About Thriving Communities Foundation

Thriving Communities Foundation was established to provide support for people living in Australia who are in need and suffering from financial distress, including people impacted by domestic and family violence. 

Its work aims to reduce the difficulties faced by persons suffering from distress by increasing access to essential services and reducing the likelihood that these people fall into further hardship and disadvantage.

About Thriving Communities Foundation

We believe no-one should experience poverty, vulnerability or suffering. We aim to create a fair and connected system so that everyone in Australia can achieve an adequate standard of living, and live free from discrimination.


Suffering from financial stress can be devastating for those experiencing it.  There is so much shame people feel about it.  But it is very real for them and certainly a very real concern here in Australia.  Imagine, your livelihood hanging in the balance.  How can anyone doing it tough, be expected to do it tough on their own and be ok?  We can help.  And we can help together.   I’m proud to be part of  Thriving Communities Foundation to help pave the way for innovative solutions that truly help people doing it tough, to access the support they need in the moments that matter. - Tim Costello, TCP Chief Advocate

Our Approach

Our approach and how we support people is unique.

We collaborate across sectors with a focus on those who are in need and suffering from financial distress, including people impacted by domestic and family violence

We create partnerships that help us to affect ecosystem change and address the often complex and entrenched influencing factors of disadvantage and financial distress.

We are community-led, committed to working alongside front line service providers to understand, design and solve complex problems and reduce the barriers people face in accessing the support they need.   

We work with people with lived experience and elevate their voice, their experiences and their recommendations when developing innovative solutions to target support for people in need or financial distress

We are dedicated to increasing access to essential services in all that we do.

Online Digital Support Program

The Foundation operates the One Stop One Story Hub digital support program to help those in need access the support they need to thrive.

The Foundation aims to reduce the difficulties faced by people experiencing suffering and distress by connecting access to essential services support, reducing the likelihood of falling into further disadvantage, distress and poverty.

This solution connects people living in our community to support programs in a holistic, simplified and dignified manner.

It is simple and easy to use solution, has a single point of entry and can be done in a safe and secure way.Frontline workers in corporate and community organisations can connect and refer their clients to a range of supports through a simple and easy to navigate process, reducing the burden and complexity often involved in contacting each individual support program.

The Foundation facilitates access to financial assistance, referrals, counselling, and other needs-based community support.

The Foundation’s work, through the One stop One Story Hub is currently being piloted specifically supporting members of the community impacted by Family and Domestic Violence.   

Find out more about the One Stop One Story Hub support program


Pat McCafferty - Company Chair

Qualifications: BBus (Acc), Exec. MBA, GAICD, FWCLP

Experience: Pat is the Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water and brings with him extensive experience from across the water sector. He is also a Director and past Chair of the Water Services Association of Australia (Australia’s peak body for major urban water utilities) and has recently been appointed to the Board of WaterAid Australia.

Pat's role is to provide the TCP with leadership through oversight of strategy and governance, and to provide guidance in conjunction with the Board to the CEO and staff in the delivery of TCP’s core mission.

Catie Moore - Director

Qualifications: LLB (Hons)

Experience: Catherine is an accomplished law professional and current partner at Mills Oakley Lawyers in Melbourne. Holding partner positions across a variety of law firms in Australia, Catherine brings with her a wealth of experience in providing expert legal counsel to many leading Australian corporations. Catherine is an alumni of the University of Queensland, holding a Bachelor of Laws (Honours).

Cynthia Gebert - Director

Qualifications: GAICD, B Economics (Social Sciences), LLB (Hons), Grad Dip Law and MDR

Experience: Cynthia was appointed as Victoria’s Energy and Water Ombudsman in February 2012 and has worked at the Energy and Water Ombudsman (Victoria) (EWOV) for 14 years. Before joining EWOV, Cynthia was the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Commercial Dispute Centre.

Cynthia is an executive member of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association (ANZOA) and is alumni of Leadership Victoria’s highly sought after Williamson Community Leadership Program (2011). Cynthia has a Masters’ degree in Dispute Resolution from the University of Technology, Sydney and Bachelor’s degrees in Law and Political Science from the University of Sydney. Cynthia is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Director of Eltham College Limited.

Ciara Sterling - Director & Chief Executive Officer

Experience: As Founding CEO and Director of the Thriving Communities Partnership, Ciara convenes over 350 organisations, together with people with lived experience, to forge deeper understanding of vulnerability and drive ecosystem change through social design innovation. Ciara is also a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) and is a founding member of the Economic Abuse Reference Group (EARG).

Ciara has over 20 years’ experience collaborating across corporate, government and community sectors to address the root causes of hardship and inequality. Ciara spent over 10 years in leadership roles at Yarra Valley Water, including as Head of Community Inclusion and pioneered approaches to supporting customers experiencing vulnerability, hardship and family violence, and worked with the Essential Services Commission to help lead the water industry’s response to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Tim Costello - Chief Advocate

Tim CostelloThe Rev Tim Costello is well known for his tireless work with organisations that stand up for the voiceless and vulnerable. He recently stepped down from his role as CEO of World Vision Australia after 13 years, during which he made a unique contribution to the organisation and changed the lives of millions of people around the globe for the better. He has been a high-profile advocate for poverty alleviation and gambling regulation through his roles as chair of the Community Council of Australia, the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce and the National Australia Bank’s Social Responsibility Advisory Council. The Thriving Communities Partnership is a natural fit for someone who commands the respect that Tim does across the philanthropic and not-for-profit sector.

Get in touch

To learn more about the Thriving Communities Foundation, contact Ciara Sterling

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