Partner Updates in 2022 and plans for 2023
Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (AARF)
The joint partnership between AARF, the Foundation, Spheria and Resolution Capital, is helping to drive research focused on developing a simple and non-invasive blood test to assess the levels of specific blood-based Alzheimer’s disease related biomarkers. This has the potential to be a game changer, detecting the presence of the disease well before symptoms appear. As for many other diseases, early diagnosis is a key step toward early treatments, which are often more effective in the initial phase of the disease.
Funding will enable the development of specific assays (test kits) for the blood biomarker project. To date, the AARF research team has undertaken their initial work using commercially available assays. Given the success of their early research findings however, the team now needs to develop unique testing kits tuned to their own requirements, which can also generate considerable savings.
The batyr team continues to direct funding from Palisade towards the delivery of batyr@schools programs across the Central West of NSW. The team scheduled two programs for delivery at Canobolas High School in Orange in Term 4, having previously delivered earlier programs in the suite of offerings to this same cohort. The remaining six programs will be delivered at the start of 2023, with plans to be out in the Central West from early February.
The Foundation’s funding has continued to assist the development of an online advocacy project for community leaders. This digital platform will primarily support regional young people including those who are on batyr’s “Being Herd” lived experience workshop waitlists, and young people wanting to learn how to develop their mental health literacy and create positive change through advocacy in their communities.
Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI)
In 2022 combined donations from the Foundation, Resolution Capital and Plato, enabled CMRI to acquire an Amersham Typhoon IP scanner, an analytical instrument used by several Cancer Research labs that study Telomere Biology. “Telomeres” are the ends of human chromosomes and are directly involved in cellular ageing and cancer.
In 2023 funds will support the purchase of a Vanquish Neo High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system. This will assist the work of the Eye Genetics team to benefit the approximately one in 2,500 children who are diagnosed with vision loss but whose treatment can’t progress due to a lack of tools to properly investigate the specific genetic deficit.
With the purchase of an HPLC, CMRI will be able to analyse eye metabolites (small molecules) to properly diagnose children with a specific genetic mutation that causes Vitamin A to be improperly metabolised. Those children can then be started on a path of targeted gene therapy to repair eye function.
Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)
“With the cumulative impacts of drought, fires, floods and COVID-19, raising funds locally is extremely challenging in smaller communities, so access to grants is more important than ever.” – FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton
FRRR is the only national foundation specifically focused on ensuring social and economic strength in remote, rural and regional Australia. Our Foundation supports three core FRRR programs helping to rebuild and strengthen regional communities:
Future Drought Fund – Networks to Build Drought Resilience: This program’s aim is to build an enduring resilience to the impacts of climate change, drought, and enhance the public good in agriculture-dependent communities. Funding has supported five grants spanning Narrabri and Goonumbla in NSW, Cornishtown in Vic, Loxton in SA, and Wynyard in Tas.
Disaster Resilient: Future Ready: Three Victorian communities – Korumburra, Myrtleford and Whittlesea – are bringing local working group members together and engaging stakeholders to share knowledge, experiences and aspirations for the future, ahead of funding initiatives they have identified are important for their community’s preparedness.
Strengthening Rural Communities: This program gives small remote, rural and regional communities across Australia the opportunity to access grant funds for a broad range of initiatives that directly and clearly benefit them at a local level. With Pinnacle Charitable Foundation’s funds, grants have been made in the NSW towns of Weemelah, to install seating at a Community Hall, and in Young where an endemic showcase garden, Aboriginal yarning circle and outdoor classroom have been funded.
In 2022 Full Stop Australia (FSA) began to establish a National Survivor Advocate Program for people with lived experience of sexual, domestic and family violence from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. These spokespeople will guide the advocacy work of FSA and drive meaningful changes to policy, practice, and law reform in a safe and supported way.
In June 2022, FSA also received the vast majority of votes from Pinnacle employees in support of a new national online hub and information gateway for victim-survivors, within their “Healing Pathways” initiative. A forum to bring together victim-survivors and key stakeholders interested in becoming involved in the project took place at Pinnacle’s Sydney offices in the middle of October. This helped to gain vital feedback and insights to assist in moving forward, to ensure the hub can offer the most practical and valued support, resources, networks and opportunities – empowering survivors to rebuild connection, community, and financial freedom.
“Kindness is the act of making someone feel they are heard, seen and valued.” – Kath Koschel, Founder, Kindness Factory.
The Kindness Factory has been actively and successfully applying the funding received from the Foundation across its two key areas as it continues to build its profile and impact both in Australia and overseas:
- Kind School Network portal enhancements and deliverables: following a successful pilot, an annual fee for service program offering – based on the 12 attributes of kindness (aligned with primary school age children), as well as masterclass videos for teachers and a resource library – is now in market to schools; and
- Kind School Network website upgrade: a revamped website is close to being complete and will be home to amazing resources, together with a Learning Management System (LMS) incorporated for ease of navigation.
In 2022 the Lighthouse Foundation has been busy planning the refurbishment and redesign of their Youth Resource Centre (YRC), which welcomed back Lighthouse’s young people following lengthy Covid lockdowns. The YRC is a central hub of operations that provides a drop-in and critically important connection centre for the formerly homeless young people who are still part of the Lighthouse community, even though they have graduated to independent living. It also offers a place of connection and support for the young people currently living with Lighthouse, who come in for their psychology sessions and community events.
Based in a converted warehouse adjacent to the East Richmond train station, the Centre will benefit greatly from the opportunity for physical renovation and rejuvenation. The goal is to enable the facility to host community events, creating a youth centric space able to meet growing demands as Lighthouse Foundation expands its offering. Upgrades and refurbishment include proposed changes to the entrance, reception space and laundry, to help ensure the Centre remains a welcoming and therapeutic space for young people to connect, relax, feel secure and to heal.
With the support of the Foundation, Firetrail and other funders, Mirabel continues to deliver their Intensive Youth Support Program in the Hunter Valley region in NSW. This involves both preventative actions aimed at working one on one with families experiencing a crisis regarding a child’s behaviour, and group activities which bring children and young teens together in a regular format, to connect with each other based on shared experience. Support also includes ongoing weekly homework tutoring, which has been supported by the Firetrail team.
In 2022 Mirabel ran two of their flagship Big Days Out at Taronga Zoo and Luna Park with support from the Foundation and Resolution Capital, which offered a wonderful opportunity for Mirabel children to come together, and for volunteers to join in with the excitement.
Read more about Mirabel’s Big Days Out here>>>
Since 1995 NASCA has been embedding cultural knowledge into evidence-based programs that support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reach their full potential, helping them to make positive, self-determined choices for their futures.
A new NASCA initiative supported by the Foundation and Firetrail – the CareerFit Conference – was successfully held in Sydney in May 2022 and brought together 48 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders students enrolled in years 10-12 for four days. The aim was to help empower these young students to map their own careers and futures, and to explore and investigate options and opportunities open to them.
Engagement from Firetrail also included a 2-hour workshop – “Money, Monopoly and Magnificent Views!” – facilitated by the team in their office. Using fast paced games of Monopoly to introduce broad monetary concepts, students were guided through the basics of sound money habits to help prepare them for the challenges of earning and managing money after leaving school. Following the positive outcomes of the inaugural event, FY23 funding will support a second CareerFit Conference in May 2023, attended by a new cohort of students.
Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust (PCT)
PCT bridges the gap between people, science, and the environment, and was founded on the philosophy that to improve Australia’s water and environmental management, we need to enhance the link between good science and effective policy making.
The Foundation and Riparian Capital Partners are supporting the PCT’s Women in Water Program, which is a bespoke program designed by women, for women, as recognition that women are under-represented at the leadership table, particularly across the STEM, policy and governance fields. Participants in the program are already established leaders from diverse backgrounds and careers, and this transformative leadership program empowers them to build positive influence and impact in their professional journey.
The 2022 cohort of 14 leaders met for the face-to-face component of the program in the ACT in September 2022, before embarking on an 8-week period to address a signiﬁcant strategic public policy issue. During a final week together in November, PCT offered further leadership capability training tailored to the needs of the cohort, which is drawn from across Australia and from the private, public and government sectors. The group presented their project report at their Graduation Ceremony at the end of November.
“All of us realise that effecting positive change for our land, water, country and people can often be an overwhelming task,” they said. “But by investing in ourselves and each other, and building on the trust we’ve established in this group means we will face these challenges with courage and support future leaders in water.”
Funding throughout 2022 has assisted ReachOut as the organisation moves from leading with information, content and resources, to becoming a more intuitive and digital service that connects people via online peer-support communities, one-to-one chat with trained peer workers, and data-led personalised experiences.
Read more about Reach Out’s rebranding and the launch of PeerChat here>>>
In 2019, R U OK? launched the national campaign ‘Are They Triple OK’? funded by the Foundation. It focuses on increasing levels of peer and social support for police and emergency services workers, volunteers and their family & friends. The latest resources go beyond the uniform with the voices of those with lived experiences to help break down stigma.
R U OK? continues to engage and deepen relationships with agencies nationwide to support with campaign development and dissemination. With 28 years’ experience in the emergency services, Dennis shares practical tools and tips on how to build a mentally healthy workplace and how to have a conversation with a peer who might be struggling with life’s ups and downs. 2023 will see the continued release of resources including more stories of those with lived experience.
Watch Dennis’ story and learn more about Are They Triple OK? >>>
Yalari is committed to providing quality educational opportunities for Indigenous children from remote, rural and regional areas of Australia. Scholarships commencing in Year 7 are currently offered at 20 partner boarding schools across Australia, with Yalari providing students with holistic support and guidance through to Year 12 and beyond.
Resolution Capital is continuing their sponsorship of Lilli, a young Kamilaroi student from Moree, on her boarding school journey at Sydney’s Kambala in Rose Bay. Lilli has just completed year 8 in 2022 and has loved studying science and playing netball.
Support from Resolution Capital and the Foundation is also directed towards the annual Yalari Orientation Camp, which due to COVID risk factors, was delayed from January 2022 to the April school holidays. This postponement meant much of the session work was practical and drew on Term 1 experiences, rather than being theoretical. Despite these changes, students relished the opportunity to meet one another, forming social bonds and a contemporary support network that they’ll have through to graduation and hopefully, beyond.
The Camp, to be supported again in January 2023, paves the way for a smooth transition from primary education and living at home to a secondary education at a boarding school. Students are given the opportunity to learn about boarding school life in an environment where they feel safe, can be inquisitive and share the journey with others both their own age and older.
In 2022 and 2023 the Foundation is continuing to support the YWCA frontline “Pathways to Independence” (PTI) program in Sydney, providing emergency shelter for older women facing a crisis in homelessness. PTI has a specific focus on single women over 50 who are often facing homelessness – and the complex issues surrounding it – for the first time, and who are increasingly facing a system with a shocking lack of affordable housing.
The Foundation is providing additional support over and above meeting clients’ initial needs – such as crisis accommodation, bedding, white goods and groceries – and offering funds for long term value-added help such as vocational training, work experience placements and financial education. These skills and networks contribute to long term positive life outcomes, and help prevent older women from becoming entrenched in the vicious cycle of homelessness.