Newsboys Foundation Celebrates with Song
22 November 2011 at 10:32 am
As youth focused grantmaker Newsboys Foundation prepares for its AGM tomorrow, followed by the performance of a hip-hop choir – CEO Sandy Shaw reflected on the way the organisation has adapted since it was first founded almost 120 years ago.
In 1883, when posting a letter one evening, wealthy merchant and saddler William Forster came across three boys, who were barefoot, dirty and hungry.
He took them home to spend the evening with his family, fed them, gave them new clothes and boots and talked to them about their future.
According to Shaw, word of the benefactor grew and the newsboys met weekly in central Melbourne.
Forster was moved by their plight and wanted to set up a foundation that would lift them out of poverty. Through the meetings, the boys were connected via Forster with education, health and sporting services and Newsboys Foundation was set up in 1893.
By the 1970s it was clear the organisation had to evolve. After all – the newsboys, from whom the organisation took their name, were no longer selling papers on the street. The weekly clubhouse meetings were also falling out of fashion.
The foundation sold their assets and since then the money made from investing the profits has been funnelled into grants that assist young people aged 11 – 18.
“Many disadvantaged young people have very complex lives,” said Shaw. “We have made our focus helping them get through an education –whatever that may be – TAFE, a trade or apprenticeship or school so that they can re-engage with education.”
Newsboys Foundation has been working with the Kimberley Foundation and the George Hicks Foundation in getting grants to those who need it most.
The Newsboys Foundation encourages grass roots organisations to apply for grants. A variety of strategies are considered for support, including programs involving the arts, outdoor education, sport and social enterprises.
In the last year they have supported refugees, young people with autism, disadvantaged young people in rural and regional areas, urban soccer teams and arts projects.
This year the foundation is supporting a collaboration at the Melbourne Recital Hall between teenagers from Melbourne Youth Music and young adults from Anti Racism Action Band (A.R.A.B.) and MASSIVE’s hip hop choir.
“It’s an innovative collaboration,” said Shaw. “And on for one-night only.”
The concert at Melbourne Recital Hall, called SubUrban Exchange fuses contemporary rap lyrics blended with hip hop dance. The hip-hop artists are joined on stage by an ensemble of 40 classical string players.
Chris Clark General Manager of collaborator Melbourne Youth Music said, “Over 70 musicians and artists (aged 14 to 25yrs) from virtually every suburb in Melbourne are coming together to make this professional and dynamic concert happen. It’s exhilarating to witness different musical styles merge and transcend the barriers of age, culture and attitude through sound.”
Date: Wednesday November 23, 2011
Time: 7.30pm – 8.30pm
At: Melbourne Recital Centre
Cnr Southbank Boulevard
Tickets: $20 adult
$15 student, concession, senior, pension
Bookings: www.melbournerecital.com.au, Box office: 03 9699 333