Investment in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity and sustained economic growth. This is evidenced in studies and experiences from around the world. So, it was with huge enthusiasm this year’s International Women’s Day celebration was hosted by the Women for Change group.
Women for Change is a group of people, auspiced by the Bass Coast Community Foundation, who use their collective resources and abilities to make positive changes. Its mission is to improve the lives and wellbeing of women, their children and the community they live in.
Off the back of the International Women’s Day theme #eachforequal that sought to raise awareness of the need for equity, and called us all to actively challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements, Women for Change raised over $7,000.
“It was overwhelming and an outstanding example of a local community working together for the benefit of others” said Carol Blair, the convenor of the Women for Change Working Group and director of the Bass Coast Community Foundation.
100 Women and men came from as far as Melbourne through to Inverloch for the event. They enjoyed live music by local musician Bern Carroll, an inspiring talk by the CEO of the Phillip Island Nature Parks, Catherine Basterfield and two lucky women went home with prizes valuing over $400 donated by Eugenie’s.
The MC of the event, Jan Bourne drew interesting parallels between the corporate world and working in the community as everyone reflected on the journey a shy child that began life in Inverloch who challenged herself, took the advice and support of mentors and three years ago undertook the CEO position of one of the largest employers in the Bass Coast.
“Thankfully there have been changes for women in the workplace, but there is so much more to do,” observed Ms Bourne as she launched the fund raising campaign to boost the funds dedicated to supporting and addressing disadvantage of women in the Bass Coast region.
“Let’s all get cracking and find 100 women that can donate one hundred dollars each, within the next one hundred days”, Ms Bourne urged. All funds raised build on the Fund held in perpetuity started by Sylvia Davey over 17 years ago and now has a balance of over $20,000. “Every dollar helps and it all adds up over time” said Ms Davey. “Collectively we can all donate a small (or large) amount to the Foundation and even in these tough times it grows, and this enables the Foundation to support our community”.
A Community Foundation is a philanthropic body and different to a charity in that the funds it raises can only be used for charitable purposes within the region that it was established. That means all income from the Foundation’s funds are distributed in Bass Coast. The Women for Change Fund has already earned sufficient interest to award $1,000 to a first-year tertiary student in 2020. Each year the working group will share its collective knowledge on issues facing women in Bass Coast and contribute to the decision to allocate funds to have greater social impact.
“We express our sincere thanks and gratitude for everyone’s support. The Bass Coast Community Foundation will continue to build its philanthropic funds through Women for Change and work to create a more gender equal world,” said Ms Blair.
Anyone interested in learning more about Women For Change or joining the working group can contact the executive officer of the Foundation at email@example.com or donate to progress its work at www.givenow.com.au/womenforchange