Connecting the dots

This journey has taken us deep into the heart of remarkable, resilient communities that are generating positive impacts in people’s lives and driving changes in inequitable systems that work against collaboration and self determination.

What we set out to do

In 2016 Dusseldorp Forum embarked on a five-year strategy with the agreed purpose to ‘connect the dots for an Australia where all young people thrive.’ By 2021 we set out to achieve:

Improved learning and health outcomes for children and their communities

Strengthened communities equipped to engage in governance and decision-making

Increased collaboration and coordination to address barriers and drive system reform

A portfolio of holistic demonstration sites backed by evidence

How we did it

We committed to focusing our energies and resources on enabling children and their families to have strong learning, strong health and strong communities underpinned by evidence that illustrates what works and why.


with visionary people and organisations dedicated to improving the long-term learning and health outcomes for young Australians.


diverse individuals and organisations across sectors to foster collaborative relationships and collective actions to generate more coordinated strategic effort and structural reform.


systems change by communicating solutions, amplifying our partners’ voices and influencing system decision makers.


an inspiring work environment with expert and dependable support to implement our strategic plan.

Our collective impact

This summary of our collective impact over the past five years includes positive impacts felt in communities and also changes in the systems that govern people’s lives.

We have seen the power of stronger, more hopeful
communities making decisions about their own lives
and taking control of their futures.

Impact Highlights

After five years of collaboration alongside our partners there are indicators that this long-term commitment to place-based community-led change is having an impact.


Communities are driving improved health, education, economic, cultural and environmental outcomes.

“Dusseldorp Forum has walked beside us on our journey. They have supported us, engaged us and challenged us. We are the better for having them engaged in our work.”


Communities and governments are working in partnership to change systems.

“Dusseldorp Forum plays an important role in connecting community with policy change. They have the unique ability to sit in the dirt and amplify up to the system.”


Networks for friendship, learning and support for place-based community-led work have been created.

“The Festival of Change had a really profound impact. It challenged us to think a lot bigger than we were giving ourselves permission to.”


New governance bodies and models for cross-sector collaborations have been built.

“The Forum have helped establish funding structures like Stronger Places Stronger People; they’ve kept projects alive and stimulated others into life. They’ve supported leaders to keep leading.”


The Forum has established new ways of working – building respectful, trusting relationships through longterm partnerships and deepening connections.

“An Australian foundation that respects the context of different communities and doesn’t make those value judgements of deserving and undeserving. Yeah, I thought that was pretty deadly.”

Share the highlights

These are examples of communities working collectively across generations and sectors, to transform life opportunities.

Long-term partnerships, deep, flexible resourcing, and trusting, genuine relationships are key to achieving change together.

By backing community governance we've seen progress in improving the systems that govern people's lives.