A volunteer organisation, responsible for awarding $1.2 million in grants to community groups over the last 19 years has flagged concerns for its own future.
“Over the last nineteen years, more than 290 organisation and groups across the Bega Valley have received support from the Mumbulla Foundation,” says Michael Pryke, Chair, The Mumbulla Foundation.
“But now the Mumbulla Foundation needs your help. Our funds are running low, impacting our ability to continue our work beyond 2020.
“The Board believes that our future lies in building an extensive base of local benefactors who can support us into the future.
“The Mumbulla Foundation needs to raise at least $35,000 per year to continue our activities at our current level.
“Just thirty-five generous benefactors committing $1,000 each per year for three years would allow us to continue into the future. More benefactors and or more generous contributions would allow us to expand further to meet the unmet needs,” Mike says.
The frank assessment came as the 2019 program was rolled out with seventeen grants awarded; a total value of $51,941.
Currently, Bega Valley Shire Council is Mumbulla’s major partner and contributes $25,000 each year, which the Foundation matches dollar for dollar.
In partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, the Mumbulla Foundation also funds university scholarships to undergraduate and postgraduate students attending the University of Wollongong campus in Bega, as well as school book prizes and support vouchers for low-income families to assist with school costs.
“Our grants broadly support the objectives described in Council’s Social Issues Paper,” Mike says.
“Since our inception in 2000, The Mumbulla Foundation has provided 304 Small Grants (up to $2,000) for a total value of $332,000, 203 Large Grants (between $2,000 and $9,000) for a total value of $786,000.
“That’s 507 grants to 293 different organisation and groups across the Shire.”
The organisations to have received support include those focussed on seniors, people living with disabilities, youth, families, the arts, education, First Nations people, emergency services and Surf Life Saving, heritage and history, the natural environment.
In 2019, Mumbulla Foundation Grants went to:
- Eden Game Development Centre;
- Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council;
- Australian Red Cross;
- Bega Littleton Sister City Exchange;
- Burragate Rural Fire Service;
- Lumen Christi Catholic College, Pambula;
- Bega Valley Genealogy;
- Cobargo School of Arts;
- Pambula Wetlands & Heritage Project;
- Tathra Public School P&C;
- Eden Access Centre;
- Teen Clinic;
- Bega Valley Public School;
- Playability Inc;
- Writers of the Far South Coast;
- South East Arts.
“We are going to install a water tank so we can use it for reveg projects – particularly for threatened and endangered species,” says Michelle Richmond, from the Pambula Wetlands & Heritage Project.
Amanda Dalziel, President of Writers of the Far South Coast, says “we are going to use this to produce a compilation book filled with local memoirs written for primary school-aged children, with the working title – When I Was Your Age.”
Warren Forster Jnr of the Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council is planning a series of dance workshops to strengthen the links and relationships between the communities of Wallaga Lake and Eden.
“This is another avenue for expression,” Warren says.
“The ability to move and not think about what you are doing – to be free.”
Carina Severs from the Eden Access Centre beams as she explains, “we are going to spend this on new computers. The computers allow the people we help to access banking, Centrelink, social media, all sorts of government departments, apply for jobs.
“People who can’t afford phones, computers and internet services – they come to us and get it at a really reasonable price, and they get lots of support.”
The Bega Littleton Sister City Exchange links Bega and Littleton, Colorado in the USA. “It was born from a friendship between two small town newspaper editors in the 1950s,” says Bega based Sister City Exchange Vice President, Rod McDonald.
“This very generous Mumbulla Foundation grant will allow us to document the incredible history of the delegations since 1961,” Rod says.
“We will produce an E Book that will be able to be viewed anywhere in the world. we hope this will create a greater awareness of the Bega Littleton Sister City Relationship within the Bega Valley Shire and help us to attract new members and also get a good number of applications for our next Student Ambassador for the 2023 delegation.”
And from Bega Valley Public School, “we are going to use this grant to make an interactive playground, inclusive of all students – it will provide a space where students can engage with their surroundings and offer opportunities for movement breaks to help with self-regulation,” says Liam O’Sullivan, Assistant Principal, Special Education and Carolyn Nugent, Principal.
With the cheques handed out and photos taken, Mike Pryke hopes those who have received a Mumbulla Foundation grant in 2019 and in the past become heroes for the organisation as the pressure to fundraise increases.
“I would ask you all to become passionate ambassadors of the Mumbulla Foundation, sharing stories about the difference we try to make to our community,” he says.
“In 2020, we will need to start a strong push seeking benefactors who can help us continue; the wider we can share the stories of the support The Mumbulla Foundation provides, the easier it might be for us to attract new financial supporters.
“Remember donations are tax deductible!”