One of Our Oldest Charities Reinvents Itself
14 November 2002 at 12:11 pm
When one of Australia’s oldest welfare charities, Oz Child Children Australia began to look for a new direction that addressed the changing trends in our society it opted for a strategic repositioning that still focuses on children being our future.
Oz Child was born in the dusty streets of a gold rush tent city that was Melbourne in 1851. Today its services spread across education, family services, foster care, legal help for kids, disability services and many more….
The organisation readily accepts that it is not a high profile single-issue cause and has in the past not been easily identifiable.
CEO Tony Pitman’s mission is to change all that with an approach that encourages corporate and government involvement, in particular the development of workplace programs that encourage philanthropy, assist local communities and boost worker morale.
Pitman says that to the old adage that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ we must now include “and also corporations!”
Pitman says one key to success is the concept of a “good fit” between each sector. “Good fit” requires shared values, shared strategy and above all mutual benefits. The benefits are mutual rather than shared because each sector has different measurable outcomes to achieve. Business must return increased profitability, the welfare sector increased quantity and quality services, whilst the government must achieve healthy and satisfied communities.
He says the model Oz Child is progressing aims to establish close links between a business, a particular community customer base and the needs of that same community, encourage cooperation between various community agencies and create an opportunity for government to demonstrate its commitment to genuine community development.
He says this model is already in place in rural Victoria in partnership with a national company called “Neverfail Springwater” where the benefits are remaining within the local community.
Oz Child President Chris Ralph says that having ticked over the first 150 years, the organisation is now on a major expansion program.
Ralph says that internally they are expanding their services to match the broad and growing range of issues that confront children, and therefore confront adults.
He says along with the traditional areas of service, Oz Child will be looking at line extensions to education and health education, raising awareness in the areas of obesity, diabetes and mental health, including youth suicide.
He says a corporate pledge has allowed Oz Child to engage O’Keefe & Partners, a professional fund raising agency to assist with its strategies and objectives.
Tony Pitman and Chris Ralph are passionate about the need to restructure and move forward.
Ralph says they are the caretakers of Australia’s oldest welfare institution and have a responsibility to make sure that she survives and prospers.
And he says the organisation has the responsibility to make sure that the focus clearly remains on the original purpose: to be there for all children and to help them in the best way they know how.
For more information about Oz Child go to www.ozchild.com.au.