FOND FAREWELL Chapman retires from T T
Liz Chapman, founder and inaugural chair of Tomorrow Today, is retiring after two decades of dedication to Benalla’s community foundation.
Ms Chapman said the idea to create a community foundation came to her in 1999 at a Regional Australia summit in Canberra.
“We discussed the growing divide between city dwellers and those in regional Australia and the need for rural communities to find their own solutions and form partnerships to make things happen,” Ms Chapman said.
“I returned to Benalla and, with other residents, raised the idea of establishing a Benalla foundation.”
This led to the formation of Tomorrow Today in 2001. Since then, the foundation has raised and invested more than $10 million to benefit the Benalla community — a lot of which is due to the dedication of local people who have donated time, money and skills to the foundation.
Tomorrow Today’s executive officer Rosie Koop said Ms Chapman’s generosity, persistence and exceptional skills in research and rural development had enabled Benalla to build a thriving community foundation capable of tackling major local issues.
“When a 2007 report identified Benalla as being among the most socially disadvantaged communities in Victoria, Liz led the creation of Tomorrow Today’s Education Benalla Program,” Ms Koop said.
“She has given thousands of hours guiding and shaping the program, which aims to ensure that all Benalla children and young people can achieve their potential in school, work and life.”
Ms Chapman said it had been a long, and at times difficult, commitment, but it had also been incredibly satisfying.
“To see the rates of healthy child development markedly improve in Benalla is a highlight of my professional life even though I’m a volunteer,”
SEE PAGES 11–13 she said. “Tomorrow Today glues together all the singular efforts that people make to help children and young people to be their best selves.
“Due to the efforts of all involved, it turns it into a massive ball of energy that is transforming the future for this generation of children.
“Benalla is better off, and I leave the organisation very happy that the work continues thanks to the efforts of many.”
Foundation chair Sally Gamble said many people had contributed to the success of the Education Benalla Program, yet without Ms Chapman’s strong and steady leadership none of this would have been possible.
“Liz passionately believes it takes a whole community to educate a child,” Ms Gamble said. “(She) has fitted her very significant volunteer contribution to the foundation around paid work and her commitments as a carer.
“Thank you Liz, for dreaming big and contributing so generously to a stronger future for Benalla.”