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Forum Calls for Community Leadership Group

12 June 2015 at 4:20 pm
Xavier Smerdon
A Melbourne forum has laid the groundwork for the development of a community leadership group to progress collaboration between Not for Profits, philanthropists, businesses and social enterprises.

Xavier Smerdon | 12 June 2015 at 4:20 pm


Forum Calls for Community Leadership Group
12 June 2015 at 4:20 pm

A Melbourne forum has laid the groundwork for the development of a community leadership group to progress collaboration between Not for Profits, philanthropists, businesses and social enterprises.

The Community Strengthening Forum hosted by Windsor Community Bank considered the challenges facing the Not for Profit sector, particularly in the inner city areas of Stonnington and the benefits of greater collaboration with businesses, social enterprises and philanthropists.

In a call to action, chairman of the Windsor Community Bank Michael Spiegel, said the aim of the Forum was to establish a community leadership group that would look to unite the community and develop greater collaboration in the face of current funding challenges for Not for Profits.

“We want to make sure we continue to offer the change options that are necessary and look at ways in which business and the community can collaborate in this environment,” Spiegel said.

Under the Bendigo Bank Community Banking system, community banks return 80 per cent of their profits to local community groups.

The Forum heard that some of the biggest challenges facing the community sector were raising revenue, managing risk, attracting and retaining staff and Not for Profits trying to do too much.

Mark Daniels from Social Traders Australia told the forum that Australians need to buy differently pointing to the role of social enterprises in a healthy economy.

He said there are an estimated 20,000 social enterprises in Australia.

“By funding organisations and sharing their stories, goodwill wins,” Daniels said.

The Mayor of Stonnington Melina Sehr told the Forum that one of the greatest challenges for Council was managing the issues around both wealth and poverty.

She said while there are prosperous areas around South Yarra, Toorak and Armadale there were areas of poverty and disadvantage in areas of Prahran and Windsor where there were large Government housing estates.

“Another consideration for council is that 50 per cent of our residents are under 35 years of age,” Sehr said.

Cr Sehr said she supported the concept of a leadership group to increase collaboration across the city.

Mark Smith from Not for Profit mental health provider, Prahran Mission said there was a revolution in the level of change being faced by the sector where community organisations can no longer rely on Government funding.

He said the Consumer Directed Care system being introduced with the National Disability Insurance Scheme was a “massive lever for change and we must prepare ourselves for this”.

“We must assess the cost of doing business everyday, professionalise our services and hope we don’t lose our humanity in all this,” Smith said.

Philanthropist, chair of The Good Foundation and KMPG Associate Director, Laura Anderson, told the Forum it was time for new synergies in the community.

She said while communities need compassion they need fusion around their purpose.

Anderson supported the concept of leadership committee to move the community forward and used the adage that “we need a star team not a team of stars”.

A Director of the Windsor Community bank and social enterprise consultant Emma Crichton said the forum highlighted that it was “time for the doing” and to take the next actions needed for greater community collaboration.

“I would like to see a community leadership group bring new people to the table that aren’t currently asking for help… because of the pressures of running their businesses, but they want to be social minded,” Crichton said.

“We have got to be more active and present to these people a way to get involved (with the community).”

Those interested in more information the leadership group can contact Michael Spiegel via email

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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