Thanks for Pitching in


The Give Where You Live Foundation held its annual Pitch Up Geelong event at the Geelong Arts Centre in early March raising in excess of $106,000 to support the vital work of 3 local charities: Bluebird Foundation, Foundation 61 and Geelong Mums.

Pitch Up Geelong is a little like a Tedx Talk meets live crowdfunding.  With 3 local charities pitching their story; the issues they’re working to address and their hope and inspiration.  The Audience is then invited to pledge their financial support with donations made on the night matched by funding partners Gforce Employment Solutions and the Anthony Costa Foundation.

In total $106,550 was raised on the evening:

  • Bluebird Foundation receiving $30,500
  • Foundation 61 receiving $44,550
  • Geelong Mums receiving $31,500

Here are the stories:

Bluebird Foundation, represented on the evening by Program Director Bron Lawson, were pitching for funds for the NORTH Children’s Choir.

The choir is made up of children from Geelong’s Northern suburbs that you might not expect to be making a mark in the classical world of choral music.  Kids like Kiingi whose name you hear a lot in class at school; “Kiingi sit down, Kiingi keep your hands to yourself”.  Ayen who doesn’t get to go on school excursions because her mum barely understands a word of spoken English, let alone the written notices that come home from school.  And kids like Raffi who sang in the Orchestra Geelong concert, standing tall in her performance uniform with a matching blue ribbon in her hair, all the while knowing that she wasn’t going home after the concert – she was being placed in foster care as it wasn’t safe for her at home anymore.

Bron was pitching to take the NORTH Children’s Choir to a new level.  To invite the families of the choristers to share the songs, dances and rhymes of their countries and of their cultures.  To transcribe the songs and have them arranged for the choir so that they can perform not just music from the great Western tradition of choral music, but music that embraces the diverse cultural backgrounds of the children performing.  And they want to share this performance with school staff, families, everyone in the Geelong community.

Bluebird believes that the NORTH Children’s Choir has the potential to break the cycle of disadvantage for these kids – for Kiingi, Ayen, and Raffi. It’s not just a warm, fuzzy theory… It is one that has been backed up by decades of research.  Research that shows the impact of music education on neural fibre, on the very structure of children’s brains that means their capacity to communicate, to read and write is improved.   Research that shows a correlation between music education and cognitive abilities called executive functions – things like self-control and the ability to switch between tasks – skills vital in the world of school and later work.  Research that shows that young people like these who have an in-depth involvement in the arts are not only more likely to have better grades at school, they’re more likely to finish school and are almost twice as likely as their peers to complete a Bachelor degree at the university level.

With an injection of in excess of $30,000 this dream project will become a reality.


Foundation 61, represented by Board Member Kaye Ward, pitched to assist in the establishment of a specialised women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, specifically to fund a residential bed which has an estimated cost of $30,000 per year for just one of the 8 proposed beds.


Addiction- such a loaded word- full of judgement and shame. Poor judgements, poor parenting, poor choices? This could never possibly happen to me or anyone in my family. Well, it has happened in mine, middle class, educated, Christian.”  This is the story of Jodie.

Jodie’s daughter is no runaway teenager wreaking havoc in the community, nor is she a reckless young woman being dragged out of a music festival high on ice, high on freedom, low on responsibility. She is the victim of childhood sexual abuse, a traumatic secret she held for many years and who in her later adolescence began using drugs – one way to mask her pain. Sadly, what began as relief has ended up controlling her and, in many ways, destroying her life.

“My daughter now has her own children, she is hooked on ice, with nowhere to go. Lies, shame, lies, shame… for me, not often knowing if she would live or die…It is hard, so very hard. I am parenting my child and her children. I am doing school runs in my sixties, cooking for a large household, trying to keep myself afloat. How I wish there was a place for women to go locally for in-house treatment.”

Thanks to $44,500 the dream of Geelong’s parents, family and friends like Jodie are a step closer to the hope of rehabilitation.


Geelong Mums, represented by General Manager Julia Roache pitched for funds to support their vital work supporting Geelong families in need.  Over the last financial year Geelong Mums supported 6129 babies and children in the Geelong region by rehoming over 18,000 items including cots, prams, linen, books, toys, wipes, and feeding and clothing packs.

Steph grew up in a normal family and attended a private school.  Her ex-partner introduced her to drug abuse and family violence.  When she found out she was pregnant she was excited and thought that this would make everything better – that everything that was bad would turn good….. but everything got much worse.  Her partner become increasingly violent and controlling and he threw a pregnant Steph out of the house on numerous occasions.

Police were called and Apprehended Violence Orders were taken out – and breached many times.  When Steph made the decision to leave for good her ex-partner became very violent and she was hospitalised.  On her release from hospital a social worker told Steph that due to the drug abuse, violence, homelessness her baby would most likely be taken away the minute he was born. Steph said “no he won’t” and the social worker replied “yes he will!

Steph is one of the 1000s of families Geelong Mums support each year in our region. We know that more than 1 in every 6 children in Victoria are born into poverty and here in the City of Greater Geelong we have areas where the rates of poverty are staggering – up to 22% of the population in some suburbs.

This cash injection of over $31,000 will ensure this support is there for Geelong families in need.


Pitch up Geelong has fast become one of our favourite events.  It brings our donors and the work being undertaken in the community together, resulting in an enormous impact on those most in need across our community.  To see over 120 people come together and raise in excess of $106,000 is incredible.   The Foundation is really proud to be able to bring this together.” Bill Mithen CEO Give Where You Live Foundation.