This is my fifth and final report as President of the Foothills Foundation and Charitable Trust.

2022 has been another challenging year as we have still been wrestling with the pandemic and its impact on both community needs and our social connection and fundraising with our community.

The highlight of the year has unquestionably been the success of the High Tea event which raised over $15,000 and provided 35 young women with a wonderful opportunity for personal development through the UR retreat run by Bridge Builders Youth Charity.

We have continued to see growth in relationships with the likes of Anchor and IOOB and we are venturing into new relationships with the likes of Eastern Palliative Care, Communities of Wellbeing and Our Local FIRM.

We are also continuing to see changes in the nature of support needs that we are being asked to help with as well as a fall in some of the traditional supports (eg with gap funding for mobility devices now covered through the NDIS).

So the world continues to change around us and we must continue to evolve.

Additionally, we have recently clarified our area of operations to Maroondah, Yarra Ranges and Knox which had become a bit of a contentious issue. It was good to have that settled.

Our People

Colleen Sinclair joined us officially as a Board Member at the last AGM and has been a welcome addition quickly becoming part of the team.

Bruce Stewart, Tegan Rose and Mandy Maguire have done a great job with grants as Tamara, Paul, Colleen and Lauren have with events and Martin has continued his good work as Treasurer.

Natalie was absent for much of the year by agreement but jumped in to be the MC for the High Tea at a moment’s notice when Lisa Glassborow couldn’t make it and she did a great job.

Thanks also to Daryl Stephens for hopping in to help with the Le Tour Dinner.

Section Media has continued to help with our communications as have Tamara and Colleen.

Looking forward

When I took on the presidency, my role was primarily focused on building sustainability for the organisation beyond the very healthy funds base that has been built under previous leaders. We have done that in a number of ways:

1. Firstly, with the name and branding of the organisation to be inclusive and consistent with the organisation’s history – that was done with the transition from the Footmen Foundation to the Foothills Foundation

2. Secondly, with modernisation of the foundation’s infrastructure and that has been done through the acquisition of a free charity Microsoft licence (which has been little used at this stage) and with the commissioning of new websites initially with Footprint Web and more recently with Section Media

3. Thirdly, in commissioning some professional support in key areas such as graphic art as a paid service so as not to be totally reliant on non-specialist volunteers

4. Fourthly, in establishing a Grants Committee with delegated authority which has efficiently, proactively and fairly dealt with grants requests and enhanced our relationship with our community

5. Fifthly, in refreshment of events – primarily with the High Tea which has been an outstanding success two years in a row and is now a signature event

6. And finally, with our regeneration of the Board with 5 new members added in the past 5 years, all of whom are talented and accomplished professionals in their own fields and influential in their own right.

All of that provides a great foundation for the future.

Thank you

I wish to offer my thanks to Daryl Stephens firstly for seeing my potential and welcoming me into the Board and community of what then was the Footmen Foundation.

To Martin Lane, Paul McPherson and Bruce Stewart who have been there throughout my time on the Board and in the President’s chair. Your support and your reliability in the performance of your roles and the occasional word of wisdom have all been invaluable and made my job much easier.

To the 5 Board members who have joined the Board during my term as President – thank you Tegan, Tamara, Natalie, Lauren and Colleen for your trust and support and the outstanding contributions that you have made since joining the Board.

And the great thing is that it has been a lot of fun and something that has given me a lot of fulfilment.

I will continue on the Board and help out where I can because I believe in the Foundation and the difference that it can make in our local community. I am confident that that will continue to be the case under the new leadership team.

Finally, in closing, I want to celebrate the wonderful contributions that Paul McPherson and Bruce Stewart have made as they step down from the Board. Paul was recently recognised with the Clinton White Award for his outstanding community service with the Foundation and other causes. Bruce has been exemplary in his performance as Secretary and Grants Committee Chair over the past 5 years in his calm, methodical, empathetic and professional discharge of those responsibilities. I am sure that I can speak for the Board as a whole and all of the Foothills community in thanking you both for your outstanding service and wishing you the very best for the future. Hopefully we will see you at our events for many years to come.