6 March 2024

Give where you live to the Canberra Day Appeal and build a stronger, better community for us all

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Hands Across Canberra board chair Greg Boorer, Heidi Prowse, Melita Flynn, HAC CEO Peter Gordon and Jo Farrell at the Canberra Day Appeal launch. Photo: Genevieve Jacobs.

This Monday, what will you be doing and why? Another Canberra public holiday looms, the weather looks perfect as Autumn eases in gently – and now is the time to give back to this beautiful city, says Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon.

The fifth Canberra Day Appeal, launched today ahead of 11 March, has ambitious aims to raise $1 million for the community.

When first launched five years ago, the appeal raised around $50,000. But Peter says that thanks to the “incredible generosity” of the Canberra community, last year’s fundraising hit $800,000, and this year, the “magic million” is in sight to support hundreds of Canberra charities.

Hands Across Canberra’s role as a community foundation is to support all charities that help the most vulnerable by raising funds, matching donations and raising awareness.

The foundation leverages media, business relationships, awareness, and events so that every dollar raised by charities through their own fundraising is matched by the business community. This means charities can double their donations while also focusing on their frontline work.

Board chair Greg Boorer says Hands Across Canberra’s aspirational aim is to raise $5 million in one day. But while Canberrans are, per capita, the most generous people in Australia, fully 85 per cent of that giving leaves the ACT.

“We want a bit more of that generosity from everyday Canberrans to stay here,” Greg told the launch.

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Heidi Prowse from Capital Region Community Services has been part of the appeal since the first year and says what she loves most about the appeal is its sense of community energy and its purpose.

“I love that I can have double the impact, and I love learning about causes that do phenomenal things, like, for example, TADACT (Technical Aid for the Disabled).”

(TADACT provides assistive equipment that solves specific problems faced by the individual. It produces custom-designed items, designed to suit client needs, that can’t be met through commercially available equipment.)

“I urge everyone to get behind the community, get behind Canberra, come together in solidarity and make our community the best it can be for everyone.”

Kane Constructions’ Jo Farell, currently the Canberra citizen of the year and the builder who realised the Strathnairn charity house project delivering $500,000 to West Belconnen charities, echoes those sentiments.

“What the Strathnairn experience taught me is that we have the capacity to do great things and we’re not harnessing that. This project wasn’t a one-off to get our name up in lights and walk away. We want to invigorate an entire industry with a strong presence in Canberra, but I don’t think we do enough.

“My answer is always yes; then I work out how to do it later. That’s my message to my industry, too.”

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Capital Chemist and the Tall Foundation have been with HAC since its inception and offer support to charities. Roger Tall, who cofounded Capital Chemist in 1994, decided years ago that supporting the community was a better use of funds than advertising dollars. Since then, the foundation has given away around $10 million to the community.

“It gives us a lot of joy to help the community,” said Melita Flynn from the Tall Foundation.

“It’s been a joy to donate to the charities we do and double our impact. Thank you, Hands Across Canberra. We know just how much this money is needed.”

There are plenty of ways to donate, and there is much more information about how to do so and the charities that engage with Hands Across Canberra on their website.

The Canberra Day fun run begins at Commonwealth Park from 10 am on Monday, with three distance options. There will be a 2 km run, perfect for families, children and those who would prefer to walk, a 5 km run for those who would like more of a challenge and a 10 km run for regular runners and the serious athletes.

All participants will receive a finisher’s medal. The 5 K and 10 K routes will be timed, and participants will receive a bib with their registration. The 2 K route will also have entertainment along the route, and there’s family entertainment to follow in Commonwealth Park. Registrations are open until Sunday.

“There’s a lot of heavy lifting to do, but thank you for everything you do”, Peter Gordon said. “Canberra is a better place for you all.”

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It’s great that we have ACT Politicians who wholeheartedly follow the “Give where you live” initiative.

Andrew Barr and Shane Rattenbury consistently give taxpayers money to where they themselves live in the inner north.

Not so much money to Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen or Gungahlin.

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