Local philanthropists were recognised in Federal Parliament last week for their work in helping children from poor families achieve their true potential.
Member for Indi Cathy McGowan acknowledged the work of Benalla’s Tomorrow Today Foundation in a speech to parliament.
‘‘They do fantastic work, using local money to do local good,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘Their work with kids from preschool right through is making a huge difference to my community in Benalla, so I want to thank you.’’
But Ms McGowan said there was still ‘‘work to be done’’ by the government to reduce the tax burden on charities, such as the Tomorrow Today Foundation.
The foundation’s chair Sally Gamble was at Parliament House talking to ministers and senators about the importance of philanthropy in rural communities.
‘‘Benalla is a community that has significant socioeconomic disadvantage and our children face long-term educational consequences that you don’t see in more advantaged communities,’’ Gamble said.
But its not all bad news, according to Ms Gamble, who said she had seen significant improvements during the past few years.
‘‘When we look at the census data we see that the number of children developmentally on track has improved and there’s been a reduction in the number of children at risk,’’ she said.
‘‘When we look across Benalla at the work being done to ensure children arrive at school ready to learn, we can see that positive change is happening.
‘‘There’s a great deal of goodwill and desire to help our children to achieve.
‘‘We have across our community a great many volunteers and different organisations to help turn that around.’’
The Tomorrow Today Foundation works with more than 140 local organisations, including clubs, community groups and government organisations.
People wanting to volunteer can sign up on their website on www.tommorrowtoday.com.au
‘‘We are always looking for more local volunteers who are keen to support young people in our community,’’ Ms Gamble said. Ms
Thrilled: Tomorrow Today’s Sally Gamble and Liz Chapman with Cathy McGowan.