievous grin he said,  “I’ve got a job as a chauffeur, so I need to look like one”.

After his hair, he wanted his beard trimmed, but not his vaselined moustache.  I expressed my delight about his new job.  He was equally thrilled and so proud of having a purpose again and with a “chauffeur haircut and beard” to match!  

I realise that it’s what we offer, not only as hairdressers, but as people that means so much.   The trusting relationship that we build as we chat while cutting their hair makes our clients feel better about themselves.  It is our privilege and honour to be able to offer this.



Spreading the Message of Trafficking


Human trafficking is a huge global industry.  It is happening throughout the world, including Australia.  The pattern is familiar across all trafficked situations, no matter the kind of work the people being trafficked are required to do.   The following example is just one example of what is happening to people:

Young Philippino boxers are being recruited by a “manager” who promises them coaching and opportunities of big fights.   It seems a great opportunity.  The reality is nothing like the promise.  Brought to Australia, the boys live in a garage, are fed on left-overs from the family, receive no coaching and are matched up with professional boxers far beyond their class.  The “manager” collects the fees. 


  ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans) initiated a radio awareness project (RAP) to raise awareness about human trafficking.  Working with community radio and volunteers, a series of Community Service Announcements (CSA) against human trafficking have been prepared.   Spoken in various languages, these are being aired on several community radio stations in Victoria. 

ACRATH has entered phase 2 of the project with a view to it going national.   The John Wallis Foundation is delighted, that along with other organisations, it has been able to help provide some funding for this next stage.   We hope that this awareness campaign will lead to many people being delivered from their bondage to enjoy the dignity of working in freedom for just wages.

Check out ACRATH's website for more information:

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