Border Mail Column Wednesday 29 August 2012
There was much excitement last week when Border Trust celebrated its success in meeting a challenge to raise $100,000 in one year and was given $200,000 from the Victorian Government to boost the kitty for community projects.
Established in 2005, Border Trust works on a very simple philosophy of ‘give where you live’ to bring about positive results in our community and for the benefit of all.
The community foundation for the cities of Albury and Wodonga and Alpine, Corowa, Greater Hume, Indigo, Towong and Tumbarumba Shires, ensures that money goes where it is needed and shows that from little things big things do grow.
The philosophy is not simply to handover money but to invest in projects that grow community capital; multiply community outcomes; have partnerships with or in-kind support from other community stakeholders; empower others to change their lives and are sustainable and will grow independently.
There are times when a project may not be successful, however, those involved in Border Trust can assist in steering individuals in the direction of organisations or businesses who may be able to help them achieve their outcomes.
I was discussing one particular case with a Border Trust board member and we moved on to the topic of the challenge for many groups in the community to not only raise funds but to attract volunteers, because we are constantly being told this is becoming more difficult.
The reasons given include more women returning to the workforce after having their children diminishing the pool for volunteers for school related activities; people staying in the workforce past 55 and not being available to volunteer through to a perception that we are becoming more selfish and not as giving of our time.
As with many issues, the reality is quite different to the reports we get through mainstream media.
According to a report prepared by Volunteering Australia, volunteering rates have actually increased since 2005 with people in the workforce more likely to give of their time than those not in the workforce: ‘… working a higher number of hours per week did not necessarily deter people from participating in sport and recreation volunteering the highest participation rate (88%) was among those working 41-48 hours per week.’
In 2006-2007 the volunteer workforce in Australia was estimated to provide over $14.6 billion of unpaid labour, and an organisation like Border Trust can create a multiplier effect for the groups that successfully apply for funding through the trust.
At last week’s event there was an amazing buzz as people celebrated the achievement of this organisation that harnesses the energy of individuals and groups to achieve the amazing result that was being celebrated.
I have often thought of Border Trust as a quiet achiever, with its band of people including its board and supporters— businesses and individuals—not making a big noise about what they do and simply getting on with the job.
To date the projects successful in receiving funding through its Community Grants program range from the funding of a VHF repeater for the Lake Hume Volunteer Guard to the expansion of the Wild Choir project and a grant to the Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group for cultural activities for new settlers.
Other groups to benefit foster activities across the spectrum of life’s activities including music and sport but it is we who live in this region who are the greatest beneficiaries, because Border Trust also aims to promote social responsibility and foster a giving culture.
In its seven years of existence it has shown us just what can be achieved when people do ‘give where they live’.
More information about Border Trust is available at its website www.bordertrust.org.au