July 1, 2016
The Red Earth Community Foundation South Burnett has set itself a target of raising $1 million to help future-proof the South Burnett.
This figure was announced by Board chair Georgie Somerset at a dinner and discussion evening held at Cassis restaurant on the Booie Range on Wednesday.
The history of the Foundation dates back to at least 2011 and an idea by Wooroolin resident Karen Seiler.
It was then further developed by members of the Barambah branch of the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network, especially Durong grazier Georgie Somerset.
Since then, the legal framework has been established for the Foundation to act as a vehicle for philanthropy, or as Red Earth describes it … a way to share “time, talent and treasure”.
The Foundation has been involved in two main projects since it was established: the 2013 Mayor’s Red Earth South Burnett Flood Appeal and the South Burnett Community Leadership Program, a five-day course which has been run at the Bunya Mountains for the past three years to help nurture future community leaders.
Almost 70 people have now completed the course, which aims to help participants gain insights into leadership styles and personality types as well as building personal and business networks.
Three alumni from the South Burnett Community Leadership Program spoke at Wednesday’s dinner: Matthew Kenny (2014), Helen Roth (2015) and Jules Entwistle (2016).
Compere John Carey quizzed each of them about their reasons for doing the course, what it entailed and how they had benefited.
Red Earth chair Georgie Somerset, South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell and BIEDO finance officer Kristy Frahm then stepped up to the microphone to discuss philanthropy and their dreams of what could be achieved in the South Burnett.
“One million dollars is our aim,” Mrs Somerset said. “Our big audacious goal”.
She said with this money invested as a corpus fund, Red Earth would be able to establish scholarships for the arts and sports etc, as well as running programs for entrepreneurs.
Karen Seiler, the woman whose ideas sparked the formation of the Foundation, was then asked about her vision: “Five hundred years time, that’s where I want to look,” she said.
“I want to know the community in four or five generations time will be sustainable, will be a place where people want to come.”