70 years of Impact: Bringing the community together to create change.

In 1954, the Give Where You Live Foundation (then known as The Geelong and District Community Chest) was established by community members, with the vision of creating a more organised, collaborative, and effective way to address social issues and support those in need in our community.

For more than 70 years, the Foundation has brought people from across the community together, to help create a fairer Geelong.

Big ideas have small beginnings

The idea for a Community Chest came about in 1952 by four men, Mr G.D Murray, Sir J.R Darling, Mr R.M Renick and Mr G.H Hall from the Apex Club. Their first job was to generate public support for the proposed organisation from the wider community. Over two years between 1952-1954 they worked hard gaining support from existing voluntary agencies, corporate and local businesses, trade unions, local councils, service clubs and other local organisations who were all united in the same vision of supporting the Geelong community.

Strong support came from the management of Ford Motor Company and International Harvester, two of the largest employers in the district.

To further expand their reach, the Apex Club appointed a committee of community leaders, including representatives from business, labour organisations and welfare agencies.

“That such a diverse group, including well known community leaders, were prepared to serve on the organising committee was an indication of the success of the promotional activities undertaken between 1952 and 1954.” (A history of the first 50 years of United Way Geelong, 2005)

The movement grows

By the end of 1955 it was clear that the Community Chest would play a continuing role in the Geelong community. It had the support of all major companies in Geelong, the trade unions and many community leaders.

Through the residential campaigns, workplace giving in businesses, as well as corporate support, thousands of Geelong residents were now actively supporting the organisation to help create change in our community.

“The establishment of the Chest had been, in many ways, a remarkable achievement. United fundraising “had been successfully introduced in a short period of time, into a community which, for over one hundred years had supported its welfare agencies in a piecemeal fashion. The achievement was without precedent in Australia and paved the way for future innovations in the provision of community welfare services in the Geelong district.” (History of the Geelong & District Community Chest 1954)

Establishment of the Loaned Executive Program

In 1966 a major innovation was introduced to Community Chest, with the creation of the Loaned Executive Program. The Loaned Executive program is still a key initiative of the Foundation to this day.

Prior to the introduction of this program, fundraising particularly through Workplace Giving, had been experiencing steady growth but was restricted by a lack of resources to expand into new and large businesses.

The concept of loaned executives is a simple but very effective way of recruiting individuals from the Geelong workforce to become ambassadors to the Foundation, spreading word among their peers and encouraging regular workplace giving contributions.

For almost 60 years,  businesses from across the region have ‘loaned’ their valued employees to support the Foundation’s annual fundraising efforts through Workplace Giving. Workplace Giving has enormous impact, because it is collective giving.

Each payroll period, thousands of employees from approximately 200 businesses across the region give a regular donation, to help make a positive difference to our community.

In addition to Workplace Giving, each year, thousands more individuals from across our community support the Foundation through fundraising appeals, events and volunteer their time to support the organisation.

In the 1969 Annual Report, Campaign Chairman Don Wookey said;

“Community Chest is unique to Geelong and must become a way of life for the whole year, not for only part of it. It must, even more that it has in the past, be a privilege to serve Community Chest, and the whole community must be committed to it and its objectives.”  

In 2024, the Foundation continues to grow and strengthen its connections with people, organisations, sectors and issues so that we can all work together to create a fairer community.

Applications are now open to be part of the 2024 Loaned Executive Program. If you would like to support the Foundation to create a fairer community contact jackie@givewhereyoulive.com.au

We look forward to sharing more of our work with you as we celebrate 70 years of impact in our community.