The Yarra Institute is an independent ecumenical organisation to foster research and teaching about ethical dimensions of contemporary social issues. It is sited at the Yarra Theological Union at Box Hill in Melbourne, and works within the auspices of the MCD University of Divinity.
The Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy operates with a board of governance elected by members and committed to ensuring the organisation:
- Embodies the values of the Christian social thinking which inspires us
- Acts in a manner compliant with high legal, social and fiduciary standards
- Is environmentally aware and socially responsible
- Works collaboratively with other research organisations while respecting their independence
Its Director is nominated by the Board. A small executive and support staff ensure that the Yarra Institute becomes increasingly a voice in public debate and policy development, and a catalyst for other organisations in their endeavours to champion Christian values and concerns in the public forum.
The task of the Yarra Institute involves 'strategic alliance building' and to this end it first focuses on:
- Identifying agencies and organisations which display aligned values, directions or activities
- Developing the 'Case for co-operation – partners in social justice', adding value through partnerships
- Pursuing key areas of research
- Developing alliance projects
A key component of success is to secure major donor support from individuals and organisations that are not party-politically aligned, that meet appropriate ethical standards, and that can provide financial or other resources for the work of the Yarra Institute.