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For more than two decades, Cabrini has supported and operated a formal social and community outreach program designed to help us identify and fulfil unmet needs in our local communities and beyond.

Our inspiration

Cabrini Health Limited (Cabrini) is part of an international network sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was founded in Italy in 1880 by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini with a commitment to work as bearers of God’s love in the world. More than 150 years later, the Cabrini Sisters are present in 17 countries including Australia.

Cabrini’s social outreach program was formalised in 1992 in response to a request by the Cabrini Sisters (owners of Cabrini in Australia) to more closely align our organisation to their missionary vision and goals. The Cabrini Sisters challenge us to develop new and creative forms of charity that respond “passionately and swiftly” to unmet needs in our community.

First foray

Cabrini’s approach to social outreach was formalised in 1992, effectively helping us to more closely align our organisation with the Cabrini Sisters’ missionary vision and goals. It began with the establishment of Cabrini Centacare (now CatholicCare) whereby Cabrini provided funding to establish family counselling services in the City of Stonnington. The service still operates today and it remains the only not-for-profit counselling service in the suburb. The success of this experience set the model for our program.

Our approach

We seek to bring value to the program through our human, financial and material resources and by contributing our skills, knowledge and services. Our experience demonstrates that strong partnerships are an effective way to address economic and social disadvantage.

Principles of our social and community outreach program

Cabrini’s social and community outreach program is underpinned by seven principles, which reflect Catholic social teaching and embody our values:

  1. Mutual respect and trust are the foundation of good partnerships. It involves listening to one another, transparency, probity, flexibility, joint planning and accountability, as well as working through potential conflict situations
  2. Projects must be people-centred with empowerment at their heart
  3. We give priority to projects which involve collaboration with all relevant sectors of the community to promote the common good
  4. Stakeholders must be involved in consultation, planning, implementation and evaluation of the project
  5. A commitment to long-term engagement and sustainability
  6. Collaboration with others, including all levels of government and social institutions, must be based on a shared unified vision
  7. Where advocacy is an element of the partnership, projects should be initiated with local communities so that they can lobby the appropriate layer of government for the implementation of their rights
Growth of the program
Growth of our social and community outreach program

In 2010, we set ourselves a three-year, strategic goal of trebling real expenditure in social outreach and community activities. In 2013, we achieved this goal, investing a total of $3.07 million.

We committed to: 

  • strengthening our support of asylum seekers and refugees
  • increasing our involvement in Aboriginal health and wellbeing programs
  • undertaking a community needs analysis in order to better meet local needs
At the same time, we decided to decrease the number of agencies we work with so that we would have fewer, more significant relationships. We decided that where possible, we would achieve growth through our present relationships, giving priority to our Catholic social outreach partners.


Cabrini’s commitment to social and community outreach is ongoing, as we seek to identify and fulfil unmet needs in our community and beyond.

Changes in financial support

Recently we increased our financial commitment to:

These three organisations now account for almost 30 per cent of our annual social outreach budget.

Our total contribution to CatholicCare, Cabrini Ministries and Jesuit Social Services now covers:

  • 20 per cent of the costs of running the four projects we support with CatholicCare
  • 63 per cent of the costs of the three projects we support with Jesuit Social Services
  • 40 per cent of the cost of Cabrini Ministries’ health outreach and childcare programs

Our Social Outreach and Community Partners - download

Our Recipients -  Philanthropic and in-kind - download