Community Business

Wild Women On Top Coastrek to stride over Sunshine Coast

OLYMPIAN Susie O’Neill has called on women across Queensland to join Australia’s most popular adventure trek series, the Wild Women On Top Coastrek, which will be held on the Sunshine Coast for the first time in 2017.

If you’re a tired woman, busy with work or raising a family and always putting yourself last, then get ready for an adventure that will exhilarate you, while raising money for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Not only will you reap the social, mental and physical benefits of spending a day hiking along stunning coastlines with a bunch of girlfriends, you’ll also leave knowing you’ve had an impact on the lives of others by helping restore sight.  

Coastrek is a team trekking challenge designed to get women outdoors in nature. Teams of four (including at least two women) will walk the beautiful beaches, bays and clifftops of the Sunshine Coast for 30km or 60km.

Olympian Susie O’Neill, who is an ambassador for The Fred Hollows Foundation, completed Sydney Coastrek in 2014 and has teamed up with event organisers Wild Women On Top to call on women across Queensland to join the fun of Sunshine Coastrek on Friday July 28, 2017.

Registrations for the inaugural Sunshine Coastrek are open at with 2,000 women pre-registered and ready to take up the challenge.

“Coastrek is a life-changing adventure. It’s a chance to get together with a group of friends or colleagues and support each other to be fitter, stronger and healthier,” Ms O’Neill said.

“It’s also an opportunity to change the lives of people living with avoidable blindness, particularly women and girls, who make up 60 per cent of the world’s blind.”

Di Westaway, CEO and 'chief adventure chick' of Wild Women On Top said, “Coastrek is not just another charity walk. It’s a 12 week journey with a happy ending. It’s for those women who want a challenge but also want the opportunity to grab a coffee and a gab, or even a spot of shopping along the way.

“When our girls leap across the finish line smiling but weary, you see that look of exhilaration on their faces. They know they’ve done something remarkable. Not only do they get fitter and stronger, but they also get their sparkle back and help to get the blind to see.”

Since Coastrek began in Sydney in 2010 and in Melbourne in 2015, nearly 19,000 trekkers have raised more than $14 million for The Fred Hollows Foundation, restoring sight to hundreds of thousands of people in some of the world’s poorest countries and training local eye doctors and health workers.

Sunshine Coastrekkers will not only push themselves physically, they will also aim to raise about $1.5million for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Westaway started Wild Women On Top after what she calls her ‘Mid-Wife Crisis’. A frazzled, fed-up mum fighting 40, Westaway realised that while nurturing her growing family she had neglected herself. When a friend’s personal trainer invited her to climb a mountain in the Andes, a love affair with the thrill of adventure was born, and soon after so was Wild Women On Top.

“The main barriers to getting women outdoors are guilt, time, a negative association with exercise and family commitments. Coastrek motivates women to go walking with their friends because it makes them feel exhilarated,” Ms Westaway said.

Susie O’Neill remembers her Sydney trek fondly.

“I can say from experience that Coastrek is a fantastic way to spend time with friends, improve fitness and enjoy our beautiful coastline, and I encourage women across the Sunshine Coast and Queensland to join in,” she said.

“Tens of thousands of women have enjoyed the benefits of taking part in Coastrek and hundreds of thousands more have benefitted by having their sight restored thanks to the funds raised for The Fred Hollows Foundation.

“I wish I could join the first ever Sunshine Coastrek, but as you can see, my leg is in a boot so I am well behind on the training!”

Trekker Erika Bates, who joined Ms O'Neill and Ms Westaway at the launch said she felt great about getting fitter while helping raise vital funds to end avoidable blindness.

“The Sunshine coastline is full of natural wonders and there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to share those wonders with a group of friends, while challenging yourself and raising money for charity,” Ms Bates said.

“I’m really excited to be taking part in this year’s Coastrek and look forward to creating some great memories and sharing magical moments with my girlfriends along the way.”

Registrations for Sunshine Coastrek are open now, through


Community heritage grants up to $15k open for 2016

GRANTS of up to $15,000 are available to community groups around the country to help preserve and manage locally held, nationally significant ‘cultural heritage collections of documents and objects for future generations’. 

Eligible projects include significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation activities and collection management.

The National Library manages the Community Heritage Grants Program — which is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Communication and the Arts —with the National Archives of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich  said the program, which began in 1994, had provided more than $5.7 million for a total of 1,192 projects around Australia — ranging from cities to the remotest of regions.

“We invite everyone from historical societies, museums, libraries, Indigenous groups, migrant community groups — everyone who believes they have a special collection in their local community, to apply for this year’s CHG,” Ms Schwirtlich said.

“Through these grants, you will receive expert guidance to assess the significance of such collections and financial help to carry out the work required to preserve and document them.”

First-time recipients are invited to Canberra to receive their grant and enhance their skills through the expertise of institutions like the National Library — and take that knowledge back to their communities, she said.

Applications should be submitted online at They close on May 9, 2016.



Wiley chief turns wily chef for OzHarvest

WILEY managing director Tom Wiley may have been helping to feed the world through his company’s innovative food technologies for more than 20 years, but in March he will be shrewdly managing real pots and pans to cook for the less fortunate.

Tom Wiley’s cooking session will raise awareness of food waste as part of Brisbane’s first OzHarvest CEO CookOff on March 7. 

Brisbane-based Wiley, an engineering-led design solution business servicing the food industry, delivers more efficient and effective ways to produce and process food, working with clients such as Huon Aquaculture, Harvest Fresh Cuts, Primo and Heinz Golden Circle.

Mr Wiley will be slicing and dicing alongside Queensland’s best chefs at the CEO CookOff, before sharing a three-course meal with 1,000 homeless and disadvantaged guests.

Confirmed ‘kitchen masters’ include celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue who stars in the TV show Aussie Barbecue Heroes, Javier Codina of Brisbane’s Moda, Ben Williamson the executive chef of Gerard’s Bistro and the darling of Queensland’s foodie scene, Dominique Rizzo of Putia Pure Food Kitchen.

Mr Wiley jumped at the chance to use his cooking skills to give back to the community in Brisbane’s first CEO CookOff.

“Wiley is passionate about bringing food and people together in a better way,” Mr Wiley said. “The CEO CookOff is a fantastic event because it’s all about bringing food to those who need it most, but also to find a better way to address pressing food issues facing society such as food wastage.

““Wiley partners with our clients to develop innovative food manufacturing solutions and we believe every project is a new opportunity to improve global food security. Figuring out how we are going to feed the world is an issue that motivates me every day.

“The support we’ve already seen from the Wiley team has been outstanding and is a demonstration of our strong community values.

“My cooking skills are mostly limited to the barbecue and my pizza oven, so I’m also happy to pick up a few tips from the chefs on the night,” he said.

OzHarvest’s founder and CEO Ronni Kahn said the OzHarvest CEO CookOff was a great opportunity for Australia’s business leaders and top chefs to connect in a very meaningful way with those who are less fortunate.

“Food is all about caring, sharing, dignity and respect. It’s an equaliser and a connector and that’s what this event is all about,” Ms Kahn said.

Wiley’s goal is to raise $20,000 to support OzHarvest’s work feeding Australia’s homeless and disadvantaged via food rescue programs, and reducing food waste by redistributing quality, excess food from commercial outlets to charities around the country.




Domestic violence support program Pets in Crisis needs sponsor - RSPCA

RSPCA Queenland’s innovative Pets in Crisis program -- which helps women and children caught in domestic violence situations -- is desperately seeking a sponsor.  

In partnership with dvconnect the Pets in Crisis program helps women and children who feel trapped in violent domestic situations because of concerns for their pets.

"Obviously no one should feel that they can’t leave a violent home. However, the majority of domestic violence refuges are neither equipped nor permitted to accept animals," RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty said.

"This can cause extreme distress to the victims of domestic violence because in many cases their pets have become their lifeline. Research shows that up to 25 percent of women in violent situations where there is a family pet present may remain in that situation because of concern for the welfare of their pet if they leave."

RSPCA Queensland provides temporary care for these pets until the women and children are resettled.

The Pets in Crisis domestic violence program was launched 10years ago but the demand for its services has been increasing.

“Last financial year we took in 122 animals providing 4,100 days of care at an average of 34 days per animal,” Mr Beatty said.

“We know the importance of the service but we’re also feeling the strain of providing that service. Ten years ago we had a partial sponsor but for the last six years we’ve on our own.”

Pets in Crisis is a critical program that delivers many community benefits.

"On the one hand, it provides women with a release from their ‘hostage’ situations and enables families to seek refuge," Mr Beatty said.

"On the other, pets are protected from violence or abandonment and are able to be reunited with their families when they are in a safe environment. It’s absolutely vital that this program continues."





Berkeley's Philanthropy University offers free courses to help ;social change leaders'

Philanthropy University, developed by the United States' second oldest university-based business school, Berkely-Haas, is offering free online courses for social change leaders around the world in an effort to build sector networks and boost impact.

"Philanthropy University offers leaders in the social sector opportunities to strengthen their skills and grow their network of peers and mentors, ultimately increasing collaboration and efficiency and leading to a greater impact in the world," said Laura Tyson the director of the Institute for Business and Social Impact at Berkeley-Haas and chair of the Philanthropy University advisory committee. 

"Berkeley-Haas is proud to be a partner in this new effort to break down barriers to social change by providing free, accessible learning to foster the capacity of the sector around the world," Dr Tyson said.

Berkeley-Haas is playing a significant role, helping form networks of organisations that use Philanthropy University to increase their impact, shaping the curricula, sourcing faculty from Berkeley and top universities worldwide, building an open innovation platform that provides space for learners to collaborate, and integrating its Global Social Venture Competition with this initiative, according to Dr Tyson.

Founder of Philanthropy U, the non-profit sponsor of the initiative, HE Amr Al-Dabbagh said, "Imagine a workforce of social change professionals who are primed, positioned and skilled to impact the lives of millions of people and effectively change the world with their work. This is the vision of Philanthropy University."

Philanthropy University courses go beyond the traditional non-profit webinar through dynamic week classes lasting five to eight weeks that will be taught by leading instructors and renowned practitioners. Courses focus on team-based, experiential learning, enabled by the latest social learning technologies from NovoEd.

The seven inaugural courses, which begin on September 29, 2015, teach key skills that people need to succeed in the social change sector, including fundraising, strategic planning and scaling for impact.

More than 10,000 learners have already registered to be in Philanthropy University's inaugural session. Instructors include co-founder Jessica Jackley, Stanford University emeritus professor Paul Brest and Erik Simanis of Cornell University .

Learners can earn recognition from Berkeley-Haas including a Statement of Accomplishment upon completion of any course or a Certificate of Completion in Social Sector Leadership by completing all seven classes.

The initial course offerings and start dates are:

Starting September 29, 2015: 
Global Social Entrepreneurship  
Essential of Nonprofit Strategy   
Organizational Capacity: Assessment to Action

Starting October 6, 2015:
How to Scale Social Impact    
Leadership: 10 Rules for Impact and Meaning   

Starting October 13, 2015:  
Financial Modeling for the Social Sector    
Fundraising: How to Connect with Donors

Learn more and register at

About Philanthropy University 
Philanthropy University is the first-of-its-kind online education initiative for change makers, providing free non-credit courses taught by world-class instructors and powered by the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Philanthropy University is sponsored by Philanthropy U, a registered non-profit. Learners are not entitled to college or other academic credit.

About Berkeley-Haas 
As the second-oldest business school in the US, the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley is one of the world's leading producers of new ideas and knowledge in all areas of business. The school offers outstanding management education to about 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students each year who come from around the world to study in one of six degree-granting programs.

About NovoEd 
NovoEd powers leadership development online. The company's social learning platform and design services help organisations convert in-person training to scalable online classes and programs. NovoEd leverages the latest science and tools in peer-to-peer, project-based, and team-based learning.

CoAct innovates, collaborates with business on jobs challenges

COLLABORATION and innovation is rarely highlighted in relation to the community services sector – but it is precisely this focus that must drive the real outcomes into the future, CoAct CEO Matt Little urged at The Power of Many CoAct conference, in Canberra in June.

The conference served as both a wake-up call and a celebration for the sector and it was convened by CoAct – formerly the Job Futures – which launched its new brand designed to unite and energise community services throughout Australia. 

In an industry needing to build new alliances and business relationships, the conference was both about celebrating CoAct members’ considerable successes while alerting business and community leaders to the broad challenges threatening the sector.

Guest keynote speakers Marco Roncarati from United Nations ESCAP – who presented vital regional information on youth unemployment issues – and Stephane Carcillo from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs offered international perspectives on successful programs and experiences that Australia could adapt.

Diminishing budgets – and a change of approach by the Federal Government in seeking to procure from larger ‘single point of contact’ organisations, as outlined by Bronwen Dalton of UTS Business School – are creating unexpected challenges for smaller and regional community organisations that can only be addressed through innovation and collaboration.

“Whilst the current state of social affairs can, at times, make for grim reading in the media and foster a climate of pessimism, we feel that through collaboration and harnessing the power of many we can offer innovative solutions for the future of all Australians,” Mr Little said. 

He said the change of brand and approach from Job Futures to CoAct was designed to help the community services sector to become more innovative and effective while delivering better outcomes for government and Australian society.

“The latest research shows that the community services sector contributes over $43 billion to the economy and is an essential ingredient in the decision making process for any government,” Mr Little said. “CoAct alone represents a sizable contribution to this figure and, with the combined knowledge of the people assembled at this conference, we can change the direction for social policy for years to come.”

CoAct is a national network of locally embedded community service providers who work together to create social and economic opportunities. As the former Job Futures, the community-based organisation was formed to meet the new environment as Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) was replaced by Centrelink in the late 1990s, to assist in co-ordinating the creation of job opportunities.

“We operate solely for community benefit and drive over 90 percent of revenue back into the communities in which we operate,” Mr Little said. “Overall, the community sector returns more (to the overall economy) than it receives in funding. That’s a fact.

“More than ever before, we need new solutions to old problems that have never been fixed and are beginning to fester.” Mr Little said one of the most serious problems in Australia – as it is in much of the Asia Pacific region – is youth unemployment.

“The youth unemployment rate in Australia remained unchanged at 13.6 percent which is more than double the average unemployment rate,” Mr Little said. “We are losing a generation of Australians to poverty, unable to afford housing in our major cities and becoming increasingly separate from the wider community.”

Mr Little said the CoAct conference was so important to the process as it was a rare opportunity to gather community, business and government leaders to address the key challenges in creating “an equitable Australia that provides actual jobs, places to live and access to services that are able to deliver innovative solitons without hindrance”. 

“The purpose is to focus minds and generate action,” he said.

The impetus to innovate has been bolstered by recent CoAct partnership successes with business, especially in areas such as youth job creation.

“Earlier this year, I visited one of our programs,” Mr Little said. “There I could see for myself the work we have done changing the lives of Indigenous youth who had, up until that point, no hope of finding employment or accessing the skills training to get a job – it was a revolutionary experience for me.

“When we worked together with the business sector in our Hit the Ground Running program, we not only found jobs for young people but we got them work experience,” he said, as an example. “We found ready-trained employees for the business, Australian Hearing, saving them thousands of dollars in employment costs by reducing job lag.

“This is the power of collaboration and innovation. In this case we saved the economy and businesses money and created better lives full of opportunities that the individuals concerned would never have had access to before.

“Governments alone cannot solve these issues, however they can nurture the environment for true collaboration between industry and community that is focused on beneficial outcomes for all.”

“We want government to publicly commit to a sustainable sector, free from hindrance and with workable business models,” Mr Little said.

“And we want them to give their policy teams new orders to accelerate the progress toward new, sustainable, effective, comprehensive and socially ambitious community services and development agreements that restore funding to essential services such as specialised providers to youth and homelessness.”


Insurance industry makes Climate Summit $420b pledge


THE global insurance industry has promised to lift its ‘climate-smart investments’ from $42 billion to $84 billion by the end of 2015, according to a report by Ross Kendall in the online journal Ethical Investor.

Mr Kendall reported that the global insurance industry, represented by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) and the International Insurance Society, was “set to transform its mainstream asset management by placing more emphasis on climate risk”. 

Beyond next November’s UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, the industry has pledged to further commit to increasing the amount invested in climate-smart investments to 10 times the current amount, $420 billion, by 2020.

For the first time ever, the ICMIF and the International Insurance Society spoke as one voice at the UN’s Climate Summit in September, Ethical Investor quoted Shaun Tarbuck, ISMIF chief executive as saying.

“The insurance industry manages a third of the world’s investment capital – approximately US$30 trillion,” Mr Tarbuck said.

“As the most climate-risk aware sector in finance, insurers can lead the asset management world, by overlaying good capital disciplines to manage our own climate risk which must be understood and managed across all of our investments, and thereby creating the resilient cities, communities and assets we all desire,” he said.

The insurance industry is also reported to be creating and monitoring a Climate Risk Investment Framework that will become accountable under the new UN Hyogo Framework, which will impact significantly climate and disaster risk reduction and resilience.

“These are bold statements of intent. But as insurers we believe we start with a big advantage, because we are already in the business of protecting lives and livelihoods in both developed and emerging countries,” Mr Tarbuck said.

The mutual and cooperative insurance sector accounts for almost 30 percent of the insurance market, Ethical Investor reported, and is the fastest growing part increasing its premium income by 27 percent since 2007.

“Member-driven insurers put people and the planet, ahead of profit,” Mr Tarbuck said.




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