Look­ing back, mov­ing forward

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - FRONT PAGE - By LEAH AN­DER­SON-BYRNE

WITH the 10 year an­niver­sary of the 2009 Black Satur­day fires ap­proach­ing, the Into Our Hands (IOH) com­mu­nity foun­da­tion board is re­flect­ing on its big achieve­ments and plan­ning its future im­pact. The Into Our Hands Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion was formed to con­tinue the re­cov­ery process af­ter the dev­as­ta­tion of the 2009 bush­fires. The foun­da­tion’s role is to build com­mu­nity through­out the Alpine, Indigo and Wan­garatta mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and sur­rounds by mak­ing grants, fa­cil­i­tat­ing char­i­ta­ble giv­ing and un­der­tak­ing com­mu­nity lead­er­ship and part­ner­ship ac­tiv­i­ties. IOH’s ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Sarah Thomp­son, has worked with donors and char­i­ties for the past 15 years, but has only been a part of IOH since this year. “The idea of giv­ing lo­cally and the com­fort of know­ing that all money raised in our com­mu­ni­ties goes back into wor­thy projects within our com­mu­ni­ties re­ally res­onates,” she said. IOH chair, Loretta Car­roll, said she was in­tro­duced to the con­cept of phi­lan­thropy and com­mu­nity foun­da­tions by the foun­da­tion’s pa­tron Alan Brown, who this year was awarded A Member of the Or­der of Aus­tralia for his com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in grow­ing phi­lan­thropy. “Com­mu­nity foun­da­tions en­cour­age in­no­va­tion and flex­i­bil­ity at a lo­cal level, they at­tract and har­ness many pos­si­bil­i­ties to al­low change which can lead to amaz­ing growth and un­lim­ited opportunity, and they also make it easy for people to con­trib­ute to a pool of funds which is used to sup­port lo­cal char­i­ta­ble projects through pur­pose­ful grant-mak­ing,” she said.

“The foun­da­tion was launched in 2013 with a fo­cus on com­mu­nity own­er­ship and keep­ing de­ci­sions in the hands of lo­cal people, and we also felt it was im­por­tant to build strong col­lab­o­ra­tion and trust be­tween our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and govern­ment bod­ies. “Es­tab­lish­ing the foun­da­tion brought many com­mu­nity groups to­gether - we ran train­ing ses­sions on com­mu­ni­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion and project man­age­ment to as­sist lo­cals in iden­ti­fy­ing projects and net­work­ing with other com­mu­ni­ties to get best bang for buck.” Two of the big­ger im­pact sto­ries the foun­da­tion would like to share and look back on in­clude an in­vest­ment at the Old Beech­worth Gaol and plant­ing the seeds for future com­mu­nity lead­er­ship. In Novem­ber 2016, the Aus­tralian Cen­tre for Ru­ral En­trepreneur­ship (ACRE) led the $2.7 mil­lion com­mu­nity buy back of the Old Beech­worth Gaol and at this time, the Into Our Hands Foun­da­tion sup­ported ACRE with a strate­gic grant of al­most $50,000. This fund­ing pro­vided ACRE with the or­gan­i­sa­tional ca­pac­ity and plan­ning re­sources cru­cial for the project - it al­lowed ACRE to plan, en­gage and work with the com­mu­nity to make a case for fur­ther in­vest­ment in the site and its po­ten­tial for the re­gion. Loretta be­lieves it is crit­i­cal to en­cour­age lo­cal giv­ing and a com­mu­nity foun­da­tion is a good fit for re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to de­velop ways to cre­ate a fund or a mech­a­nism to raise funds for a va­ri­ety of needs. “Our grants en­able lo­cal groups to grow their ideas and utilise the won­der­ful range of lo­cal skills and ex­per­tise within their own com­mu­nity to help man­age these projects which in­tern pro­motes re­silience and com­mu­nity well­be­ing,” she said. In 2016 IOH Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion pro­vided grant fund­ing to sup­port a schol­ar­ship place in the Alpine Val­ley’s Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship Pro­gram (AVCLP) which ex­ists to en­hance the lead­er­ship ca­pac­ity in North East Vic­to­ria and the broader re­gion. In 2018 Maria Berry was the first IOH schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent, as she had a strong back­ground in aged care and sup­port and a pas­sion for ad­vo­cat­ing for the rights of older people , pre­vent­ing and rais­ing aware­ness about el­der abuse and en­sur­ing care, com­pas­sion and kind­ness are core el­e­ments of care strate­gies with older people. Maria de­scribes par­tic­i­pa­tion in AVCLP as ‘life chang­ing’, and since grad­u­at­ing she has es­tab­lished new com­mit­tees lo­cally to im­prove qual­ity and style of care for older people and is also work­ing to im­prove the ca­pac­ity of the lo­cal, North East aged care providers . More re­cently, Maria was a ple­nary speaker for the fifth Na­tional El­der Abuse Con­fer­ence which was widely re­ported and cov­ered by lo­cal and na­tional news and ra­dio me­dia and these en­gage­ments have led to more dis­cus­sions about her work with SBS, Cel­e­brate Ag­ing, Na­tional Ra­dio Syd­ney and Coun­cil on the Ag­ing and Se­nior Rights Vic­to­ria. Com­mit­tee member Tammy Atkins said com­mu­ni­ties can’t al­ways wait for or ex­pect govern­ment to step in when they need a hand. “It’s up to us to help our­selves and that’s why it’s ex­cit­ing to be part of Into Our Hands as it piv­ots into its next role of be­ing donor driven and puts its fo­cus to­ward gen­er­at­ing lo­cal fund­ing to sup­port the eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of our small towns,” she said.

PHOTO: Justin Jen­vey.

◆ FEEL­ING PHIL­AN­THROPIC: Into Our Hands Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion chair and found­ing member Loretta Car­roll is re­flect­ing on al­most 10 years of phi­lan­thropy.

PHOTO: Loretta Car­rol.

◆ BE­FORE AND AF­TER: Into Our Hands Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion chair and found­ing member Loretta Car­roll’s prop­erty be­fore and af­ter the 2009 Black Satur­day fires.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.