Exploring Christian Faith and Values

Alpha Australia

Overview of Year One

“Nearly every young person before reaching adulthood comes to a point of decision about religion. When he faces up to it, he solves it in one of several ways: – by avoiding a decision and accepting a state of drift, by positively deciding to set it aside, by continuing formal observance and remaining in doubt, by consciously continuing his “search”, or by finding his own terms for accepting a duty to God and endeavouring to expand a spiritual understanding through faith.”

– Sir Vincent Fairfax, “Along the Scouting Trail” in Scouting New South Wales newsletter, August 1968. 

Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students

The Christian faith was a central pillar of Sir Vincent Fairfax’s life and character, providing purpose, a robust ethical framework and the basis of care for others. VFFF continues to honour this aspect of Sir Vincent’s legacy through the Exploring Christian Faith and Values focus area.

VFFF’s potential impact in this focus area is high given the small number of foundations who publicly fund in this area. Sector consultation undertaken in 2019 informed a more targeted funding approach, with a clear focus on our two funding outcomes:

  • Young people gain knowledge of and interest in Christian faith
  • Young people have positive, engaging experiences that encourage their participation in Christianity.

In FY22, VFFF conducted a review of our recent Christianity funding to ensure our approach remained relevant to young people. This process identified common characteristics amongst those grantees consistently delivering the strongest faith exploration outcomes for young people. These organisations all have:    

  • Strong demand from young people with sustained high levels of youth participation
  • Strong governancesound processes and organisational capacity to work at scale
  • Growth mindsets with a breadth of activities supporting young people’s faith journey.

Over many years, VFFF has seen the value of providing organisations with funding towards their core operations. This type of flexible funding covers organisational and administrative costs such as salaries and overheads that maintain the everyday operation of an organisation.  

Looking forward, we envisage that our annual Christianity funding will be characterised by a small number of large, multi-year core operations grants. Supporting the core operations of those organisations with the identified characteristics for success is a recipe for high impact granting, enabling more young people to make life choices informed by an understanding of Christian faith and values.

Grants Snapshot






of total funding


for core operations and capacity building


to regional areas

2022 Grants

VFFF Board

Alpha Australia, $830,000 over three years

Building the capacity of the Alpha Youth team to support faith exploration by Australian young people

Core operations funding to support the continued growth of Alpha Youth.


Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (AFES), $450,000 over three years

A new approach to reaching young people with the Gospel at university

Building AFES capacity to engage in fellowship and grow students’ Christian knowledge and faith at university. 

VFFF Grants Committee

NET Ministries, $50,000

NET Ministries marketing refresh & content creation

The development of digital content to promote NET Ministries and enhance their service delivery in Catholic high schools.


Questioning Christianity, $50,000

Building the capacity of Questioning Christianity

Towards the employment of an additional speaker, digital resources and administrative assistance. 


Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students

Highlight: Peer to peer faith exploration

Many young Australians have limited opportunity to explore Christian faith in a safe, open and non-judgmental environment. Alpha Youth provides a space for young people with an interest in faith and spirituality to be part of facilitated peer to peer conversation, sharing their faith through stories and discussion. The Alpha Youth Series has three components – a meal, a video presentation and a discussion, generally delivered each week over a period of 8-10 weeks. Alpha has proven to be popular among young people across Christian denominations and in youth group, online and school settings. Through its gentle peer to peer introduction to faith, Alpha provides a starting point for faith exploration and complements other levels of faith engagement in formal religious settings.
Alpha Australia

The Alpha team’s strengths in digital reach, social media and online marketing came to the fore throughout the COVID period, supporting Alpha’s continued growth throughout 2020 and 2021. This provides a solid base for further online growth and effective hybrid delivery models. Building on this, Alpha sought VFFF’s support to further increase the capacity of the Alpha Australia youth team with an ultimate goal of seeing over 100,000 Australian young people gain knowledge of and interest in Christian faith from 2022-2024. Additional to the overall outcome of participant growth, VFFF’s multi-year $830,000 core operations grant will back Alpha to improve the quality and sustainability of their youth program, by:

  • Increasing the capacity of the Alpha Youth team and organisational systems
  • Continuing to develop strategic partnerships to further the work of Alpha Youth
  • Increasing the quantity and quality of student-led Alphas and expanding Alpha in Schools
  • Improving coaching, training and developing new content for Australian audiences
  • Elevating Australian youth voices to further centre the voices of young people in program design and delivery.

With a high quality team of young people and a commendable organisational focus on strategy and tracking and reporting outcomes, the Alpha team is well placed to facilitate young people’s exploration of the basics of Christian belief.   



Acknowledgement of Country

The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, and extends this acknowledgement to all Traditional Custodians of nations where we fund organisations and activities. We pay respect to Elders past and present, and to the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.