Third Sector Awards 2019 - Celebrating the Sector's Most Extraordinaire

24 September 2019 - Le Montage, Sydney

Third Sector Awards as part of Third Sector Live conference, presented by Sparks Strategy is an annual occasion for celebrating and recognising best NFP practice around Australia. Providing an unbiased and objective point of reference, Third Sector in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact and a team of judges scores hundreds of entries across multiple categories to showcase the very best in the sector.

Congratulations to 2019 winners!

CEO of the Year

Dr Lisa J. Griffiths


Lisa has worked in senior executive leadership roles for over 30 years with large, diverse, complex NGOs, the public sector and community-based organisations delivering evidence-based services to the community with a focus on children and families, people with disabilities, at-risk youth and the culturally diverse.

Currently the Chief Executive Officer with OzChild, since joining, OzChild has undergone a significant revamp turning its financial position around, introducing evidence-based programs and expanding its operations interstate. Lisa is a strong advocate for using ‘what works’ for Children and Families and has led the introduction of new evidence-based models at OzChild becoming the largest provider in Child Protection, Family Violence and Youth Justice in Australia.

Lisa is a strong contributor to the sector, holding Non-Executive Director positions with the Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare and Ministerial Advisory Groups around Australia.

Lisa recently received her Doctorate in Business Leadership focused on an Evidence-Based Ethical Leadership Model for the Community Services Sector; a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Centre for Evidence-Based Management. Most importantly Lisa is a wife, mother to five children and a former double commonwealth games medallist in Judo.

Eileen Hannagan


In February 2014, Eileen was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Eileen has 30 years’ experience in healthcare, in nursing, management and in the last 15 years as a senior executive. Eileen has studied commerce, health administration and holds a Master’s in Business.

Eileen previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer for St Vincent’s and Mercy Private Hospital in Victoria, before being appointed to manage one of Australia’s largest private hospitals, Epworth Richmond as the Executive Director. During her tenure at Epworth Richmond, she managed day-to-day operations during an ongoing $700M major redevelopment and has commissioned several new areas.

In all her previous roles, Eileen worked closely with clinical teams, allied health partners, hospital business units, research departments and federal and state governments to ensure positive healthcare outcomes and improve patient experience.

Eileen is passionate about realizing the Lifehouse vision through patient-centred, compassionate, holistic care.

Originally from Melbourne, Eileen moved to Sydney from Melbourne with her husband. She enjoys spending time with her son and daughter who live in Melbourne and the UK.

Dr Genevieve Nelson


Dr Genevieve Nelson completed her PhD in Papua New Guinea, examining the education system and mapping what makes students learn. Since then, her passion and leadership has overseen the growth of KTF (Kokoda Track Foundation) from a small NGO delivering limited projects along the historic Kokoda Track, to working with people and communities right across rural and remote PNG.

As a founding director and CEO since 2009, Genevieve guides KTF’s work in assisting communities with access to elementary and primary education; improving access to quality and accessible healthcare; improving livelihoods and access to sustainable income-generation opportunities, especially for women; and by fostering the next generation of leaders.

Genevieve holds a Doctorate in Cross-cultural and Educational Psychology from Western Sydney University and a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). An adjunct Research Fellow with the University of Queensland, Genevieve has published and presented extensively nationally and internationally and has been finalist in, and recipient of, numerous awards including the Institute of Managers & Leaders 2017 NSW Not-for-Profit Leadership Excellence Award.

A mother of two young daughters, Genevieve divides her time between Sydney, Brisbane and PNG and has walked the Kokoda Track 20 times (and counting).

Lindsay Cane AM GAICD

Lindsay Cane, is CEO of Royal Far West, a 94 year old charity that connects Australian children in rural and remote areas with the healthcare they need. Lindsay is a passionate advocate for the health and well-being of all Australians and brings with her a wealth of experience in leading, managing and inspiring organisational development and growth in the non-profit sector. She is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Rural Health (NSW) and a non-executive director of the Confederation of Australian Sport & Australian Masters Games and The Society of Hospital Pharmacists. Lindsay has also previously held directorship roles within The Australian Physiotherapy Association, The Asthma Foundation (NSW) and Netball Australia.

Anthea Smits


Anthea is the CEO at The Difference Incubator (TDi): an organisation committed to bringing together profit and purpose through integrated business models. TDi works with Government, private sector, and social enterprises to awaken the possibility of doing good and making money. For example, YuMi Tourism Partners, a program that is about connecting Indigenous tourism businesses in the South Pacific to Carnival Australia. Late last year YuMi won a Shared Value Award for its innovation and collaboration under Anthea’s leadership.

Anthea has a background as an entrepreneur and impact investor, which means she brings a practitioner lens to her work. Anthea brings extensive experience in social enterprise development, international development and working in commercial business. She is deeply driven by the idea that business is part of the solution to address the social and environmental issues we face.

Board Director of the Year

Ian Hamm


Ian is Yorta Yorta man who has been actively involved in the Victorian Indigenous community in a personal and professional capacity for over 30 years. He has had a wide exposure to, and led, policy reform and program implementation for both the State and Federal Governments at executive level, mostly notably in Aboriginal Affairs.

Since 2000, Ian has been a board member of a range of NFPs, including a number as chair. He has led some of these organisations through change and adaption to ensure they are well placed for the challenges of improving the lives of people in a rapidly changing environment. He is a board member of Aboriginal Housing Victoria, the Australian Red Cross and National Trust Australia (Vic). He is chair of the Koorie Heritage Trust, Connecting Home Ltd and the First Nations Foundation. The First Nations Foundation is dedicated to lifting the financial well-being of Indigenous Australians through financial literacy education, locating of superannuation, and research and advocacy with government and the financial sector.

Susan Alexander


Susan Alexander has dedicated decades to bettering the welfare of young Australians, culminating in 2016 when she received an Order of Australia Medal for “service to the community, particularly children’s welfare”.

Susan spent over 45 years in the Public Sector with a break to raise three children and 20 years of voluntary association with the Not for Profits. She first joined Child Welfare (now Communities and Justice), trained as a Psychologist, held a variety of front-line, management and Director’s positions and later worked part time for the Children’s Guardian and as an Official Community Visitor.

Susan’s natural ability to build partnerships translated to many volunteer roles, mainly with Marist Youth Care and Uniting Care Burnside, then Board Director, professional mentor and Chair/member of many committees. Her involvement with Stepping Stone House was initially as a supporter, voluntary consultant then Board Director since 2103. In this current capacity, Susan advocates for children’s rights, provides supervision/mentoring/advice to senior staff and assists in staff selection, policy development and strategic planning.

Susan’s commitment and dedication to make a difference in the lives of children and young people is highly visible, and unwavering

Sonya Clancy


Sonya has been a Director of The Big Issue since 2000 and Chairman since 2004 during which time the organisation has grown to be one of Australia’s most successful social enterprises whose services engage with more than 1000 individuals annually who have experienced homelessness, marginalisation and disadvantage. In this past year alone vendors who sell The Big Issue magazine collectively earnt $2.2m – the highest amount since the organisation’s inception in 1996.

Under Sonya’s guidance The Big Issue has expanded its programs and now operates the Women’s Subscription Enterprise, providing employment for women experiencing homelessness and disadvantage, The Big Issue Classroom, an early intervention and awareness program for school students and The Big Idea, a university social enterprise incubator program. In addition to her role with The Big Issue Sonya is also the Chairman of Homes for Homes, a more recent social enterprise created by The Big Issue that provides funding to community housing providers to build more social and affordable housing.

Sonya is an experienced senior leader having previously held executive roles in human resources, marketing and communication. She is currently the Chief People Officer at Bank Australia and is responsible for the people and culture strategy and initiatives across the bank. Sonya is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of AIM and AHRI. 

Robyn De Szoeke OAM


Robyn De Szoeke OAM has served on the Board since 2011 and as Chair since 2015. Robyn has transformed DFSS’s strategic leadership to support the growth of the charity and its increasing impact for the women it serves. Robyn has affected and led positive change by imbedding her professional expertise of service and operational excellence from her senior position in Deloitte Australia to the leadership and governance of DFSS.

Since joining in 2010, Robyn has donated over 3,700 volunteer-hours, led significant projects to improve processes, build efficiencies and raise funds, including a recent governance review implementing recommendations that have strengthened the Board; its composition, capabilities/function. She continues to volunteer her time to core services including dressing women for interview.

Robyn spearheaded the establishment of the DFS-Australian-Affiliate alliance – bringing all DFS affiliates into a strategic partnership that has successfully increased service impact and national fundraising/income for each DFS-affiliate.

Robyn also leads the Fashion Sales Event teams – an innovation created to use and redistribute surplus clothing; to raise vital funds and to ethically and sustainably redistribute surplus stock. This year, these events raised in excess of $230,000 and achieved a significant milestone, raising over $1Million since 2010.

Gary White


Gary White is the founding member and chair of Goondir – Board of Directors for the past 25 years (1994-2019). He is also the CEO of Goolburri Regional Housing for the past 18 years and current. He is one of the esteemed Board Members of Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization (NACCHO) and ATSIC Regional Councillor for 12 Years (1995 – 2007).

Gary’s qualifications are Certificate IV in Governance and Diploma in Community Management. He is actively involved in governance and oversight of strategic directions, sits on all Goondir Board sub-committees and responsible for accomplishments of key projects including:

  • Securing funding for the commencement of Goondir Health Services.
  • Establishment of Health Clinics in Toowoomba, Oakey, Dalby and St George communities.
  • Construction of Purpose-Built Clinic in St George and Dalby including Dental Training Facility with UQ School of Dentistry.
  • Purchase and renovation of Oakey Clinic.


Goondir’s main office building is named after Gary White as he is the backbone and glue of Goondir Health Services. His prolific leadership has garnered the respect and admiration of Goondir staff, the Aboriginal elders, organizational leaders and community members throughout South West Queensland region.

Campaign / Marketing Executive of the Year

Matthew Martin


Matthew is an experienced and dedicated Executive Manager and Head of Marketing and Communications for The Disability Trust. His strategic leadership, drive and vision have helped make The Disability Trust leaders in the disability sector. He has been working for The Disability Trust since 1997 and in that time has been instrumental in the growth and positive culture of the organisation. Since commencing with The Disability Trust turnover has increased from less than 10 million to close to 100 million today. Matthew has experience in marketing, communications, community engagement, fundraising, advocacy and strategy and has professional qualifications in Social Policy (Masters). Matthew has developed and works with an exceptional team and would like to share this award with them and the over 4000 service users and families that The Disability Trust supports daily.

Beverley Brock


Beverley is the Fundraising Manager at Dress for Success Sydney. Beverley has 18 years of fundraising experience in the sector, having held senior leadership positions and instrumental roles in many of Australia’s best loved fundraising campaigns including the Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day, the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave and CanTeen’s National Bandana Day.

Beverley is passionate about helping disadvantaged women secure employment and achieve financial independence and during her five years as Dress for Success Sydney has helped to double its income.

Beverley’s career highlights include managing Project Butterfly, a capital appeal to refurbish a Marie Curie Cancer Care Hospice to enhance the well-being and quality of life of patients and their families,  successfully raising the target of $7.7million in 12 months and more recently conceptualising Empower Hour and watching the campaign evolve from a simple idea into a global movement – transforming the lives of women in need around the world by simply asking people to donate just one hour of their pay on International Women’s Day.

Beverley has a BA (Hons) degree in Law & Women’s Studies from the University of Central Lancashire and lives in Sydney with her husband Joe and her cheeky children Florence & Jasper.

Joanna Le


Driven by a desire to contribute to progressive social change and a passion for storytelling, Joanna started her career 15 years ago with Goolarri Media Enterprises in Broome as a television and radio broadcast intern.

Since then Joanna has led purpose-driven campaigns on topics such as alcohol harm prevention and achieving gender equality, brokered six-figure partnerships to bridge the digital divide for young Canberrans and support women’s leadership, and developed creative content to promote innovative affordable housing solutions.

In her current role as Executive Director Business Development at YWCA Canberra, Joanna led an integrated communication and engagement campaign to launch Rentwell, the first charitable property management service in the ACT.

Joanna is a volunteer Mentor at the Mill House Clinic, a place for social enterprises, Indigenous-led businesses and small not-for-profits to develop and create positive social impact.

She served on the Board of YWCA Canberra from 2011-13, the Board of Youth Coalition of the ACT in 2015, and was volunteer communications lead for TEDxCanberra from 2011-2013.

Joanna holds a Masters of Strategic Communications from University of Canberra, a Bachelor of Digital Media from University of New South Wales and a Certificate in Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School.

Colin Batrouney


Colin Batrouney has been the creative force behind health promotion campaigns for Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council) for the better part of the last two decades. His work has been dedicated to advancing the health and wellbeing of LGBTI communities and people living with HIV. As an actor, director, novelist, and artist — Colin’s multifaceted creative background has seen him lead on the conception, development, design, and implementation of Thorne Harbour Health’s social marketing campaigns that have tackled a range of issues including sexual health, HIV prevention, LGBTI health, and homophobia as well as the stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV. Perhaps most notably in his portfolio is the Drama Downunder; the national campaign has been removing the stigma associated with sexual health and effectively reminding people about the importance of sexual health screening for over 10 years.

Chris Frame


Chris Frame (FAMI CPM) has been a leading marketer in the Third Sector for over a decade. Leaving the corporate sector in 2010, Chris took on a Digital development role at Bethanie Care Services. Chris was subsequently promoted to the role of General Manager: Brand & Marketing at Bethanie, and oversaw a successful brand and marketing development programme. In 2016, Chris shifted industries to take on a Senior Marketing contract at the Royal Flying Doctor, developing a brand awareness campaign to build meaningful connections between the RFDS and those living in metro areas. In mid-2017 Chris returned to Aged Care in the newly created Marketing & Brand Consultant role with Braemar. A small WA provider, Braemar has enjoyed increased awareness and improved occupancy thanks in part to a number of marketing and brand initiatives created by Chris. When not working in the Third Sector, Chris’ lifelong passion for maritime history has seen him co-author 15 books. He also writes for a variety of aviation and cruising magazines and has a popular website and YouTube channel. Chris regularly lectures aboard passenger ships and at maritime museums, and also hosts maritime history talks at Braemar as part of its enrichment programme.

Volunteer of the Year

Donald Thomas Gore


Donald Thomas Gore was born in Manilla, NSW. His is the youngest of three.  Don worked as the manager of The Granary Stockfeed Mill, during this time, he joined Lions Club and worked hard for the local community. It was during this time he met his wife, Jill. They married & moved to Lismore in 1983 and became involved in Birthright, an organisation set up to help ensure all children receive a fair start in life. Don and Jill have always been active in their local Catholic parish, volunteering in various capacities to support the local community. When they moved to the Albany Creek area in Brisbane, Jill and Don joined the local Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Around eight years after joining the St Vincent de Paul Society, Don noticed the high number of  DV survivors requesting help and he wanted to do something about it. Don’s management experience, his many years of volunteering in community programs and his passion for seeing a person realise their innate dignity, continues to see him dedicate between 50- 60 hours each week to managing and developing supports for women and children escaping Domestic Violence and families facing poverty. Amidst volunteering his time, energy and many skills, Don is most importantly, a dedicated husband, father, grandfather of ten and devoted friend.

Chris Bond


Chris is an Executive Director and Deputy Head of Market Operations Division for Macquarie Group Limited.

Chris joined Macquarie in April 1987, working in a variety of operational support positions including key leadership roles across a period of significant change and market and regulatory transformation.

Market Operations provides operational support for Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets Group, across financial and physical products and has approximately 750 staff across 17 locations globally.

Chris was promoted to Executive Director in 2010 and is co-chair of the Divisions Leadership team and is a Senior Associate of FINSIA.

In 2015 Chris joined RAISE Foundation as a volunteer youth mentor.

Seeing the impact that leadership in the form of mentoring can have on the lives of young people, Chris became a mentor for Stepping Stone House, mentoring one of the young residents at the house and becoming n advocate for greater sponsorship of assisting homeless youth.

He is passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and giving young people strong and independent guidance.

In November 2018, Chris graduated with a Diploma of Youth Work from the Australian College of Applied Psychology in Sydney.

His volunteering with RAISE Foundation including his corporate sponsorship and recruitment of mentors within Macquarie saw him recognised with the award of NSW Corporate Volunteer of the Year for 2016.

Cassandra Vujovich-Dunn


Cassandra Vujovich-Dunn is a Public Health researcher in adolescent health. She co-founded mental health charity Waves of Wellness Foundation in 2016, in response to her passion for social equality. Cassandra is a Board Director for the foundation and oversees the functioning of WOW. She is WOW’s research lead, contributes to program design and coordinates fundraising – all of which are volunteer roles. Cassandra has raised $310,000 for Waves of Wellness, which to date has directly supported over 728 people with mental ill-health access surf therapy.

In her professional role, Cassandra is a Scientia PhD scholar at the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. She holds a MPH from the University of Sydney, and MIS from the University of Queensland. She has over a decade of experience in community based social and health programs, and public health research. She has had the privilege to live and work in some of the most remote communities in Australia and Canada, working within Indigenous communities on health projects.

Peter Frazer


Peter Fraser, President of Safer Australian Roads and Highways (SARAH) Group, founded the organisation with his family in 2012 after their 23-year old daughter and sister Sarah was tragically killed in a completely avoidable road crash.

The following year they established the National Road Safety Week and Peter is now a full-time volunteer dedicated to improving road safety outcomes through policy development, community education and advocacy work.

Peter regularly undertakes road safety speaking engagements at local, state, national and global events such as the 2015 International Roads Federation/Roads Australia Conference2015 World Health  Organisation’s Second High Level Road Safety Conference in Brazil, and the 2017 launch of UN Global Road Safety Week (Western Pacific) at the Sydney Opera House. He is a National Ambassador for Road Safety Education’s  RYDA Programme.

At an international level, Peter is the Oceania member on the Advisory Board for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) and a board member of the International Road Victims’ Partnership. He was Chair of the inaugural International Road Victims Conference in 2018.

Peter was a finalist in News Limited’s 2012 Pride of Australia Award – Courage Category. In 2013, he was named Blue Mountains Citizen of the Year, while in 2014 he received the University of Western Sydney’s Award for ‘Community Service and Leadership’.

Peter is also a presenter for the Traffic Offenders Intervention Programme and a volunteer firefighter with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

Keeley Johnson


Hi, my name is Keeley Johnson I am 15yrs of age and have Autism and an Intellectual Disability.

In June 2017 when I was 13 yrs of age I created an Organisation Keeleys Cause to assist children with diagnoses similar to mine to receive iPads for full time learning in schools, effectively communicating and interacting with peers. Because children with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities have trouble learning the current conventional teaching methods we are getting lost, failing in education or being pushed through the educational system as we have learning Disabilities. This happened to me, and through isolation of being homeschooled and developing depression I felt something had to change. So I created a Cause to combat that problem for struggling families and allow children with special needs to receive tailored education plans on iPads.

iPads is how we learn, it’s how we interact and communicate, but there’s no current Government Funding or NDIS assistance at present for children with Autism or Intellectual Disabilities to receive iPads and many schools simply don’t have enough or unable to assist us with these full time and many special needs parents simply cannot afford them.

You see we have dreams too, dreams of becoming someone, dreams of becoming employed but at present these achievements are becoming unachievable for people with Disabilities such as mine. Despite our Disabilities we have many abilities some of them require technology.

I have to date over 18months raised just over $50,000 through Sausage Sizzles, fundraising, Donations, iPad Sponsors and merchandise sales. I have presented 77 iPads so far with another 13 on their way to Qld in the next month, altering the outcomes for children and their families.

Keeleys Cause became a National Charity in January this year and I’m so very grateful to be able to assist others like myself to flourish and fulfil dreams.

Shirley Chesterman


A volunteer of 20 years with Guide Dogs Victoria, Shirley’s impact in the community has been as far-reaching as it has enduring. Shirley’s enormous contribution encompasses many areas of the organisation, and has enabled hundreds of people with low vision or blindness to achieve freedom and independence. Shirley is one of Guide Dogs Victoria’s most successful-ever Puppy Raisers. As a Puppy Raiser, Shirley has selflessly opened her home and heart to nurturing and training Guide Dog puppies from the age of eight weeks until 14-16 months. Shirley has embarked on this sometimes challenging, but always rewarding process an incredible 13 times. Shirley has successfully raised eight Qualified Guide Dogs, who have gone on to change the lives of people with low vision or blindness. Shirley’s impact extends not just throughout Victoria but overseas, with several of her graduating Guide Dogs matched with Clients in Japan. Another of Shirley’s success stories is ‘Fletcher’, who has an important job as a Companion Dog, providing ongoing friendship, support, happiness and a sense of calm to a person with a physical or intellectual disability. As well as raising and caring for Guide Dog puppies, Shirley is actively involved with Clients, donors and also in creating awareness of the important work of Guide Dogs Victoria in the wider community.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year

Jeremy Meltzer


One of Australia’s leading social entrepreneurs, Jeremy Meltzer is Founder of i=Change, Australia’s fastest-growing social enterprise tech startup.

i=Change is turning e-commerce into a force for good, by making it simple and powerful for online retailers to give back to women and girls’ empowerment projects with every sale.

As 93% millennials want to shop brands that give back, i=Change uniquely bridges the gap between retailers and customers who are increasingly seeking brands that reflect their values – and shopping accordingly.
Now in partnership with over 100 retailers, including iconic brands like Pandora, Camilla, and Clarins, i=Change has raised $1.29m and counting, impacting over 295,000 women and girls in Australia and 14 other countries.

i=Change is increasing customer engagement, conversions and loyalty, and with ‘impact insights’ and data, proving how giving back can be a powerful part of a brand’s identity and their marketing mix. i=Change was recently featured in VOGUE and on Sky News.

Change has won:
• Australia Post ORIA for Best Bootstrapped Growth Initiative
• Fintech Australia’s Pitch Night
• The Australian Technology Award
• Optus Innovator of the Year (Finalist)
• Voted one of 50 most innovative start-ups in Australia

Karn Ghosh


Karn founded the business (formerly Hit 100) in 2014, based on the fundamental belief that better health belongs to everyone. Kinela takes an outcomes-based approach to health and wellbeing (allied health services and programs, nutritious home-delivered meals and community support) to empower people to live happier, healthier and more independent lives.

Since it’s inception, the impact Kinela has had made has as been considerable. The team has delivered more than 400,000 meals, supporting over 2,000 people in five states and territories across Australia. Additionally, Kinela’s dietitians have delivered over 4,000 hours of service. As a registered provider in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the business has unlocked over $1.1 million in savings on food costs to customers. Kinela is a Certified B Corporation and pledges 1% of employee time, company product and equity to charity.  So far, more than 15,600 meals have been donated through partnerships with Oz Harvest and Food Bank.

Karn is a 2018 Westpac Social Change Fellow and was awarded the Dean’s Scholar Medal from the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney in 2009.

Karn has led Kinela from idea through to launch to the recent re-brand – building the product, operations, and the team.

Weh Yeoh


Weh Yeoh was born in Sydney and lived, volunteered and worked in Cambodia for over five years. He is a professionally trained physiotherapist who has also completed a Masters in Development Studies. He has a diverse background, having travelled through remote parts of Asia, volunteered with people with disabilities in Vietnam, interned in India, and studied Mandarin in Beijing.

He founded OIC Cambodia after meeting Ling, a boy who slurs his speech. With basic speech therapy, Ling is going to school for the first time, coming second in his class.

Currently, there is not one local speech therapist in Cambodia, despite an estimated over 600,000 people needing speech therapy.

Since starting OIC Cambodia in 2012, he handed off leadership to a local team after four years. He is the chair of OIC Australia, a non profit organisation supporting OIC Cambodia. He is also the chair and co-founder of Happy Kids Clinic, a social enterprise in Cambodia which supports OIC Cambodia and donates 100 percent of profits.

He is now co-founding Umbo, a social enterprise bridging the gap for rural children to access allied health services. In 18 months, Umbo has already helped over 70 children access speech and occupational therapy.

Toby Dawson


Toby Dawson is passionate about social change. He believes we all have the opportunity to improve the communities in which we live and work.

As IRT Foundation Manager, Toby Dawson’s leadership drives a holistic program of works to support vulnerable older Australians participate in programs, services and communities from which they would otherwise be excluded. These programs include IRT Foundation’s Homelessness, Service Linkage and Mature Workforce initiatives. Toby piloted the innovative Booraja Aboriginal Home Care program delivering culturally sensitive care to older Aboriginal Australians; delivered the Illawarra’s first Homeless Street Count in conjunction with programs to combat homelessness; and has partnered with the Australian Human Rights Commission to stage a number of Career Check Up Expos for Mature Workers across the country. All IRT Foundation programs are measured against IRT Group’s social impact strategy, which Toby has developed and led.

A former Illawarra Business Chamber Young Business Executive of the Year, Toby sits on CareSouth, WEA Illawarra and Vikings Rugby Club boards.

Toby is a recognised social impact leader whose work nurtures vibrant, inclusive and effective communities.

Darren Mort


Darren graduated in Law/Science at Melbourne University and was later admitted to practice law in 1986 after concluding his Articles of Clerkship in Melbourne. He then worked as a Judge’s Associate for 2 years, including work on the Sentencing Manual with Senior Judges.

In 1990, he was admitted to the Victorian Bar and was mentored by Judge Mason. Darren has specialized in areas of Family Law/De Facto Law and Family Violence. He has involved himself in training advocates and served on the Reader’s List committee and is a Mentor to Melbourne University Law Students.

He has also fulfilled the role of Secretary of the Family law Bar Association and was a member of the Chief Magistrates’ Taskforce Committee reporting to the Royal Commission on Family Violence.

Darren has also served as Chairperson on his List of Barristers and has trained several Mentees. This year he was a finalist in the category of Barrister of the Year for the Australian Law Awards.

Darren is also a professional actor/producer. His recent short film on Family

Violence “Degree of Separation” won 7 international film awards, including Best Foreign Film in Hollywood and several Outstanding Excellence Awards.

Darren is a Director of a charitable foundation, “To Be Loved Network”, which produces resources advancing the best interests of children navigating conflict in parental separation and divorce.

Young Leader of the Year

Riley Saban


Riley Saban is a Year 10 student at Woolgoolga High School. In his short life he has:

  • Been a technology researcher for Psykinetic – a Social Business that creates inclusive and empowering technologies for people with disability.
  • Starred in a documentary in 2016, called Becoming Superhuman, on the ABC’s Catalyst program.Dr Jordan Nguyen, a biomedical engineer who founded Psykinetic, used cutting-edge technology to create a buggy Riley could drive himself.
  • Run regular free Assistive Technology Workshops to pass on his knowledge about eye gaze and switch options to people with disabilities.
  • Co-founded Polyspine – which is a modular, wearable support system that allows people with disabilities to take part in various activities like swimming, and
  • Participated in a four-month disability technology start-up program called Remarkable, alongside his dad Clint for Polyspine.

Technology, and a very strong will, allows Riley to achieve his goals. He loves the idea of creating technology and giving people like him the tools to be who they want to be.

His plan is to become an Entrepreneur when he finishes high school. His destiny is to lead people with disabilities to an inclusive society, so they can achieve all their dreams and goals successfully.

Dhanush Girish


An experienced finance professional, Dhanush Girish is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of The Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s largest youth-run international development organisation striving for a more just world. Additionally, Dhanush is the Treasurer and Non-Executive Director of Cire Services and a Non-Executive Director of Global Voices.

Prior to Oaktree, Dhanush worked as a tax consultant at Ernst and Young while also completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Melbourne University. Dhanush holds an Executive Education Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Dhanush strongly believes that all young people should have the opportunity to learn, grow and dream regardless of where they were born, which drives his work in the impact sector.

Emily Ireland


Emily Ireland is an inspirational young woman who displays great determination to succeed and thrive in everything she completes. Emily is an outstanding leader in many different community roles, leading by example and making a positive impact. Whether she is in her role as PCYC Youth Liaison and Delegate, PCYC Youth Leadership Team Secretary, Leo Club President or on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition, Emily is a driven, passionate and talented leader.

Emily has participated in several community projects and programs including pioneering her own. She has travelled internationally to Thailand and the Philippines, volunteering in wildlife conservation, teaching English and sustainable construction programs. Locally, Emily represented Australia as a medal bearer in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and runner in the Queen’s Baton Relay. She also was a Commonwealth Games School Connect Program Ambassador and Liaison Officer as well as Young Leaders Embracing 2018 Committee member. Recently, Emily travelled to Airlie Beach with the PCYC Youth Leadership Team for one week, volunteering recycling marine debris to aid in maintaining healthy waterways.

Emily has been recognised on many platforms for her successful leadership roles including as a Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award recipient, Gold Coast Women in Business Rising Star, Young Woman of the Year, recipient of the RSL Youth Development Program and Premiers ANZAC Prize.

Emily is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science/ Criminology and Criminal Justice, working towards a career in mental health. She has faced many challenges and continues to encounter barriers, always overcoming them. Emily will continue to lead her community and peers, making a positive impact wherever she goes.

Jacob Matthew


After completing his VCE in 2016, Jacob enrolled at Box Hill Institute to study for the Advanced Diploma in Building Design, which he had wanted to study since primary school. Whilst studying in 2017, Jacob started volunteering at the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre, mentoring teenagers to build up their confidence and skills to go out into the community. He also began his term on the Maroondah Disability Advisory Committee.

In 2018 Jacob joined Scope’s Communication Access team, assessing businesses and services in the community, and at around the same time the head of Building Design at Box Hill Institute also suggested that he look into studying Access Consultancy at the Access Institute. It was through these new avenues of work and study that Jacob discovered his passion for promoting the rights of people with a disability so that they could participate in community life as respected individuals.

Through his work with Scope, Jacob has hosted 3 major events and presented a lecture at Melbourne Uni. This work ignited his passion for communication access and it is this area that he now focuses his time.

In addition to his work and volunteering roles, Jacob is the ambassador for the Chrisalis foundation, has a black belt in Freeform martial arts, and is training for his 1st degree black belt.

Rooan Al Kalmashi


Rooan Alkalmashi is a 19-year old young woman who is very deeply involved in advocating for the voices of young people, especially for the needs and challenges of those with a refugee background. Rooan came to Australia with her family as a refugee from Iraq in 2008. Ms Alkalmashi is the leader of the Youth Collective Steering Committee and is co-founder and artivist at ArtCrew, a youth refugee mentorship program which works to harness, magnify, and empower the voice of young people as the future generation of change-makers through creative expression in the form of public artivism (a marriage between art and activism). She contributed a chapter  titled “Coming Out Palestinian”, in the book called “Arab, Australian, other”; a collection of stories on culture and identity. Rooan has advocated at number of local national and international as youth leader at Fecca, Cultural Shift Symposium, Global Refugee Youth Consultation, and many more.  She is cultural studying law and international relations at UTS. She recently traveled to New York to participate in the UN Global conference for the Committee on Status of Women.

Emerging Leader of the Year

Kaz McGrath


Kaz is the Global Marketing Manager at Act for Peace – an Australia-based international aid organisation supporting communities threatened by conflict and disaster – and Co-Founder of the award-winning Ration Challenge, a campaign infused with brand new ways of raising funds and awareness specifically focused on the global refugee crisis. At its core, the Ration Challenge puts empathy into action and aims to use a simple proposition to ignite longer-term commitment of the public and greater understanding. After great success in Australia, the Ration Challenge has now launched in NZ, the USA, and the UK, raising more than $15 million for refugee programs and inspiring more than 80,000 people to take part. 

Kaz was named the Australian Financial Review‘s 100 Women of Influence in 2018, was the recipient of the Carolina Nyberg-Steiser Award, has won 7 Australian Fundraising Excellence Awards, was a finalist in the Global Impact Award for Social Change, and has committed her next 20 years to continuing to ask traditional organisations to update their way of doing things so that we can finally transform the largest challenges of our time. 

Karn Ghosh


Karn Ghosh is the Co-Founder and CEO of Kinela, an emergent Australian social enterprise delivering healthcare to people living with disability and older Australians. 

Karn founded the business (formerly Hit 100) in 2014, based on the fundamental belief that better health belongs to everyone. Kinela takes an outcomes-based approach to health and wellbeing (allied health services and programs, nutritious home-delivered meals and community support) to empower people to live happier, healthier and more independent lives. 

Since it’s inception, the impact Kinela has had made has as been considerable. The team has delivered more than 400,000 meals, supporting over 2,000 people in five states and territories across Australia. Additionally, Kinela’s dietitians have delivered over 4,000 hours of service. As a registered provider in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the business has unlocked over $1.1 million in savings on food costs to customers. Kinela is a Certified B Corporation and pledges 1% of employee time, company product and equity to charity.  So far, more than 15,600 meals have been donated through partnerships with Oz Harvest and Food Bank. 

Karn is a 2018 Westpac Social Change Fellow and was awarded the Dean’s Scholar Medal from the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney in 2009. 

Karn has led Kinela from idea through to launch to the recent re-brand – building the product, operations, and the team. 

Sarah Patterson


Sarah is an inspiring young leader who has worked in the community services sector for the past 10 years. Sarah started in 2009 as a Support Worker in Aged Care and Disability Services, before finishing University and becoming an Advocate for older people in 2011. Sarah worked her way up, becoming a Project Officer, Senior Manager and eventually the CEO of the Midland Community legal Centre – Midlas. Sarah has a Master’s in Business Leadership and has developed a number of projects and programs that are still benefitting the WA community, including the WA Elder Abuse Helpline, 2014 National Elder Abuse Conference, Midland Family Law Service, Midland Disability Discrimination Law Program, and a successful Christmas Appeal that saw over 200 families enjoy a warm Christmas dinner and presents under the tree. Sarah works tirelessly with her team and the local community to ensure that there is no wrong door for people in need, and that community services are rooted in community. This has resulted in a significant growth in the number of people we are able to support, and the rapid expansion of Midlas.  

Kate Fazio


Kate is a committed leader driving transformational change in the legal assistance sector. As a lawyer, technologist and journalist with a Master’s in Social Impact, Kate brings a uniquely intersectional lens to her work to improve access to justice in Australia.

Through her role as Head of Innovation and Engagement at the charity Justice Connect, Kate has led a series of high impact initiatives. Kate designed and implemented Justice Connect’s acclaimed Not-for-profit Law Information Hub (, which has assisted over one million users to understand the NFP regulatory setting since 2014.

More recently, Kate designed and implemented the Justice Connect Gateway Project (, digitally transforming Justice Connect’s services end-to-end. The Gateway Project has significantly improved the experience of applying for help at Justice Connect, access to self-help resources, and increased the volume of pro bono referrals made to Justice Connect’s 10,000 pro bono lawyers. The Gateway was recently awarded a prestigious Gold Good Design Award.

Kate is globally recognised as a thought leader in legal service transformation, regularly speaking at international conferences.

Kate has also played a pivotal leadership role at several charities through voluntary directorships, including overseeing the merger of nine YWCAs while Vice President of YWCA Australia.

Aiden Thomas


Aiden Thomas is the Program Manager for UPA Youth Care Services. His work with Indigenous youth earned him the Kids in Community award for Mentoring at risk youth. Aiden has worked in the Community Services Field for 20 years, in many varied roles including being a Foster Carer himself for 5 years. Aiden has been in his current role of Program Manager for just over 2 years, and in that time he has implemented many innovative new strategies that have led to multiple restorations, adoptions and guardianships; a highly effective clinical team and psychologist; a Leaving Care Planner which has become a new standard document throughout the industry; high degree of carer recognition and more. Aiden is also completing an MBA to further his management skills.

Aiden is impassioned about working with the most vulnerable (and valuable) members of our Community ‘the children’. Through a Person Centred, Trauma informed & Attachment rich model of care, support Children & Young People in reaching their full potential. When Aiden is not out saving the world he is spending time with his wife and 5 boys.

Small Charity of the Year (10 people or less)


First Nations Foundation is Australia’s only Indigenous financial literacy charity, and is led by an Indigenous board of directors. Its objective is to provide the education and tools to help lift Indigenous communities and individuals out of poverty and enable them to be able to harness the benefits of economic participation. 

It undertakes financial literacy training and run an annual set of superannuation outreach events, called The Big Day Out. First Nations Foundation partners with the ATO, Department of Human Services, ASIC and local Indigenous community organisations, including financial counsellors, who work with people on the ground every day and takes these groups out onto the road to meet and assist remote Indigenous Australians. It also brings superannuation funds along, with 15 taking part in 2019. 

First Nations Foundation receives no government funding and continues its operations through partnerships with the financial services industry. Its CEO and chair are regular commentators on Indigenous issues across the Australian media. 

It is currently developing a world-first online financial literacy education tool which will launch this year, and is engaged with Government around creating a long-term plan for Indigenous economic inclusion. 


The Funding Network (TFN) is the largest live collective giving model in Australia. We enable grassroots non-profits and social enterprises to access the capital, skills, connections and resources they need to thrive. We do this two ways: via TFN Live, our public in-person crowdfunding events; and TFN Learn, our capacity building services and workshops where we share our methodology with like-minded organisations. Since 2013, TFN has brought together 10,000 people to collectively raise $11 million for 280 grassroots non-profits and social enterprises, guiding them on how to craft a compelling pitch to inspire new audiences. We have also facilitated over 2,200 direct introductions between non-profit leaders and donors who want to help and offer in-kind support, with the total value of in-kind support facilitated valued at $3.3 million. TFN’s model is innovative, collaborative and inclusive.


Founded in 2000, Bowel Cancer Australia is a 100% community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and the best care for everyone affected by the nation’s second deadliest cancer. They have become the leading bowel cancer charity through initiatives such as Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, BowelScreen (an Australian and New Zealand pharmacy-based screening program) and the Big Bowel Tour.

Bowel Cancer Australia provides an unrivalled suite of patient information, publications and resources – including the highest-ranking bowel cancer website in the country, an active online community of over 123,000 followers and the world’s first bowel cancer app. They offer the only Bowel Care Nurse Helpline, comprised of a specialised team of nurses, and a highly popular Peer-to-Peer Support Network, referred to by patients as a ‘lifeline’. Additionally, they established the $10.4m Lawrence Penn Chair in Bowel Cancer Research with the support of the University of Sydney.

Bowel Cancer Australia is now embarking on making real change happen through the launch of a patient-led platform designed to engage bowel cancer patients in actively participating in decision-making about their care, based on what matters most to them, which allows their medical team to respond and tailor treatment accordingly.


Emerge Australia is the leading Australian support and advisory service offering hope and help to all people affected by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  

ME/CFS affects women, men and children of all ages, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Between 94,000 and 242,000 Australians are estimated to be affected by ME/CFS at any one time. Around 25% of sufferers are so profoundly affected they are bedbound. Symptoms are not limited to severe fatigue – they include a range of sleep, digestion, sensitivity, balance, brain dysfunction and pain issues. 

ME/CFS is not widely understood or supported. Until a cure is found, Emerge Australia is dedicated to helping people affected by ME/CFS to lead better lives. Our work includes:  

  • An “info line” service – including a qualified counsellor Plus we are introducing a Telehealth Nurse. 
  • Fortnightly online updates about global research and practice, and a news service for members and supporters on activities in Australia. 
  • Developing a “healthcare pathway” program for patients and clinicians.  
  • Collaborating with research institutions including convening a 3 day ME/CFS International Research Symposium. 
  • A national health and wellbeing survey to evidence ME/CFS patient welfare. 
  • Patient Advisory Group for patient representation. 
  • Engaging volunteers and working closely to support community advocacy groups.

The OCRF was established in early 2000 in recognition of the evident ovarian cancer research funding gap.  The OCRF raises vital research funds to improve the future for all women – and to enable the understanding and treatment of ovarian cancer to keep pace with better funded cancer research.   Unlike other ovarian cancer charities, we focus solely on what will make the greatest difference to the greatest number of women – focusing on immediate impact as well as future eradication.   

 While the OCRF has significant community reach and remains the major funding body dedicated to ovarian cancer research, we are staffed by a very small team of six (FTE 5.4).  By having a small and cross-skilled team, we continue to ensure that organisational and administrative costs remain low so that the funds we raise go where they are most needed.  Most importantly, the OCRF has developed strong and successful partnerships across the sector.  Some of the relationship building has allowed the leveraging of $500,000 additional funding to go towards ovarian cancer research and the provision of over $10 million dollars of pro-bono support. 

Small Charity of the Year (10 people or less)


HoMie is a streetwear clothing social enterprise that uses 100% of its profits to provide brand-new clothing, training and job opportunities to young people affected by homelessness or hardship. 

Through our two social impact programs, the HoMie VIP Shopping Days and the HoMie Pathway Alliance, HoMie supports young people affected by homelessness or hardship to equip them with skills, confidence and experiences to be more work ready and better prepared for their future. 

 To date, HoMie has hosted 49 VIP Days for a total of 997 people. During this time, 4489 pieces of brand-new clothing were shopped for free, 238 beauty services (e.g. haircuts, manicures, etc.) and 719 Pinchapoo hygiene packs were provided freeofcharge. 

Since our first Pathway pilot in 2017, HoMie has graduated 12 young people affected by homelessness or hardship.  

  • 92% of who found employment within three months of finishing their internship. 
  • 92% remain employed or enrolled in further education as of June 2019 
  • 70% of the young people who were living in government funded assisted living before the HoMie Pathway Alliance, have now successfully transitioned into private accommodation. 


HoMie’s 2019 Pathway Alliance currently employs 9 young people across the HoMie street store, Cotton On and HANES.  


Better Renting is building a community of renters working together for stable, affordable, and liveable homes. With more Australians locked out of homeownership, more of us are renting, and renting for longer. But renters are denied the rights and protections of homeowners. Renting can be a genuine alternative to home-ownership — Better Renting exists to make it happen. 


Ocean Mind’s therapeutic surf programs harness surfing as a tool to address youth issues such as mental health challenges, social isolation and disability. The Ocean Mind’s program is community-based, recovery oriented and acts to complement clinical and acute care. The interventions involve young people aged 8-18 participating in six-week programs delivered by professional youth workers, surf instructors and a 1:1 trained local mentor, with the potential to then transfer to the Ocean Mind surf club, continuing their mentoring relationship and surfing. 

There is a strong evidence-based foundation that these programs are built on, which display the overwhelming therapeutic benefits of the ocean, a 1:1 mentor and the development of surfing skills. Some of the specific benefits that these programs are nurturing confidence, increased optimism, self-efficacy, and a strong sense of comfort and community.  

 Since piloting a UK based surf therapy model in 2016, Ocean Mind has provided 11 six week programs over 3 summer season resulting in a total of 101 young people completing the six-week program. 


The Harding Miller Education Foundation Scholarship Program provides the tools and support to lift the educational achievements and career aspirations of high potential girls who are facing disadvantage. 

Since 2016, the HMEF has supported over 350 girls from more than 130 public schools within Australia. These scholarships are for girls studying between Y9-Y12.  The HMEF offers the most generous scholarship to public high school students in Australia, but we don’t write cheques and hope for the best. We work with the girls and their families over four years with a multi-layered support system ensuring they make the most of the scholarship. We provide a personal infrastructure enabling them to navigate their own pathway towards tertiary education, a fulfilling career and a purposeful future. 

 Each scholarship is valued at $20,000 over four years and provides critical resources and support to enable our scholars to excel and reach their potential. We support the public-school system and the communities they are in by supporting high potential girls to excel while they stay at their public school, stay with their families and stay in their communities. We support girls in public education because we know that this investment returns more to their families, our community and Australian society. 

Small Charity of the Year (10 people or less)