Hands Across Canberra are delighted – and moved – by the investment of faith in them from the Canberra community after their successful first matched funding donation day.
The tally currently sits at around $130,000, well over the anticipated total of $100,000 and a huge benefit for many of the 250 charities with whom HAC works. A key element was the willingness of a number of Canberra businesses to get involved and come good on their promise to match the donations.
One of those businesses is headed by HAC board member Greg Booerer, who is CEO of Canberra Data Centres and also chairs the Australian Information Industry Association. Those connections have enabled him to mobilise the IT industry as a substantial and regular donor for HAC.
“You see and meet people on the ground and think ‘well, it makes sense’, the fact that Canberra is a generous place and the money stays here when you give to HAC,” he says.
“That makes it easy to get motivated. Very topically in recent times. I’ve seen some of the challenges for bigger charities, whereas a lot of the groups HAC supports do amazing work but don’t have the wherewithal to generate significant funding.”
Greg says the vision is eventually to establish a sustainable corpus similar to the funds developed over decades in other major cities. It’s a model that’s worked especially well in North America, where funds worth many millions of dollars mean that charities can be comfortably and sustainably supported to focus on their work.
“I think the vision is terrific. What happened on Wednesday (11 March) is a significant step in a 50-year journey for Canberra, where we could develop a charity fund that really moves the dial and is completely sustainable relative to the hand-to-mouth existence that lots of charities currently face,” he says.
“I’m pretty ambitious about the future. It’s a great result and, hopefully, it builds awareness so that next March our giving day might generate $300,000, half a million or more.”
Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon says the matched giving day represents “an outstanding achievement”, noting particularly the role played by local businesses such as the Canberra Data Centre and Village Building Co, whose CEO Travis Doherty said Village had been proud to match their staff’s generous donations.
“In a time when so many of us have been deeply affected by the recent bushfires, now more than ever Canberrans need to come together and support the over 250 charities under the Hands Across Canberra umbrella. It’s great to see local people helping their fellow Canberrans and keeping local issues top of mind,” Peter Gordon said.
Charities like the Canberra Police Community Youth Club have also welcomed the generosity of all donors.
“The investment from HAC couldn’t be timelier after the recent bushfire crisis, where we have seen an increase in young people accessing our services. Hands Up for Canberra Day is a great initiative and will help save lives,” CEO Cheryl O’Donnell said.
If you forgot to give this week, you can still make a donation to the cause and give where we live.