On May 24, 2024, local leaders, community representatives, and funders came together for the Greater Shepparton Philanthropic Summit. Hosted by The Fairley Foundation, Greater Shepparton Foundation, and Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project the 1 day event provided the opportunity to share insights, discuss effective funding strategies, and address the challenges faced by our region.

The summit was facilitated by Dr Marc Levy, founder and chair of Right Lane Consulting and young local Yorta Yorta, Girrimai and Kikuyilanji woman, Lillie Walker.

The program included data insights presented by Prof. Abigail Payne​, Director and Ronald Henderson Professor at the Melbourne Institute.

Panel discussions covering Youth and Education, and Housing provided the opportunity to hear from local leaders and further unpack what's working in our community and what's needed.

Video presentations of several local initiatives showcased some of the many programs already in place and ensured the voices of our communities most vulnerable and those who work to support them were heard. Links for each of the videos are above.

Summit organisers and executive officers, Toni Lalich from The Fairley Foundation, Amanda McCulloch from Greater Shepparton Foundation and Amy Robinson from Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project agreed the event was well received and will play an important role in delivering positive social change in the region.

"There a many impactful initiatives, programs and services in our community that are shifting the dial and delivering positive social change. However, to achieve success at a greater scale it is vital that local leaders, change makers, community representatives and fellow funders are in alignment. Bringing stakeholders together provides the opportunity to connect and ensure we are collectively working to address the areas of greatest need", said Amy.

History of the Summit

In 2011 and 2012 The Fairley Foundation commissioned three reports investigating the extent of disadvantage in Shepparton, trends in place-based philanthropy and social capital and social cohesion in Shepparton.

The reports were presented at two summits, with representatives from the education, business, community and philanthropic sectors in attendance.

These reports highlighted major deficits in education, health and employment including poor school retention rates, high unemployment, escalating youth unemployment, a growing number of single-parent families, high levels of reliance on disability payments and high rates of teen pregnancies.

In response to the information presented, community leaders committed to embracing a comprehensive community-wide strategy which was the catalyst for the establishment of the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project in 2014.

The 2014 and 2018 summits delivered a strong focus on emphasising local input and the impact of education and community focused programs, and the value of continued philanthropic support. It was in the wake of these summits that The Community Fund Goulburn Valley transitioned in 2018 to the Greater Shepparton Foundation.

"Since the first summit was held in 2011 there has been significant and immense groundwork undertaken in relation to addressing social change. It is because of this work that the Greater Shepparton community is well positioned to tackle the challenges ahead. The united approach of the summits three hosting organisation adds further strength to our mission and we look forward to continuing to work together to contribute to a thriving Greater Shepparton community", said Toni.

Where to from here?

The three organisations have agreed to continue to use the momentum created at the Philanthropic Summit and reconvene with philanthropic organisation in approximately 12 weeks with a collective commitment for the future.

"With so many local change leaders sharing their insights about the problems facing our community, and how we can best address them, the three organisations have made a collective commitment to continue to collaborate on next steps and keep the community informed.” said Amanda.

Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project acknowledges and pays respect to the traditional custodians of the Shepparton region on whose lands we are located, the Yorta Yorta peoples and their Elders past, present and emerging. Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project recognises, respects and supports all community members regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ability, or age.

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Email:  info@gslp.com.au

Office phone: 0419 555 939

Office location: 7715A GV Hwy, Kialla, VIC. 3631

Postal address: PO Box 924, Shepparton VIC 3632