Toogoolawa – Bus. Part’ships Help Boys in Trouble
Monday, 20th November 2000 at 12:11 pm
Queensland-based millionaire property developer John L Fitzgerald built the Toogoolawa Children’s Home and the first Toogoolawa School for homeless and abused children in Brisbane back in 1991.
And it’s not surprising that his work is supported by a group of friends he went through primary school with in Melbourne and are now helping with his dream to build schools across Australia.
Mark Hinkley and Simon and Chris Meehan were Fitzgerald’s classmates at Saint Mary’s Primary School in St. Kilda, Melbourne. Today they operate a commercial enterprise called Custodian Wealth Builders which offers financial independence through property investments. Their business experience has helped them forge business partnerships that will see a new Toogoolawa school in Melbourne’s outer suburb of Cranbourne by the start of the next school year.
Mark Hinkley and Chris Meehan say they share the passion that Fitzgerald has for helping kids who don’t survive in the traditional school system and with the theory that if you do well in business you give back to the community.
Toogoolawa offers 12 places for up to two years to boys who the traditional school system has given up or whose difficult family situations mean they need to be away from their normal environment.
Toogoolawa is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘a place in the heart’ and the driving force is to help the 11-16 years olds find their feet in the self-paced education system where outdoor activities and sports are a key element.
Through their Custodian clients the Toogoolawa managers have been able to arrange partnerships that help the ongoing work in Brisbane and also the new school in Melbourne.
Toogoolawa now has an arrangement with Cranbourne TAFE College to lease a large track of rural land and erect demountable classrooms. The engineering work was provided by one of their clients and many local businesses are being approached to join in the project.
Negotiations are also under way with the Australian Certified Practising Accountants to provide an annual prize for the schools.
Hinkley and Meehan say the days of raffle tickets and endless rounds of fundraising events have been overtaken by the win/ win opportunities that many businesses now see by partnering with organisations like Toogoolawa.
However they are planning a traditional fundraising Black Tie Ball in Melbourne on June 28, 2001, an event they say will be more of a celebration of the new school and it’s partnerships and another step in the dream to build schools across Australia.
For more information on Toogoolawa follow the links at www.wealthbuilders.com.au or call (03) 9593 3280.