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A message from our CEO

March 21, 2020

A message from the CEO

These are challenging and confronting times for all of us.  Making sure that we keep ourselves, our families and our friends safe has understandably become a priority for everyone.

However, what is also true is that the most vulnerable in our community a month ago, are still the most vulnerable today. However, they have also become more vulnerable than ever before.

The Give Where You Live Foundation has always, and I hope will always, have support for the most vulnerable close to our hearts. Our enduring values of connecting and supporting the community are now more important than they have ever been. We’re determined to ‘double down’ on those values, not walk away from them.

As the saying goes, ‘a measure of the strength of the community is how it supports its most vulnerable’. Let’s make sure that by that measure, our community is viewed in the brightest of lights.

During these incredibly difficult times, the mission of the Foundation is more and more important.  Supporting our community to provide solutions to difficult problems is foremost in our thoughts and actions at this time.

Yesterday, in partnership with the Donkey Wheel Foundation, we approached state and federal governments with an innovative approach to maintaining businesses and employment in the hospitality sector while also ensuring the most vulnerable in our communities continue to have access to food. You can read more about this proposal by clicking here. and how businesses can throw the urgent support required behind this project. 

We are also working with our community partners to provide the support that is required given their changing requirements. We want to help them to continue to assist their clients through these tough times.  We are hearing that many agencies and organisations are already finding it very difficult, especially the emergency food relief system. 

Here is some information and plans that we want to share with our partners, donors and supporters.

Last week, along with our partner, The Kids Plus Foundation, we were devastated to have to cancel the Surf Coast Trek. We have also had to cancel the forthcoming Auction at the Mill and are reviewing on a daily basis if it will be possible to hold the Give Geelong Breakfast in May. We will keep people advised. These are all major fundraisers and critical points of contact with the community for the Foundation.

However, our current Community Grant Round is going ahead albeit with some modifications to the process.

Already all applications are received online, however, the review process undertaken by hundreds of community members will now be conducted online as well. We are determined that we and the community stay connected, despite not being able to stay physically connected.

Please continue to register your interest in becoming a community grant application reviewer, it will keep you connected and aware of the great and amazing supports that are continuing to be offered in the community around you.

We are also going to bring the process forward as much as possible. We are aware that community organisations will be having funding crises. We want to try and get funding out as quickly as possible to help organisations through this time. Greater detail on this process is on its way.

Along with many other organisations, we will be working under new conditions as we move to physical isolation from others. From the week commencing March 23 most of our staff will be working from home. We will have a very skeleton staff remaining in the office. We have planned for this and are ready with the necessary tools and equipment to make sure that we continue to operate at the highest level.

However, maintaining all our social connections is so important.

The constant flow of confronting news and social distancing in its many forms can lead to feelings of isolation, stress, and anxiety for many of us.  The aggressive and selfish behaviour we have already seen in supermarkets has highlighted the psychosocial impacts of this situation.

The importance of community and sticking together as a community has never been greater.

Let’s put social media to its original and best use – keeping connected. Tell us what you’re doing, keep in contact via email give@givewhereyoulive.com.au or via our social media platforms.  The Give Where You Live Foundation team will remain at the other end of an email and social media channels to stay in touch.

If you have new ideas, challenges or stories please share them with us and let us share them with our networks.  We want to hear from you and share them with the greater community.  Although we’re not physically together let’s stay together, it will be good for all of us.

We are incredibly grateful for those who are still supporting the foundation financially, in these uncertain times this will become more and more important for us as we continue to support those in need.

The Foundation is continually collating the latest news from our partners and the wider community sector and will keep you up to date with what is happening online here:

While we keep ourselves and families safe, let’s also think of each other, support each other, care for each other and protect our community’s most vulnerable people.

Keep in touch.

Bill

Bill Mithen, CEO Give Where You Live Foundation