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New CEO for AFL Charity


Tuesday, 20th October 2015 at 11:40 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
Youth homelessness organisation Ladder, established and supported by Australian Football League players, has appointed former headspace executive, Elisabeth Tuckey as its new CEO.

Tuesday, 20th October 2015
at 11:40 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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New CEO for AFL Charity
Tuesday, 20th October 2015 at 11:40 am

Youth homelessness organisation Ladder, established and supported by Australian Football League players, has appointed former headspace executive, Elisabeth Tuckey as its new CEO.

Ladder was established in 2007 to tackle youth homelessness in Australia using the AFL industry’s high profile, along with its networks and players.

“Elisabeth Tuckey comes to Ladder with a wealth of experience in both the Not for Profit and government sectors and is in a great position to drive Ladder’s growth throughout the country, delivering high quality services to young people facing significant challenges, including homelessness,” the Chairman of the Board, and AFL Players Association CEO, Paul Marsh, said.

“Before joining Ladder, Tuckey was a member of the executive team at headspace – the National Youth Mental Health Foundation – for five years, playing a pivotal role in shaping headspace as it grew from 30 centres to 83 nationally.

“Elisabeth was also responsible for developing and implementing a five-year community relations, corporate partnership and engagement strategy.  Directly prior to headspace, Elisabeth was the Head of Communications with the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund.”

?Tuckey, who told Pro Bono Australia News she was a die-hard supporter and member of the Western Bulldogs, said the new role encompassed her passions for working with young people, tackling homelessness and her love of football.

“To be able to make a lasting and positive change in the lives of young people who have experienced homelessness is a great honour and something I am looking forward to doing with the Ladder team,” Tuckey said.

She said one of the key challenges will be to get governments onside to develop a coordinated approach to dealing with homelessness.

“Essentially I think the challenge will be getting governments to start thinking about what they are going to do about homelessness and getting a coordinated approach similar to what has happened in mental health and what is now happening in family violence,” she said.

“Putting money in, doing what is evidence based and creating partnerships and ensuring there is a consistent co-ordinated approach to homelessness, particularly youth homelessness, will be key.

“(Homelessness) is an underfunded sector and it is very similar to what mental health used to be and in some parts still like where there’s scattered funding and people are scrambling to try to get enough money.

“I think that’s the biggest challenge,  to try to get that coordinated approach and and figure out what is the best way of organisations like Ladder and others working together to get those outcomes for young people.”

Tuckey said Ladder had multiple sources of funding to allow AFL players past and present to be involved as staff, youth mentors, advocates and volunteers to deliver fitness sessions, or give their time where needed to support the organisation’s programs.   

“At the moment all AFL players contribute an amount from their match payments and the AFL has in the past matched that . There’s also fundraising, there have been some government grants in the past and there are corporate contributions,” she said.

“So my role is going to be essentially shoring up those avenues, trying to get more corporate and government funding and that’s where the partnerships approach comes in and we are looking at what are some of the solutions we can provide to government in partnership with other organisations and obviously looking at the fundraising, which has been quite strong, but as always with a Not for Profit, more can be done.

“My vision for Ladder moving forward is expanding the the organisation through funding and through programs and working with the AFL players and the clubs.”

She said the footprint for Ladder at the moment was Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

“We are looking at making sure Ladder is present in all the AFL markets which includes places like regional victoria …the western suburbs of Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast and there are plans starting around how we do that.

“The other part of (my role) is the advocacy piece about how do we change the conversation around homelessness how do we actually get people to think about it in a different way to how people are currently thinking about it as being a side issue or something that young people do by choice. Really trying to put a face on what is actually happening out there on the streets.

“It will be hugely challenging . It’s a sector that has a lot of great organisations doing a lot of great things but there is, as with all Not for Profits a lot of disconnect and I think everybody who works in this sector would acknowledge that we can do more together and better, but there is always going to be conflict and disagreement about how we do that.

“My experience at headspace was with multiple partners delivering the headspace model and this will come into play here. I think everyone has their heart in the right place with this and we can actually make a huge difference.”

Tuckey replaces CEO and co-founder of Ladder, Mark Bolton who lead the organisation since its inception in 2007.  Bolton, a retired AFL footballer with a 10 year career with the Essendon Football Club, attended the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program: Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management in the USA, and is a member of the Foyer Foundation board and was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Homelessness (Vic).


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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