Women leaders from all walks of life gathered together to salute The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore at Sydney Women’s Fund’s annual Saluting Sydney Women 2019.
Each year the occasion pays tribute to a great Sydney woman who has been a trailblazer and national role model contributing to social justice in Australia and the advancement of women’s lives.
CEO of Sydney Community Foundation, Jane Jose, spoke about the Foundation’s focus on giving with a gender lens to support a growing number of women and girls in Sydney who are amongst the most disadvantaged in a prosperous economy, reporting on the impact of the Sydney Women’s Fund’s work to date.
Here below is CEO speech in full:
“Lord Mayor, thank you for those moving words.
On behalf of all the women in the room, thank you for all you have done to transform the inner city for all of us and for your moral stand on so many Australian social issues needing a voice of courage and commonsense.
As we look into the future, the climate emergency that you have purposefully addressed through community action and civic leadership seems even more threatening. You have been a leader amongst politicians providing steady and constant leadership on this issue.
Today we are celebrating a truly rare woman in Australian politics who has contested and won 13 elections and the longest serving Lord Mayor of Sydney since 1842.
When I wrote Places Women Make in 2014, I described The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore as a courageous reformer. In a rare interview given generously to me, she told me: “I didn’t plan to run as Lord Mayor – it was a call from the public."
At the time, she was already serving community as member for Sydney in the NSW Parliament. Clover is a woman who role models the virtue of service to community – what was once called contributing to the common wealth. Leading Sydney architect Rachel Neeson who had to send apologies today says she calls Clover Moore “Sydney’s Guardian Angel”.
I thank you sincerely for the battles you have fought for all of us as a guardian of the city and for the leadership needed to shape the kind of Sydney we all want – Green, Global, Caring and Just.
Today I want to share with you some of the achievements and plans for Sydney Women’s Fund. We are celebrating what women can do together!
Welcome to the tribe if this is your first Saluting Sydney Women.
By stopping to reflect on the achievements of women like Justice Elizabeth Evatt, Ita Buttrose, Wendy McCarthy, Carla Zampatti and The Lord Mayor Clover Moore I hope it inspires younger women to stay the challenging course of accepting leadership and community service, and to reflect on the vital importance of strong community.
Building strong community is the purpose of Sydney Community Foundation, Sydney Women’s Fund, and our DGR1 charity that works to give opportunity to the most vulnerable in our community , Be Kind Sydney.
In the past five years the Sydney Women’s Fund has grown the footprint of its work through inspired and generous philanthropy leadership from women like Deanne Weir who over five years has given $500,000 to Sydney Women’s Fund programs. Also, Wendy McCarthy AO, Rosalind Strong AO and Georgina Byron, who give multi-year funding to programs and who enable the research and risk- taking advocacy and programs that truly change women’s lives.
In community the more we do, the more there is to do.
In the past year, thousands of people have benefited, gaining skills and confidence from programs delivered by Sydney grassroots change- making partners with funds from donors having direct impact on people in our city. We have the ear of government on issues like prison reform for women, and alternatives to school to keep girls in education.
In the past 4 years we’ve taken $4. 6 million to women, the most vulnerable people in Sydney.
Measuring wellbeing and building confidence is key to the programs we fund – so people gain capacity.
We work with local changemakers to shape and fund local Place Based Philanthropy programs relevant to community need, doing our bit to close the opportunity divide for women here in Sydney.
It all began with our partnership with community changemaker Pat Hall who is here today with some of her team from Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections. We began funding ‘Strive’, a program to keep girls from being trafficked into prostitution in Warwick Farm – to keep them off the street and at school. For five years we’ve continued to fund after school programs and programs that have grown a network of social enterprises giving employment to local women.
We’ve kept funds flowing and they have kept expanding the programs deepening their footprint in the community
In Pat’s words:
“So many women and their children have benefited, together we have and are changing a community to one that does not rely on welfare but relies on themselves to change their lives.”
Again, this past financial year $110,000 has gone to keep programs going for women in training and onto skilled employment in the Liverpool community.
“From 40 hours four years ago, now more than 5,000 hours work for people is provided in social enterprises with a wage bill of $150,000 going to local families."
Last year we funded $100,000 to Cana Communities who give love, work, meaning and belonging to many of our cities most forgotten people – significant grants like this can really make a difference.
As I talk with people who are in a position to give they ask: What will the money I give you be used for? Why give to women and girls?
For those who like evidence and not stories: My answer to the question – why give with a gender lens – is that strong women are the bedrock of strong communities. Our research tells us there are too many Sydney women who are vulnerable. Sydney Women’s Fund’s recent Portrait III by Dr Rebecca Huntley and Essential Research, has sounded a warning that is a challenge to Sydney.
This important baseline survey gives us the vital signs of adult women in the Greater Sydney Community across all suburbs aged 18 – 75.
82% of women are finding it harder to live comfortable lives in Sydney than 10 years ago. We need to change that.
Too many daughters of Sydney are financially vulnerable – half say they are struggling, large numbers face housing stress, women fear working into their 70’s, and women over 50 are the fastest growing group of homeless. With half the women working in our city earning $34,000 a growing number live with financial vulnerability.
The Portrait III research is a deep look at the hopes fears and dreams of Sydney women – a reading of the vital signs of their lives….and calls for a strong response.
In response to this research, we are focusing funding on programs to assist women gain financial independence, purpose, friendship and belonging through work.
Research tells us that giving with a gender lens doesn’t just help one woman but builds family and community strength.
In your gift bag is our catalogue of programs for funding – Inspiring Your Giving 2019.
Since February- $455,000 of our target of $1.2 Million has been raised to support our programs.
Before my final remarks, I want to sincerely thank my chairs, Michael Lynch and Georgina Byron and directors, council members and staff. We all draw constant support and inspired energy from our two fabulous Women’s Fund patrons Wendy McCarthy AO and Lucy Brogden AM. For all the women and families, we reach, I can’t say thank you loudly enough from them.
Sydney is a pretty special place but imagine what it could be if through all our efforts every day we can make it a better and more just city for women.
I’ll leave you with the words of the feminist writer Jeanette Winterson:
“There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value “
For the youngest women in the room, follow the role models in the room – take risks – that’s how change happens. It’ s good to care about issues but caring is not enough – if we want Sydney to be the wonderful world in the song What a Wonderful World, we have to act to make that wonderful world a reality.
Thank you to each of our table sponsors and the members of the Sydney Women’s Fund Advisory Council who have brought friends and colleagues to grow the circle of donors to Sydney Women’s Fund.
Thank you all for being here today and for contributing to Sydney Women’s Fund as a member of the city’s best giving circle.
In particular, I‘d like to thank Westpac for your generous support to Sydney Women’s fund over several years and for again being our Event Partner this year.
I warmly thank some great Westpac women – Westpac Executives Di Challenor, Cathy Yuncken, Felicity Duffy and Kate Aiken.
For over 200 years Westpac has been supporting women in Australia from starting a business to buying a home, navigating a divorce, to managing the loss of a loved one – and they continue to be there in moments that matter in women’s lives.
They have led the way for women in the workforce – hiring Australia’s first female Bank Manager and first female CEO of a major bank and by achieving 50 % of women in their leadership ranks.
Westpac is an ideal partner for Sydney Women’s Fund as they have supported women in business – Mary Reiby a woman began the bank in the colony of NSW and was the banks first landlord in 1817!
They continue to support female changemakers through ensuring 50% of the Westpac scholars are women and through Westpac Ruby Connection, they continue to inspire, educate and connect a tribe of like-minded women to be more financially confident.
I’d also like to welcome and sincerely thank Christie Milgate CEO Dermalogica and her colleague Jane York. Dermalogica is Sydney Women’s Fund’s Major Sponsor. With its caring products for women and its focus on flexible work and financial independence for women in its workforce, Dermalogica has played a huge part in supporting Sydney Women’s Fund. So far $200,000 has been given of a $300,000 pledge.
A huge thank you from me to all our generous Table Sponsors
Maria O’Brien, Baker McKenzie
Sophie McCarthy, McCarthy Mentoring
Alice LeMessurier – Seer Asset Management
Felicity Duffy, Westpac
Niki Kesoglou, QBE
Rosalie Wilkie, PWC
Kay Stuart, Royal Bank of Canada
Elizabeth McIntyre, Think Brick
We need more corporate partners and partnerships can work in many ways. If you’d like to discuss a multi-year commitment to give us uplift with our work PLEASE contact me or Diana Fraser, Major Gift Manager.
Without corporate and major philanthropic partnerships there would be no Sydney Women’s Fund seeking to build a better world for Sydney women and stronger communities that benefit all of us.