Community philanthropic organisation the Ballarat Foundation has estimated it has delivered around $700,000 worth of community value in 2018.
It was a year of new events and new challenges for the foundation that has created a strong connection and visible presence in the Ballarat community.
Chief executive Matt Jenkins said the Ballarat Foundation’s achievements were a testament to the team of staff, volunteers and community supporters, with strong community awareness and support for the foundation’s efforts to address food insecurity.
The foundation has raised more than $65,000 to address food insecurity, with an additional $5 million state government investment for Foodbank hub in Ballarat announced in the lead up to the November election.
We are really proud we have shown the voice the community can have when they get behind an issue.Matt Jenkins, Ballarat Foundation
“We have created an awareness and strong community engagement around food insecurity that has allowed the state government funding to come through, so we are really proud we have shown the voice the community can have when they get behind an issue,” Mr Jenkins said.
To address other community issues, the foundation has gifted $96,000 in grants to more than 20 community organisations, donated 6000 books through the Ballarat Reads program and distributed $10,000 in vouchers to assist vulnerable families with back to school vouchers.
More than 90 young learner drivers were given the opportunity to gain more than 3500 hours towards their license through the foundation’s L2P program , with 36 young drivers graduating from the program this year.
Mr Jenkins said despite achievements, the year hasn’t been without its challenges, with a new office building, seven new staff and multiple software changes.
He said a re-brand shifting the focus from United Way to the Ballarat Foundation had created increased community awareness.
“We know people connect really strongly with the Ballarat Foundation, but it just wasn’t widely known enough,” he said.
“We surveyed a number of people who did Run for a Cause and the feedback before the run was about 26 per cent of people were aware of who we were and what we did. After the run that jumped up to about 85 per cent. People now understand far greater what we do and the impact we can have.
“The great thing about community foundations is people give to a foundation knowing they are going to have a local impact.”