Queensland – June 2012
- Partners for Impact – Volunteering week 2012
- Champions’ Training kicks off!
- In conversation with Jose Ferrao
- Queensland flood exhibition update
- Tribute: Heather Leembruggen and Geoffrey Green
- New United Way Staff
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Partners for Impact – Volunteering week 2012
A: Community Impact!
As a prelude to National Volunteering Week, United Way Australia, with the support of AMP Foundation, successfully launched our Partners for Impact Program in May.
Partners for Impact is a year-long peer development program. We pair up corporate and community leaders, who work on initiatives to develop the capacity of the community organisations so that they can better achieve their missions. The Program also provides networking and professional development opportunities for the corporate and community leaders to connect with, and learn from, other like-minded peers. This year we have 26 leaders from 16 organisations participating. It is a great way for corporate leaders to volunteer their time and professional skills – and will make a huge impact in the community sector. Read more about the launch here.
Champions’ Training kicks off!
United Way has held its inaugural training session for Corporate Partner Community Champions.
The training was a great success with 23 champions from 11 corporate partners enjoying the opportunity to learn how to more effectively engage colleagues in their community programs, share ideas and network with other champions, learn more about United Way and hear first-hand from our community partners.
After the training, Shontay Connolly (an Investigator at Genworth) told us about her Community journey and what the training meant to her.
I wanted to be part of the Genworth volunteering program since I first heard of it while taking part in a Backyard Blitz I am now a Genworth Values Ambassador and my key role is to advocate the Genworth values of heart, integrity, and excellence. This involves speaking for and on behalf of my colleagues about a wide range of things, from raising awareness about a new idea or getting people involved in the community program.
Being able to put a smile on someone’s face is my biggest joy. I didn’t have the greatest of fortune growing up but I had special people that supported me; I saw becoming a champion as my opportunity to give back and help those less fortunate. I know I get more out of it than I give. Recently I was involved in Lunch with the Girls with a group of Year 10 students from Marrickville High School and that experience was really cool for me. The girls that I mentored had so much potential but I don’t think they knew just how much.
I loved meeting other champions from a range of companies at the training; hearing their ideas and how they advocate and engage staff. The part that really hit home was hearing from several guest speakers from community partners. They talked with so much heart and passion; Sylvana from Pathways’ story was really inspiring. Sometimes you hear stories about what is happening in your community and it is hard to believe, but when someone is standing in front of you and telling you their story it makes you say “wow”.
I’d encourage others thinking of taking a similar journey to just get involved! Being a volunteer is a really selfless act but at the same time it is so rewarding. The ability to put a smile on someone’s face gives you the warm fuzzies inside! It is so exciting, and a great experience.
If you are interested in attending our next annual Champions Training session or joining our Champion’s Network, which meets several times per year, please contact your Corporate Partner Manager or email us.
In conversation with Jose Ferrao
Senior Vice President of the United Way Worldwide International Network, Jose Ferrao recently visited us downunder- and we took this opportunity to get an international perspective on the work of United Way.
How did you become involved with United Way?
Five years ago Milton Little (then CEO of UW Boston) discussed his vision for UW with me. They were looking to transition the organisation to become more focussed on Community Impact and with 120 people this was going to mean a significant change to completely retool and re-skill the organisation. I loved the picture he painted of re-creating Boston as the best place in the US in which to raise a child. So I joined for a two year stint to help create the transition…. and I’m still here 5 years later!
So I guess you like United Way then! What is it that has kept you here?
There are a couple of things that really appeal to me about United Way that are reasonably unique to the organisation. I’m not a great believer in giving handouts but I passionately believe in creating the opportunity for individuals to succeed, and this is a major driver for United Way in its mission to create lasting change. Rather than creating something new for the sake of it, the organisation works to make the existing system more effective – using what’s already in a city and bringing it together to create something better. The third thing that really hooked me was the opportunity to be a catalyst for the expansion of this model right around world. This is more than just a job for me – I am absolutely passionate about the work we do.
How does United Way really make a difference in communities around the world?
The important thing to remember is that no single organisation can ever solve the complex social problems we face alone. The best results are achieved where we truly bring the community together and ask two questions – what is the issue and how do we address it? And the engagement has to be broad-based – it can’t be just corporates or just government or just the social sector. Someone needs to act as an honest broker sitting across all relevant groups and getting them talking and finding solutions together – and that’s where our strength lies. The other thing to bear in mind is that governments around the world are no longer providing the support and services to the population that they once did – so engagement of individual citizens to focus on their community is important. UW is trying to create this culture. In fact the employee engagement we build is about creating a new culture where people care what is happening in their community. I see evidence of the impact that UW has on lives all around the world.
Where should potential volunteers and donors look to invest their time and money in order to get the biggest return on investment?
Early childhood development, or investment in school readiness, is an absolute no brainer. Programs involving something as simple as reading to children delivers significant long-term benefit and is actually creating generational change. Expanding the horizons of 15-21 year olds via mentoring and experiential learning also pays enormous dividends. As technology becomes more and more sophisticated and more kids drop out of school, we don’t have enough technical skills available. In France we work with Airbus to bring kids to their facility and see a practical application for the maths, science and technology studies. In Brazil we work with PWC to mentor and teach accounting to students on Saturday mornings. Sometime just the opportunity to use a lift or visit an office is life-changing.
José is Senior Vice President of the United Way International Network and leads a team of professionals that provide leadership and support for a network of community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories. He and his team facilitate the adaptation of a set of Global Standards that make United Way organisations unique and successful wherever they are in the world.
Queensland flood exhibition update
In December of 2012, as part of the lead up to the anniversary of the Queensland floods, an exhibition of works were hosted by Fuji Xerox Australia in West End and then later at the Commonwealth Bank Building in the Brisbane CBD. The art works were created by the students of Goodna State School in the first few weeks back at school after their community had been devastated by the merging of water from the Lockyer and Brisbane River Valleys. The exhibition has created a lot of interest and we are excited to announce that it will now be exhibited by the Queensland Museum. After the exhibition in June, the works will be given by the Goodna School community to the State Library of Queensland and will be preserved for future generations as part of the John Oxley Collection. This is a wonderful and most fitting destination for these children’s memories; something that will be no doubt displayed again in the hundreds of years to come.
For more info please read Mick McDade’s recent blogpost Good on you Goodna.
Tribute: Heather Leembruggen and Geoffrey Green
In May, United Way Australia farewelled two of its longest-serving and dedicated Board Members (and former Chairmen), Heather Leembruggen and Geoffrey Green OAM. Here we pay tribute to their achievements and contributions.
Heather Leembruggen almost dismissed an association with United Way out of hand – on the basis she “didn’t like cocktail parties”. Luckily for United Way, then Chairman the late Bob Sutton managed to convince Heather that charity involvement via cocktail parties was not what the organisation was about. The advertising high-flyer hadn’t considered giving back to the community at that point in her career but by the end of the conversation she was hooked. United Way needed someone who could take on communications and build the brand of the fledgling organisation in Australia; Heather recognised that she could use her “business experience to harness the power of corporations and mobilise collaborations to achieve outcomes which generate social change at a grassroots level with the mission of improving lives”. And typical of her enormous energy and “boots and all” commitment to everything she does, 22 years later she has served as Director of UW Sydney, Melbourne and Australia, President and Chairman of UW Australia, as well as representing Australia at international level through the Global Standards Committee and the Global Transition Board.
Her achievements at United Way more than match those of her broader career since graduating with a BA Hons. degree. Starting in the fashion industry she made the move to advertising and was one of the few women to attain senior management and board positions in the Marketing and Communications arena, founding an advertising agency and serving as a director and VP on the World Board of the International Advertising Association, and currently President/Chair of IAA Australia. In 2003 she was honoured to receive the Centenary Medal “For Service to Australian Society in business leadership”. She was also a founding member of Chief Executive Women (which now boasts over 200 members), an organisation dedicated to supporting women to achieve at the highest level in the corporate sphere. It’s a long way from her student days of fashion, occasional modelling and TV work, and she is proud that her career path has given her an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way and has loved being an active part of the United Way family locally and globally.
Geoffrey Green (OAM RFD ED)’s association with United Way began in 1997 when the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund (LMCF) in Melbourne affiliated with United Way and he became the representative of LMCF on the UWA board. Geoffrey had joined the Hospital & Charities Committee of the LMCF in 1985, was nominated to the Board in 1990, and served until 2006, including a term as Chairman from 2002 to 2004. He served as President/Chairman of UWA from 2003 to 2006. The highlight of that term being when LMCF and United Way Melbourne hosted the United Way International World Assembly in Melbourne in May 2006. That exciting event was key to the closer association between UWA and the World body that has continued and flourished to this day.
By 2008 LMCF determined that its focus on building its long-term endowment fund was not consistent with the corporate focus of the UWM team and decided to cease its affiliation with UWA. With some assistance from LMCF a fully independent UWM was created under the guidance of Geoffrey, then UWA Chairman Heather Leembruggen, and some committed corporate partners. It was a considerable financial and staff challenge to go from the comfort of a well funded administration within LMCF to a new independent entity.
Geoffrey has a history spanning over 40 years of voluntary service in community organisations; aside from his 16 years on the board of the LMCF and 10 years with United Way (3 as Chairman), he is a Life Governor of Jewish Care Victoria Inc. and served for many years on the Board of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, including a term as Chairman. In 2003 he received the Order of Australia Medal for service to the Jewish community, particularly through social welfare and relief organisations. Geoffrey looks back on his long service with United Way as having been challenging and rewarding, and an experience that he values greatly.
New United Way Staff
Jenny joined as Community Impact Manager and is an experienced community development professional having worked across government, local community organisations and international NGOs. She has been a freelance consultant to Opportunity International, Christian Blind Mission and HopeStreet, has been Plan International’s Senior Advisor for Community Engagement, and spent 7 years working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through government and not-for-profit agencies. Through these roles Jenny has developed sound skills in strategic planning, program management and stakeholder engagement. Jenny also has social research and planning experience including Theory of Change and Logical Framework models, Social Impact Assessments, Monitoring and Evaluation methods.
Lyndsey comes to us from Business in the Community in Northern Ireland where she was a Relationship Manager. As well as a strong background in supporting businesses in developing their CSR programs, Lyndsey has submitted a PhD in Corporate Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Engagement from Queens University in Belfast. She has lectured on issues of corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship and business ethics and been invited to present her research on CSR at several international conferences including presenting as keynote speaker at a conference in Istanbul discussing emerging CSR issues and how the private and voluntary sectors can work together to tackle them.
Welcome Jenny and Lyndsey!