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About us

The Smith Family is a national, independent children's charity helping disadvantaged Australians to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves.

A message from The Smith Family CEO, Lisa O'Brien

A message from The Smith Family CEO, Lisa O'Brien

We truly believe supporting a child’s education is the best way to help break the cycle of disadvantage. By giving disadvantaged children and young people the support and resources they need to achieve their full potential, our impact will have a lasting effect on those we help today, and for generations to come.

One in six Australian children and young people living in poverty1 need our support to make the most of their education. I urge you to explore our website to learn more about this important issue, our programs, and how you can make a difference.

We are truly grateful to the many thousands of caring Australians who support the work we do for families in need. Without your generosity, our work in 91 communities across Australia simply wouldn't be possible.


A better future for young Australians in need.


Every child deserves a chance.


To create opportunities for young Australians in need by providing long-term support for their participation in education.


Respect | We are caring

Integrity | We are ethical

Collaboration | We work together

Innovation | We are dynamic

Excellence | We strive for quality

Grow and innovate: our strategy 2018-22

Our new Five–Year Strategy sets out a bold new ambition and a target to reach more disadvantaged young Australians with our evidence–based programs.

With more than 1.1 million Australian children and young people living in poverty, the need is great. Innovation will be vital to ensure that our work equips more children and young people to thrive in the 21st century.

For their help developing our Five–Year Strategy, we thank the members of our Board and advisory groups, and the many external experts in a range of fields who gave us much valued advice. We also thank our team members for their input and support. For guiding the development of this strategy, we are also deeply grateful for the pro bono support of consulting firm Bain & Company. They took us through a comprehensive process which enabled us to develop an outcomes–driven, long–term plan.

With our plan locked in, The Smith Family is ready for the next phase.

We’re looking forward to working with our families and supporters to achieve our vision of a better future for young Australians in need.

Dr Lisa O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer, The Smith Family.

Working across Australia in 91 communities

Learning for Life programs in 91 communities

Working across Australia in 91 communities

The Smith Family delivers our Learning for Life programs across 91 Australian communities, often out of the local school.

The communities have been identified as having higher concentrations of families living in economic disadvantage and are across all Australian states and territories.

We support disadvantaged Australian children

As Australia’s largest national education-oriented charity, we support disadvantaged Australian children to participate fully in their education, giving them the best chance at breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Our learning support and mentoring programs help children in need to fit in at school, keep up with their peers, and build aspirations for a better future for themselves.

winter 2015

Children cannot choose their circumstances

Children cannot choose their circumstances

For one in six Australian children and young people growing up in poverty,1 it can limit their choices, opportunities and outcomes in life.

Investing in the education of a disadvantaged child delivers long-term positive benefits for them, their family and potentially generations to come.


1 Poverty in Australia, 2018, ACOSS/UNSW Report.

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