Friends With Dignity

Honoured as Charity of the Year 2018


Friends with Dignity has been recognised as the Australian Charity of the Year (CHY) in The Australian Charity Awards 2018. Now in their sixth year, The Australian Charity Awards have been established to identify, recognise and reward organisations for the exceptional work undertaken through their charitable activities. The Australian Charity Awards are a partner program of The Australian Business Awards (now in their thirteenth year).

Friends with Dignity is a national not-for-profit organisation with a big vision focused on providing a platform for anyone to volunteer, and in turn change the perception and statistics of domestic and family violence throughout Australia.

“The practical support offered by the local community ensuring that families have no reason to return to a life of abuse and violence is equally overwhelming and humbling,” said Ms Whitford.

“Our service is built from a mutual passion and determination to make a difference to families whom we will never meet. It’s about doing what we can within our capacity to support our neighbours and community.”

Being a 100% volunteer driven model totally self-funded and reliant on donations reinforces the value that the service provides within the not for profit sector.

“Having been described as a “ground breaking” service, it’s reassuring to know that Friends With Dignity identified a gap, and by engaging the local community we have managed to assist thousands of men, women and children to date through our programs,” said Ms Whitford.

“Our goal is to make people more aware that domestic and family violence does not discriminate and that we all have a role and can do something no matter how big or small.”

Friends With Dignity relies on donations of new and pre-loved whitegoods, furniture and

household items from the community to create “sanctuaries” for men, women and children leaving refuge to start a new life. All of our programs are gifted unconditionally, we do not charge victims we assist, nor the services who refer their clients to us.

“We take pride in that we are in some way limiting landfill and unnecessary waste, taking an environmentally-friendly approach in all that we do,” said Ms Whitford.

“This award will provide further exposure, recognition and acknowledgement for our innovative 100% charitable model, also providing increased awareness to the general public that want to help but don’t know how, we can provide them this opportunity.

“We are so fortunate to have an incredible group of volunteers that sit on our board, our executive team, leadership team and operations who are active everyday in their selected roles.

“Our current sponsors, supporters and generous donors are an absolute asset to our organisation, and this award is vital recognition of their trust and belief in what we are doing. We so value all of the support as the sustainability of our service relies on this.

“With the ongoing challenges of securing financial support to maintain basic operational costs, this award provides us with much needed credibility to ensure we can help more families nationally.”

In celebration of being named The Australian Charity of the Year for 2018, Friends With Dignity invites all supporters to attend “A Magical Christmas Gala Charity Ball” on Saturday, 17th of November, 2018 at the Southport Sharks Event Centre on the Gold Coast.

“We are so excited and honoured for Friends With Dignity to be recognised as the Australian Charity of the Year – we would love all of our supporters, volunteers and sponsors to celebrate with us at this very special event,” said Friends With Dignity Director and Chief Operations Officer, Zoe Scharenguivel.

“The program seeks to recognise charities that adopt an innovation culture to achieve optimal levels of impact and social change,” Australian Charity Awards, Program Director, Tara Johnston said.

“There are ten organisations recognised for their achievements in specific areas of social need through various charitable initiatives.

“The Australian Charity Awards 2018 are proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these charitable organisations and commend Friends with Dignity for being recognised as Charity of the Year,” Ms Johnston added.

For further information or comment, contact: 

Joanne Rahn, Director, zanthii communications
Phone: 0402 148 334

“It is truly such an honour for Friends With Dignity to be recognised as the Australian Charity of the Year for 2018. This amazing achievement not only highlights the dedication and drive volunteers have to make a difference to the lives of people affected by domestic and family violence, but how this epidemic affects society as a whole,” said Friends With Dignity Founder and Chief Executive Officer.


Manuela Whitford





The Australian Charity Awards provide organisations with the opportunity to raise the awareness of their important causes by having their projects, initiatives, contributions and achievements recognised through a national recognition program.

The program is open to charitable organisations including charitable funds and charitable institutions operating in Australia. Charitable institutions include Public Benevolent Institutions and Health Promotion Charities.

Entrants are required to demonstrate the execution of innovative, well-managed, high-performing charitable initiatives. The World Business Awards Framework is utilised as a structured model of assessment that enables the participating organisations to be benchmarked against world class performance standards.

The Australian Charity Award for Outstanding Achievement (OAA) culminating in an overall winner for Charity of the Year (CHY) honour the dedication and achievements of charitable organisations and the measurable impact of their initiatives. Initiatives can include but are not limited to projects, programs, processes, services, systems, technologies, developments, ventures and undertakings.

For more information on The Australian Charity Awards 2018 go to

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