Who
we are.

Combating social justice issues and breaking down barriers

Our purpose.

To break down barriers faced by vulnerable young people and help them overcome disadvantage, exclusion and oppression.

Our vision.

That all young people are supported and empowered to reach their full potential, families are strong and resilient and the rights of the innocent are protected.

Our values.

Innovate

Foster innovation, drive essential change and, where necessary, address and promote reform of systemic issues.

Challenge

Challenge ourselves, our beneficiaries and our partners to understand the issues and provide the tools necessary to address them.

Empower

 Provide the hope, encouragement and empowerment needed to help change young people’s lives. 

Collaborate

Promote diversity, inclusive participation and holistic support.

Commitment

Deliver on the commitment we make to our volunteers, partners and, most importantly, the young people we support.  

Passion

Driven by our desire to promote change, we’re committed to helping improve the lives of  young Australians.

Our story.

While researching The Bridge Foundation — a professional, psychologist-driven support project at Fulham Prison in Victoria — our founder John Walsh learned that high numbers of young offenders found themselves in the adult prison system within 5 years of exiting the youth justice system.

%

of youth offenders are likely to enter the adult system within 5 years of release

%

of young people entering the youth justice system had come from Out-of-Home care

%

of young people leaving Out-of-Home care did not have a leaving home care plan, despite this being a statutory requirement

%

of youth offenders are likely to enter the adult system within 5 years of release

%

of young people entering the youth justice system had come from Out-of-Home care

%

of young people leaving Out-of-Home care did not have a leaving home care plan, despite this being a statutory requirement

Shocked by these alarming statistics, John changed the charity name from the Bridge Foundation to the Bridge of Hope Foundation and developed a business plan to form a working executive committee and position appropriate governance protection enabling the implementation of real and necessary change.

Timeline.

2002

Under the name of The Bridge Foundation, the initiative commenced as a professional psychologist-driven support project in Fulham Prison, Victoria.

The charity changed its name to the Bridge of Hope Foundation Inc. (BoH) and commenced an extensive research program.

2006

2008

The BoH management structure was positioned and the Round Table Advisory Group — a think-tank focussing on preventing young people stepping from Out-of-Home care into youth justice and the adult prison system — was established.

The BoH Innocence Initiative was established in partnership with RMIT University to investigate claim of wrongful conviction and work to achieve the exoneration and release of the convicted innocent.

2013

2014

The research results from the Round Table group helped to establish a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish a BoH learner driver program at Malmsbury Youth Detention Centre. This was endorsed by the Youth Parole Board, TAC, VicRoads and Toyota.

The BoH Innocence Initiative Reference Group was established — led by a group of influential specialists across law, welfare and human rights — to investigate merit based cases, work to exonerate the factually innocent and drive systemic change to help prevent wrongful conviction.

A BoH L2P Learner Driver Program commenced at the Malmsbury Youth Detention Facility.

BoH Miscarriages of Justice Forum was conducted at RMIT.

2015

2016

The Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young people asked BoH if it would establish a program to support the needs of vulnerable young women as they were exiting Out-of-Home care.

Considerable research highlighted real and concerning issues faced by these young women.

The BoH Bridging the Gap Program was established with focus on vulnerable young women from Out-of-Home care.

Kids in Care: A Human Rights Travesty forum occurred, sponsored by NAB, Pitcher Partners and RMIT.

The BoH Miscarriages of Justice Working Group was established.

2017

2018

The Bridging the Gap Reference Group was established — comprising of a group of specialists across academia, welfare, justice and human rights — to create common sense formulas addressing the plight of vulnerable young women.

The NAB, Births, Deaths and Marriages and other organisations agreed to support the BoH Bridging the Gap initiative.

2019

2020

The BoH Miscarriages of Justice Working Group was renamed the BoH Miscarriages of Justice Advocacy Group, with expanded focus to include social justice matters.

The BoH Speakers Bureau ‘Community Connectors’ was developed.

New BoH Constitution was enacted.

Meet our

Principal Patrons.

Our patrons are key influencers with vast skills, experience and a shared goal to champion the BoH mission. Their passion is to give hope and make a real difference in the lives of the young and the vulnerable.

David de Krester AC

Emeritus Professor, former Governor of Victoria (20062011), principal patron

Fiona McLeod AO SC

Former President of the Law Council of Australia, principal patron

Gillian Triggs

Emeritus Professor, (former principal patron, 2015–2019) stepped down in 2019 to take a position with the United Nations

Meet our

Board.

Meet our

Governance Committee.

Thanks to the pro bono support of our partners Herbert Smith Freehills and Pitcher Partners, our constitution, governance, structure and statement is available for review upon request.

Matthew Pringle

Chair of Committee

Christopher Dale OAM

Solicitor, Chairman of BoH

Laurie Nowell

Journalist and writer, AMES Australia

George Stamas

Founder and Managing Director, GJK Facility Services

Meet our

Round Table
Advisory Group.

Donate

Help us deliver programs to bridge the gap faced by some of Australia's most vulnerable young people.

CONTRIBUTE TO A GREAT CAUSE

Volunteer

Are you a change maker? Are you passionate about helping vulnerable people transform their lives?

JOIN US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Partner

We're always looking to partner with like-minded organisations that are passionate about creating real change.

BECOME A BRIDGE BUILDER

Donate

Volunteer

Partner