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You can sponsor an Australian child today

When you don’t have what you need to fit in, school can feel like the worst place in the world

One in six Australian children and young people are growing up in poverty1, where even the bare necessities are hard to come by. In a family where there is no regular income, money goes on food, rent and bills. Finding money for a school uniform, proper shoes, textbooks or the next school excursion is often impossible.
The cycle of disadvantage for 1.1 million Australian children and young people
For only $52 per month, your sponsorship combined with that of another sponsor, will provide a child with essential school supplies, a new uniform and life-changing learning support, so they can fit in and catch up to their peers.

How your sponsorship will help a student

Financial support
Financial support to pay for school essentials like a school uniform, shoes, textbooks and excursions.
Guidance and support
Guidance and support from a Learning for Life Coordinator who works with the family and understands the specific needs of a child.
Access to out-of-school educational opportunities
Access to out-of-school educational opportunities. These can include The Smith family’s learning and mentoring programs.


The Learning for Life sponsorship program recognises that disadvantaged children need extra support to stay at school and go on to further studies or employment.

So when a student is sponsored through The Smith Family, as well as financial assistance with purchasing school essentials, the student’s family is also paired with a Learning for Life Coordinator. The Learning for Life Coordinator offers students encouragement and support with their schooling; links students and their families to learning and mentoring programs in their community and helps children and young people to fully participate in their education.

Download our annual report.

Read our latest Annual Report for fundraising efficiency and sponsorship program effectiveness.

On average, children growing up in disadvantaged homes are two to three years behind their more advantaged peers

The impacts of poverty are severe and far reaching. When they start school, many children in disadvantaged families are behind in basic reading and math skills2, lacking the essentials they need to fully participate in their education. Without the skills they need to keep up in class, these students can fall even further behind, making it more difficult for them to stay engaged and motivated at school.

Without early intervention, these children can fall so far behind it is almost impossible to catch up.

Disadvantaged students are on average 2 to 3 years behind in reading and maths by the time they are 15 years old.

As a sponsor you can

graphic says access your personalised My Smith Family portal online
Write to your sponsored students or view your giving history via our secure online portal.
graphic says correspond with your student at any time
Opportunity to write to your student and on their birthday you can send them a card.
graphic says stay up to date with stories from students and families
Regular supporter newsletters with stories from students and families involved in our programs across Australia.

As a sponsor you'll receive

graphic says a welcome kit with information about your sponsorship
A welcome pack containing all the information you'll need about your sponsorship and the impact of your support.
graphic says a student profile from your sponsored child
A student profile completed by your student to share information about their interests and favourite subjects.
graphic says an annual tax deductable reciept
A tax-deductible receipt issued annually for your sponsorship donations.


Since the end of the 1990s The Smith Family has focused its activities on providing disadvantaged children with a hand up through education support rather than a hand out through emergency relief or traditional welfare activities, including blankets, food parcels and furniture.

Research shows supporting a child’s education and learning is one of the most effective means of breaking the cycle of disadvantage and this is what The Smith Family is all about today.

To be eligible for Learning for Life sponsorship families must meet the following criteria:

  • live in a community where The Smith Family has a presence;
  • possess a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card;
  • demonstrate a commitment to education (i.e. children must attend school regularly);
  • be referred to us by a community organisation such as a school.

To remain on the Learning for Life sponsorship program families must:

  • show a commitment to their child’s education by ensuring children attend school;
  • complete a student profile each year (a written update which is sent to their sponsor);
  • provide a copy of their end of year school reports (for Smith Family administration and not shared with the sponsor);
  • keep receipts of educational expenses and be able to show these as requested.

Children from poor backgrounds often don’t have access to the tools and support they need to keep up in school and get the most from their education. And that’s why sponsorship is so important.

As a Learning for Life sponsor, your donations of $52 a month, combined with that of another sponsor, provides a combination of three vital areas of support for a sponsored child:

  • financial support to pay for school essentials such as a school uniform, proper school shoes, text books, and school excursions;
  • targeted support from a Learning for Life Coordinator who really gets to know the family and understand their unique circumstances. They can link the student to local learning opportunities that help them to fully participate in their education;
  • access to a range of educational opportunities. This includes our out-of-school learning and mentoring programs which help boost their confidence and improve vital skills such as reading so they can keep up with their peers at school.

There's also the emotional support that you provide simply by being their sponsor. Students often tell us how motivated they feel just knowing that someone out there (whom they will never meet) cares about them enough to invest in their future.

Many of our sponsors choose a shared sponsorship at $52/month for a student in Kindergarten to Year 10. This option is made available to you online.

For our shared sponsorship model, where two sponsors contributions are combined to sponsor one child:

Education Level Sponsorship cost (Per Month) Sponsorship cost (Per Year)
School Level Student (K – Year 10) Per Month: $52 Per Year: $624

Or, where a sponsor prefers to be the sole sponsor of a child and takes up the full cost of sponsorship:

Education Level Sponsorship cost (Per month) Sponsorship cost (Per year)
School Level Student (K – Year 10) Per Year: $104 Per Year: $1,248

If you are considering sponsoring a senior school student or would prefer to become a sole sponsor where you cover the full cost of a child’s sponsorship, our Supporter Care Team will be able to assist you. Contact them on 1800 024 069 or via email at [email protected]

Research confirms that the best way to help children break the cycle of disadvantage is by helping them get the most out of their education.

Everything that we do is backed by research, and we know that sponsorship is making a difference because we measure the success of all of our programs.

Sponsorship supports children in need so they can:

  • attend school regularly,
  • complete Year 12, and
  • move onto further education and employment post school.

We measure a child’s school attendance, advancement and engagement after school. We can proudly report that we are continuing to improve in these areas year on year – as featured in our Annual Report.

You can also follow your child’s progression through school by corresponding with them.

The Smith Family forms a partnership agreement with every family that comes onto the Learning for Life program. This is a rigorous process to ensure that your money is used as set out in the agreement. Our students are referred by our partner schools, and their families must possess a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card to be eligible for support. To remain on the sponsorship program supported families must keep receipts of educational expenses and be able to show these as requested, as well as return partnership paperwork (e.g. student profiles and student attendance reports).

Yes. We encourage sponsors and children to exchange cards and letters throughout the year. Many sponsors and their students find this an extremely rewarding part of the program. We’ll even send you a reminder before your students birthday so you can send a card if you wish. All correspondence between students and sponsors is exchanged through The Smith Family to ensure that it complies with our guidelines and that privacy is maintained at all times.

The My Smith Family Portal also enables you to write electronically, quickly and easily and can be accessed here.

To find out more about writing to your student, please visit this page.

“Sponsorship is a chance for me to say, well, here’s one child that won’t miss out.” – Paul, Child Sponsor

1 Poverty in Australia, 2018, ACOSS/UNSW Report.
2 Thomson et al, 2011, Challenges for Australian Education: Results from PISA 2009.

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