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Alumni Community Projects

Alumni Community Projects

Alumni Community Action Projects

Graduates of the Governor's Leadership Foundation (GLF) program are often characterised by their awareness and responsiveness to the communities of which they are a part. Many GLF Alumni have initiated or contributed significantly to projects that have provided important and far reaching social impact. These inspiring ventures reflect the growth, challenge and wisdom provided through the GLF and the strength that the Alumni network offers.

Since 2009 a key element of the GLF program is the development and implementation of a Community Action Project (CAP). Participants work in small groups on an action learning project of their choice from early in the program. Since 2012 the timelines for CAP’s have been extended to two years. During the program participants are provided with a range of workshops that help them in developing the skills needed to successfully deliver the project.

CAP groups conduct a feasibility study, consult with key stakeholders and where appropriate develop a pilot and/or business plan during the GLF year, which they present to the Board of the Leaders Institute before their graduation in November. In the year after participation in the Governor’s Leadership Foundation program the groups continue with the implementation and further development of their Community Action Project.

Moving Through Homelessness: Exploring delivery models for improved literacy and numeracy outcomes for Hutt Street Centre clients

The 2013 GLF Alumni team of Dave Adamson, Wayne Buckerfield, Mauro Farinola, Fiona Gill, Heather Gryst and Susan Jackson-Wood formed with strong support for an initial idea to enhance the services being provided at Hutt Street Centre (HSC). Each of the project team had undertaken a Community Placement activity at HSC, and was moved by the need as leaders to do more for those disadvantaged. The challenge from the outset was to identify the adaptive challenge and move away from technical solutions. What started off as an upgrade to the amenities areas soon developed into several ideas with competing tensions. The team finally settled on something ‘small enough to do, but big enough to matter’. From research and discussions with Hutt Street Centre’s Executive Team it became clear that one of the key barriers to exiting homelessness was inadequate literacy and numeracy. This project has explored delivery models for improved literacy and numeracy outcomes for Hutt Street Centre.

The target audience for this CAP is the 70% of Hutt Street Centre clients who struggle with literacy and numeracy skills. HSC has identified a distinct need to have research findings available to make informed decisions about the future programs being delivered. This CAP has provided the much needed access to this current research in literacy and numeracy programs and aims to enhance current programs. The intent of this project has been to research opportunities for literacy and numeracy training for homeless people, evaluate the current offering at Hutt Street Centre and suggest improvements where possible. You can read the report here.

Missing in Action - Increasing female participation as elected members in South Australian Local Government

2013 GLF Alumni Kath Button, Madeleine Davis, Margaret Faulkner and Alex Gaut, successfully undertook research to tackle a major adaptive challenge facing Local Government in South Australia - increasing the representation of women as elected members. Half of South Australia’s population is female, yet women currently represent only 27% of elected members in Local Government, and current trends suggest this will remain stagnant. 

Following consideration of a range of possible interventions, the CAP team agreed to run three World Café forums to explore two pivotal questions with women from diverse backgrounds:

- What does effective community leadership look like to you?

- What message would inspire you to become involved in community leadership?

The result of their research is the publication of a report that they presented to the Local Government Association (LGA) including seven recommendations to tackle this adaptive challenge. Their recommendations are now cited in some of the key resource documents for councils in South Australia. You can find the report here.

COMIC Family Room

One of the action learning groups from the GLF 2011 cohort worked with not-for-profit organisation Children of Mentally Ill Consumers (COMIC). COMIC’s role is to advocate for, and raise awareness of, the needs of children who have a parent with a mental illness. Research from around the world highlights the benefits of considering and addressing the needs of children in the treatment regime of the parent. Those benefits include improved medical outcomes for the parent, a reduction in the negative impacts for the child/ren and a greater sense of family cohesion. One simple solution was to provide a space within the hospital environment for children and parents to spend time together in a safe, family friendly environment. With the generous support of Variety Club of SA, Macquarie, sponsors and suppliers, the first COMIC Space opened at the Lyell McEwin Hospital at the end of September.

The GLF 2011 Alumni that initiated this project won the Dennis Mutton Group Medal in 2013. For further information see: www.comic.org.au.

Motor Accident Commission (MAC) projects

The participants in the 2010 GLF program group undertook a number of projects in collaboration with MAC, aimed at reducing deaths and injury from road accidents. The projects included working with school children to educate their parents about safer driving, proposals for a permanent and prominent focal point for road safety awareness and a new SA drivers licence continuum, and policy and legislation work aimed at safer cars, drivers and roads. 

Dr Paul Collier Scholarship

Inspector Kylie Walsh FGLF09 developed the initiative of this scholarship in honour of Dr Paul Collier, a leader in the disability arts community, founder of the Dignity for Disability Party, quadriplegic and graduate of the 2009 GLF program, who passed away in early 2010. This scholarship seeks to recognise the important connection that Dr Paul Collier FGLF09 had with the Governor’s Leadership Foundation through his participation in 2009. In particular he showed others the valuable enablers and far reaching awareness of being, living, and working with a significant disability. The Dr Paul Collier Scholarship acknowledges the important leadership contribution he made to the South Australian community.

Owner and Chief Executive of award-winning South Australian company Redarc Electronics, Anthony Kittel FGLF09, financially supports this scholarship that supports participation in the GLF for a leader with a disability or a leader in an organisation that provides support for those with a disability.

Community Board Program

This program was founded by Jennifer Duncan FGLF08 and is run in partnership with the Community Business Bureau (CBB, the not4profit people). The Community Boards Program has successfully matched many GLF graduates with positions on not-for-profit boards in the last years. The collaboration with CBB the not4profit people has resulted in a further developed service which is called BoardMatch. This service finds, matches and presents potential candidates or positions to you at no cost. For more information about this project, visit the Community Board Program – BoardMatch webpage.

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams is an initiative of Craig Schmidt FLGF07 that has been followed-up by Wayne O'Brien FLGF04 when Craig relocated to Indonesia. This program engages and supports high school students in the northern suburbs of Adelaide to realise their potential and pursue meaningful goals. With the support of the GLF Alumni, the program provides students with a career planning tool to help them identify their dream job and assist them to plan their potential pathway using this model. Over 1,000 students benefited from this program between 2008 and 2011.

Heart Foundation Nurse Ambassadors Program

An initiative of Amanda Rischbieth FGLF04 that was supported by a large family bequest to the Heart Foundation and matched with government funding, the Nurse Ambassadors Program operates in both hospital and community settings, spreading the cardiovascular disease reduction message.

Projects in development that you can support

There are a range of community projects run by GLF Alumni that provide an opportunity for involvement. If you are interested in having a positive social impact by adding your expertise and effort to any of the initiatives below, please contact the alumni member directly via the details provided. Alternatively, if you are a GLF graduate with a new community initiative, please email our Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator Sanne who can help you in highlighting your project on this webpage, as well as through other communication channels.

Seeds of Affinity – Pathways for Women

Annie Fabig FGLF13 and Connie Kalinski FGLF13 are currently working on their Community Action Project, Seeds of Affinity. This organisation supports women in prison and those leaving prison, in their effort to re-integrate into the community. Many criminalised women have experienced family breakdown and have little support to develop a positive life after prison. Because of this many women return to prison.

Early 2014 the CAP group applied for two grants from the Department of Corrections (DCS), which were successful. Annie and Connie now have two funded projects to run during 2014-2015. These projects are $10,000 for running a second choir in the Women’s prison and $40,000 to build SoA into a more sustainable organisation, in line with their strategic plan. Would you be interested to support this project? Read more on our blog Wiser Leaders, where you can also find Annie’s contact details.

Australian Leadership Program for Africa (ALPA)

The ALPA is not for profit organisation founded by Elsabet Tamrat FGLF07 and a group of other GLF program graduates and community leaders. It is currently seeking funding to bring leaders from Africa to participate in a GLF-type 3-month program with the purpose of building leadership and ethical governance capability for organisations in Africa. For more information visit africanleadership.org.au.

A vision of Living Cities in South Australia

Sonja Bar-Am FGLF13 is exploring the possibility to start Living Cities in South Australia. Living Cities is a US based organisation that sources funds from the large philanthropic funds and financial institutions in the US, and using financial instruments such as market funds to raise money to address community issues such as Housing, Community Cohesiveness, Poverty, etc.

Sonja would like to pilot this in South Australia and will meet with the CEO of the organisation in New York end of October 2014. She would like to invite interested GLF Alumni to join a steering committee that can guide and inform the progression of this project. For more information, read her full story on our blog Wiser Leaders, where you can also find Sonja’s contact details.

Other Community Action Projects in progress


iNSPIRE SA is run by a team of five GLF Alumni who participated in the Governor’s Leadership Foundation program in 2012. In 2013 the team succeeded in facilitating members of the food industry in South Australia to develop a collective vision and strategic priorities in response to exploring “how participants would shape collaborative opportunities for the food industry in SA”.

iNSPIRE SA evolved from a Community Action Project (CAP) which was established with the ambition of developing an adaptive response to the following wicked problem: ‘South Australia has a declining presence and diversification of head offices for corporations, limiting not only the economic future of the State, but its credibility and influence both domestically and internationally.’

The group decided to utilise the technique of Appreciative Inquiry to explore the possibilities for attracting, growing and retaining organisations in SA. They started with the food industry. In 2014 iNSPIRE SA continues to support the food industry to progress strategic priorities and take them forward under their own steam. You can read more about this project on our blog Wiser Leaders.

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