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‘Time just as valuable as money’: Mumbulla grants help philanthropy in Bega Valley

Reproduced with permission of Bega District News, James Parker April 3rd 2024

Photo: Bega District News

With more than 50 applications and a total request of nearly $300,000, Mumbulla Community Foundation was tasked on assessing who would receive its annual grants, a selection that covered the northern and southern reaches of the Bega Valley shire.

Chairman Mick Pryke said one of the key goals of the foundation was to increase philanthropy in the Bega Valley, and the large attendance at the Bega Civic Centre for the grant presentations demonstrated its success.

“We have a view that philanthropy is not just about money, in fact that’s a small part of it,” Mr Pryke said.

“Volunteering, time, expertise, experience, skills is all philanthropy, and if we can get people to understand that, I think it raises the profile of the contribution people make to the Bega Valley.

“I was sitting with a gentleman at a Lions meeting, and we were talking about this and he said, ‘Oh, I don’t have enough money to be involved in philanthropy,’ and I said, ‘You’re a volunteer with Lions, you’re in it whether you like it or not’.

“And he just smiled, you could see the light bulb go on,” he said.

Captain Zac Willis from Bega VRA shared how the money in his grant would help acquire portable search lights for rescues occurring more frequently at night, while Jellat Rural Fire Brigade said the funds would help the team build resilience, providing members with a cap, shirt, and a multi-tool for use.

Carly McDonald from Headspace Bega spoke of how a grant eight years ago, during her university degree where she said she wanted to help youth in the community, had resulted in a career working and doing just that.

Quaama Progress Association sought funding for a chair upgrade which they hoped would last three decades, their fingers crossed in anticipation, while their northerly neighbour, Cobargo Preschool, were given monetary assistance for a bespoke professional development course specialising in post-disaster support.

The Food Tool Library’s Heather Anderson shared how lessons would be provided on canning and preserving food, which would bring the Cobargo community closer than ever, while Mick Brown from the Friends of Kiah Hall needed assistance in purchasing a ride on mower.

Eden RSL sub-branch invested in a PA System, How Art Bemboka Community Hub had a grant for a family bushdance and men’s dinner, Kameruka Estate Debutante Ball committee for a ball filled with relationship advice, Rocky Hall Community Association’s grant was for water tanks.

SCPA and Grow the Future were investing in the youth of the Bega Valley by renovating the old stables on Auckland Street to create vibrant spaces, Spiral Gallery Cooperative’s grant was for an Art of Fibre Connections workshop.

With festivals and events being planned on the 2024 horizon, the Fungi Festival received a grant allowing guest speakers to share a film, Panboola Wetlands invested in the popular Ephemeral Festival, the contribution gifted towards Candelo Arts Society was towards Soul 4th Sunday, and Theatre Onset was for The Songcrafters production.

Meanwhile Women’s Resource Centre was helping fund expenses for the Elsie Award Conference for which their manager Jane Hughes won, and Sapphire Neighbourhood Services shared how the grant would provide professional training so the team could work with men to help with behaviour modification.