The recent launch of Endeavour Foundation’s perpetual Endowment Challenge Fund by Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan is described as the next step in a much-needed reform of the exponentially growing disability services sector.
Endeavour CEO David Barbagallo says the Fund will enable the sector to take on challenges outside the scope of current government or Not for Profit organisations’ programs.
It is estimated that 1.3 million Australians are living with a disability and this is expected to rise to 2.3 million by 2030.
Barbagallo says Endeavour’s capital-preserved Endowment Challenge Fund will enable the organisation to tackle problems on behalf of the sector as a whole by supporting people with a disability live an ordinary life, while allowing it to continue its day-to-day operations.
Endeavour is one of the largest providers of services for people with a disability and one of the largest non-government, Not for Profit organisations in Australia. It provides support, accommodation, training and vocational opportunities more than 3,200 people with a disability across Queensland.
The Foundation says the new fund will allow it to address issues of social inclusion for people with a disability, enable community organisations to provide for people with a disability and encourage research and scholarship in disability.
The Endowment Fund started with Endeavour Foundation’s contribution of an $810,000 share portfolio as well as the first corporate donation of $100,000 from ANZ Banking Group. Since then the Foundation says it has received significant donations to take it well over the million dollar mark.
David Barbagallo says the Fund has been named the Endowment Challenge because they are challenging the community to take action to recognise and support an important, growing but often marginalised group – people with a disability.
He says that it is important to note that only interest earned by the Fund will be used, while the actual donations will be preserved. In this way, the Fund will be meeting the wishes of donors, many of whom want to leave a legacy for future generations.
The Foundation intends that the fund will found a professorial chair in disability at a leading university and fund research projects into major issues facing the sector.
Barbagallo says one key area would be to dramatically increase research into disability.
They also plan to establish a scholarship fund to support the teaching and training of people in disability services professions.
He says the Fund had been given a robust commercial framework to maximise efficiencies, provide excellent governance and give donors great confidence their contributions will be used for maximum benefit. Overheads to administer the Fund and allocate grants for projects will be capped at five per cent.
Also there is a board of volunteer directors selected for their experience and aptitude in disability, commerce, philanthropy, government or another discipline.