Did you know that suicide is the leading killer of young people in Australia?  And that 1 in 4 young people have a mental health condition? Did you know that the presence of a caring adult – not necessarily a parent – is the single biggest predictor of positive mental health outcomes for young people?  However, the more risk factors a young person faces, the less likely they are to have a natural mentor in their life?  This is not OK.

Raise Foundation aims to fill this gap by providing young people with a confiding relationship with a trusted adult through best practice mentoring programs.

Raise delivers high quality mentoring programs for young Australians, helping to empower over 1,000 young people each year in our communities who are at risk of disengaging from school and sometimes from life.

We work on an early intervention framework, which is illustrated beautifully by this analogy inspired by mentoring expert Jean Rhodes:

Imagine that you’re sitting with a friend beside a river having a picnic when suddenly, sandwich in hand, you hear the sound of a child splashing in the river. To your horror, you realise that she is drowning. What do you do? Of course, you would jump in the river and try to save the child.  But then things get complicated. What happens if, just as you pull the child up onto the riverbank, you looked up and saw two more children struggling in the water?  You would jump right back in, with your friend rescuing the second child wouldn’t you?  No hesitation! But now three more children are being drawn down the river and, just upstream from them, four more.
Eventually, someone will come up with the wise conclusion that someone should be dispatched upstream to stop the children from falling in the river.

This is exactly what Raise does with youth mentoring. We work upstream to intervene and provide young people with the knowledge and help-seeking skills to stop them from falling in the river and, if they do fall in, we give them the life-jackets and teach them to swim.

Mentoring has the capacity to address the individual needs of every young person no matter what adversities they are facing by providing them with the skills to help themselves or to ask for help.

At Raise, we believe we must act to protect our young people and build a village of support around them.  Our vision is to create thriving communities by empowering our young people to become resilient, capable and connected.

Find out more about Raise Foundation

Hear from some of their mentees here

Become a mentor

Very Special Kids cares for more than 950 families across Victoria who have a child with a life-threatening condition, with ongoing support from diagnosis all the way through to bereavement and beyond.

The free-of-charge family support services include counselling, advocacy, sibling support, bereavement support, networking and peer activities, trained family volunteers and specialist care at Very Special Kids Hospice. Very Special Kids Hospice is the only children’s hospice in Victoria and offers families access to 24-hour planned and emergency respite care and end-of-life care.

Money raised through the Upstream Challenge will go towards our ‘Mates Weekends’ and other dedicated Hospice programs. Very Special Kids ‘Mates Weekend’ Program has been designed to bring together children who have a comparable cognitive level and face similar mental and physical challenges, in a safe and shared environment. Such conditions include muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and other rare syndromes. Many of these types of conditions are genetic, hereditary and progressive diseases.

The ‘Mates Weekend’ Program provides a supportive and safe environment where participants can choose to give voice to their feelings. A therapeutic framework allows the attendees to not only explore their emotions, but also enhances self-esteem, encourages peer support and reduces the sense of isolation often felt. They can express issues and concerns about life, about living with their condition without feeling like they are ‘different’. We aim to ensure the child’s time with us is a fun, fulfilling, memorable and positive experience, enhancing their quality of life.

Find out more about Very Special Kids

VSK Video.


You may be surprised to learn that brain tumours are the leading cause of death in children in Australia from ANY disease.

The worst type of brain tumour is called a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and occurs most commonly in children between 5 and 9 years of age, affecting about 20 children each year in Australia.

As the cancer grows it damages many nerves and this causes an ever diminishing quality of life. The survival rate is 0% and most children die within 1 year of diagnosis.

Research is desperately needed to develop treatments. The Isabella and Marcus Fund is funding 3 laboratories in Melbourne to study DIPG and understand what causes this cancer. Your sponsorship will provide PhD scholarships to students, who will become tomorrow’s DIPG scientists.

The Upstream Challenge has already provided funding for 3 scholarships. Thank-you! To learn more about DIPG and The Isabella and Marcus Fund, please view this story, featured on Channel 10’s The Project.

Find out more about IMF
The Project Video.

Upstream Foundation have raised over $2.4 Million and supported many outstanding projects over the last eleven years, some of which are listed below.

Summer Foundation – Building housing demonstration projects to provide concrete examples of alternatives for young people living in nursing homes.

FareShare – Rescuing food from farmers, supermarkets and businesses that would otherwise go to waste and cook nutritious meals to be distributed to people who are struggling to make ends meet. Funds raised enabled the fitout of the new kitchen and setup of a FareShare garden to guarantee the supply of fruit  and vegetables.

Disability Sport & Recreation – Disability Sport and Recreation provides and promotes positive health outcomes for Victorians with disability through participation in sport and recreation. Funding from the Upstream Challenge was used to help develop the Athlete Visitation Program which aims to engage children with disabilities and their families to support networks. The program educates participants about equipment, programs and opportunities available.

Samaritan’s Purse – Building “Water for Life” in Cambodia: Samaritan’s Purse community development programs transformed villages and neighborhoods, and helped families become self-supporting. Funds raised in the 2007 Upstream Challenge enabled the installation of water filters and community wells for villages in Cambodia.

Leprosy Mission – Projects were supported in several countries including Nigeria and India to provide vocational training centres and medical treatment.

Beyondblue – beyondblue is the national, independent, not-for-profit organisation working to raise awareness of depression, help reduce the stigma associated with the illness and encourage people to seek help.

Camp Quality – The project funds camps for kids and their families living with cancer.

Entrust – The project supported was to build a school aimed at providing high quality, heavily subsidized education to poor Dalit children in Tamil Nadu, India.

Leukaemia Foundation – The project supported was to supply a patient transport vehicle for patients with leukaemia and their family while seeking treatment.

Results 2017

Results 2017


Fundraising Prizes

Fundraising Prizes





Upstream Tips

Upstream Tips