The Smith Family

The Smith Family is the national children’s education charity, providing young Australians from disadvantaged backgrounds with the extra tools and support they need to succeed at school, so they can create better futures for themselves.

Today, 1.2 million children and young people are living in poverty across Australia*, which means even life's basics are hard to come by. The disadvantage they experience not only impacts their life at home. It can flow on to negatively impact their education.

The risk factors that lead to educational disadvantage can begin in a child's early years and continue throughout school. Despite the resilience and commitment of parents, the contributors to disadvantage are complex, and without the right support at the right time, disadvantage can be long term and intergenerational.

Education provides children with a pathway out of poverty – empowering future generations of young Australians.

To break the cycle of poverty and fulfil their ambitions, young Australians from disadvantaged backgrounds need long-term support at every stage of their educational journey. Through their Learning for Life sponsorship program, The Smith Family is providing educational support well beyond the classroom in three distinct ways. The Smith Family provides financial support to help families afford basic educational items for their children, like uniforms and books. They provide access to additional learning and mentoring programs – tailored to each child’s needs. And they match each family and their children with a Family Partnerships Coordinator, who helps each student get to school, stay at school and go on to further work or study.

The Smith Family has strong evidence that their three-pronged approach works and is helping children build their skills, grow their confidence, and develop the connections they need to complete their schooling and fulfil their potential.

At the Audi Foundation Australia, we are the national funding partner for The Smith Family’s Work Inspiration program, which provides opportunities for students to learn about career pathways. This program helps to address the difficulties that young people living in disadvantage face when entering the job market, including a lack of connections, role models and aspirations. With our support, The Smith Family is able to deliver Work Inspiration events to more than 1,300 students across Australia each year.

*ACOSS/UNSW Poverty Overview Report, 2020.

"With The Smith Family’s Support, I was able to go on school camps and attend leadership seminars. Because of these opportunities, I was lucky enough to be voted by my peers to become school captain. A lot of my reading material, especially in Year 12, was quite expensive and The Smith Family’s support helped me purchase the items I needed… to get into my dream course."