THE LYRA TAYLOR FUND: Origins & Purpose

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THE LYRA TAYLOR FUND: Origins & Purpose

About Lyra Taylor

In 1944, Lyra Taylor became the first social worker in the Commonwealth Department of Social Services and helped change how governments delivered their social services programs. Lyra had forged a successful legal career in New Zealand, studied in America and worked in Canada before taking up her post as the department’s first social worker. She obtained a Master’s degree in social economics and social work. She was then appointed Administrative Officer of the Social Work and Research Branch in the Department of Social Services in 1944.

Professor of Social Work at Melbourne University, Dr Leonard Tierney, paid tribute to Lyra for her dedication to social work, despite the challenges and controversy of her role at the time. Lyra chivvied and persuaded social workers to enlarge their vision of themselves, the world and their professional contribution. To the young she was kind and she had a way of enlisting you to causes which was difficult to resist.

We need to remember how difficult it was for women then to achieve positions commensurate with their ability, or even to find their way into a university. After her retirement, Lyra continued to be active in various social councils representing and advocating for older Australians. After her death in 1979, AASW Victoria, to whom Lyra bequeathed her estate, established the Lyra Taylor Fund. As stated in Lyra’s obituary, “the social work profession in Australia owes an enormous amount to the work of Lyra Taylor”. Pictured above, Miss Lyra Taylor aged 29 in 1925.

What is the purpose of the Lyra Taylor Fund?

As mentioned above, Lyra Taylor bequeathed her estate to the AASW Victorian Branch. A fund was established, to distribute varying amounts of funding to the education and professional development of social workers. This funding is delivered by way of grants, depending on the capacity of the Fund and the quality of the Applications received. Lyra was dedicated to advancing the professionalism and standing of social work through development and training.

1.  To advance education in relation to Social Work by:

a) Promoting, improving, and maintaining standards of professional practice, education, and research.

b) Establishing and maintaining continuing professional education opportunities for members.

c) Educating and informing the public and community institutions as to the aims and objectives of professional Social Work; and

2.  To encourage and financially support special projects that will benefit the community.

Grants from the fund may be made to current financial members of the AASW (Victorian Branch) for projects consistent with the Fund’s purpose. The Lyra Taylor Fund is managed by Equity Trustees Charitable Foundation – Lyra Taylor Account (EQT) and the decision to allocate grants to applicants is conducted through the Lyra Taylor Decision Committee.

For 2023, The Lyra Taylor Decision Committee (through EQT) awarded grant funding of $6,000 to La Trobe University in support of the project by our Victorian member, Dr Natasha Long and her project:  “Growing social work field education in the fee for service space”.


About Lyra Taylor Guidelines for Application

The Lyra Taylor Decision Committee has established the following guidelines in administering the Fund:

  •  The principal applicant or organisation needs to be a current financial member of the AASW (Victorian Branch).
  • Preference in the applications for grants will be given to practitioners in the field.
  • Projects for which applications are considered include workshops, honoraria for work on behalf of a group, preparation and/or publication costs of approved material, practice-based research projects and the preparation of material for professional development.
  • Grants are not made for travel costs.
  • Any publication funded in full or in part by the Fund, or any report of a project so funded, should include acknowledgement of the assistance received from the Fund.
  • Funding of any project does not necessarily imply endorsement by the AASW.
  • A brief Evaluation Report on the project which includes a statement of the expenditure of the grant must be submitted to the AASW on the completion of the project.
  • There is no appeal against decisions by the Lyra Taylor Decision Committee.


About Lyra Taylor Application Process

The Lyra Taylor Decision Committee has established the following application process:

  1. Funding guidelines and the online application form can be accessed via the Equity Trustees’ website.
  2. Complete an Expressions of Interest by the end of 29 February 2024
  3. The Lyra Taylor Decision Committee will review EOIs and determine which will proceed to an application.
  4. Invited applications (Including link to on-line Application Form) close: 22 March 2024. Please log into the smartygrants portal to access
  5. The Lyra Taylor Decision Committee will assess invited applications and outcomes will be advised by May 2024.
  6. Successful applicants will be required to complete a Grant Agreement – via Equity Trustees – which manages the funds of the Equity Trustees Charitable Foundation – Lyra Taylor Account (EQT).
  7. At the completion of the project, you will be required to complete an acquittal report via the Smartygrants platform that you applied through.


Should you have any questions regarding accessing the form or completing this application.
please contact Equity Trustees Granting Team via email [email protected]