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20092009-2010 Annual Report We hold as our vision:

Truly sustainable, equitable and creative societies, inspired by critical thinking, collective action and considerate living. We see as our mission:

The provision of practical tools and services so that every Australian social innovator and non-profit idea has a chance to emerge and flourish. Office: 23a Bridge St Brooklyn, NSW, 2083; Ph: 02 9985 8243;

Email: Twitter: ( Facebook:

Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

CONTENTS Overview.......................................................................................... 2 Brief History ................................................................................... 3 Executive Director’s Report .......................................................... 6 Treasurer’s Report ......................................................................... 9 What we have been doing ........................................................... 10 StartGoodStuff: An online incubator for social innovation ........ 10 Tools4Good: Online resources for Australian social innovation . 11 uThinc: A professional speakers’ bureau 4 young social innovators .................................................................................... 12 Research into Social Innovation in Australia ............................. 13 Networking the Australian Social Innovation Sector ................ 14 Providing Pro-bono Consulting for Small NFP Ideas and Projects ...................................................................................................... 15 Our Wonderful Team ................................................................... 17 Our Board ...................................................................................... 18 Our Support .................................................................................. 19 Auditors ....................................................................................... 19 Key supporters............................................................................. 19 Donors .......................................................................................... 19 Foundational Donors ................................................................... 19 1

Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Overview Project Australia is a national incubator for early-scale social innovation. We help launch and support creative individuals and not-for-profit ideas that utilise existing resources to address Australian needs. We are a progressive social enterprise, not linked to any political party or religious group. What this means is that any profits we make go back into the services we deliver (traditionally called a not-for-profit organisation) and we are free from political or religious influence in the work we undertake. We have grown thanks to unconditional donations, fundraising events1, merchandise sales2, revenue from our speakers’ bureau and the hard work of over 200 volunteers. At the writing of this report, our team included two oneday per week staff, twenty-five volunteers and five board members. We operate out of Sydney, but our team is dispersed around Australia and overseas. Although not all launched, our initiatives include: • •

An online incubator for social innovation An online toolbox for Australian social innovation

And, to ensure our financial sustainability: •

A professional speakers’ bureau for young social innovators

We have also continued a number of support services, including: • • •

Research into social innovation in Australia Networking the Australian social innovation sector ProPro-bono consulting for small notnot-forfor-profit ideas and organisations

Our work cuts across twelve theme areas: environment and sustainability, health and wellbeing, media and social enquiry, technology and society, youth issues and empowerment, employment and opportunity, culture and creativity, community and social services, democracy and civil society, human rights and social justice, Indigenous issues, and education and critical thinking.

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In the past we have held two trivia nights, a concert and co-hosted an art exhibition. In the past we have sold copies of the ‘People and Planet’ diary (


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

BRIEF HISTORY In September 2006, a group of young Australians began preparing a series of discussions that would engage people around the country in sharing ideas and plans for how we can co-create a brighter Australian future. What emerged from the initial national night of discussions, attended by over 100 people across all states and territories, was a growing thirst for alternative, meaningful avenues and platforms to connect around important social issues. Out of these discussions grew Project Australia, its direction constantly shaped by the input of people and communities around the country. Quite quickly, the focus became action in the field of ‘social innovation’ – the process of community-focussed organisations and individuals engaging with social needs in novel ways. More specifically, we discovered that our value lay in helping out with early-scale social innovation – the stage right after you have had a good idea but wonder what to do next! Since 2006, Project Australia has helped facilitate two more nation-wide discussion nights, assisted numerous social innovators with their work, held two fundraising trivia nights and a live music event - ‘Voices of Oz’ - profiling emerging local artists, co-hosted an art exhibition: ‘Something Personal: Small Paintings in Support of Big Ideas’ ( and provided support for an autonomous, sister-initiative: Project Kenya (, including $3400 for a project to map local assets in Kisumu, Western Kenya. We have been involved in five research studies relating to social innovation, run a practical workshop for social innovators ( and spoken at various events, including five conferences.

Whether it has been facilitating, consulting, fundraising or engaging with research, our work has always been focussed on building our ability to providing practical tools and services so that every Australian social innovator and non-profit idea has a chance to emerge and flourish.


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010


August 3rd, 2009

Incorporated as Project Hub Australia; Selfdefined income-tax exempt Community Service Organisation

August 10th, 2009

Registered (in NSW) the business names: uThinc Speakers’ Bureau and Project Australia

August 12th, 2009

Project Hub Australia’s Inaugural General Meeting was held, followed by a meeting of the Board of Governors

October 21st, 2009

Granted a charitable fundraising licence (NSW) by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing that is in force until 21/10/2011.

November 17th, 2009

Launched a new homepage

February 5th, 2010

Tools4Good announced as a finalist, Australia’s first Social Innovation Camp

May 24th, 2010

uThinc announced as a finalist UniQuest

There is an upsurge of people wanting to make a change in their communities. Project Australia is a much needed complement to the work of peak bodies and large NGOs, connecting people who want to make a difference. Miriam Lyons, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Development

Project Australia is an innovative concept which can dynamically adapt to the needs of our nation. Simon Malian, Executive Executive Director, Director, The Malian Foundation

Project Australia is an important resource to empower individuals and groups to take action, as well as providing the tools and networks necessary to develop successful projects. Kate Gauthier, National Coordinator, A Just Australia 4

Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

CHAIR’S REPORT This last year has been a foundational one for Project Australia. We have spent time and energy investing in the future of the organization. Over the last year, we have seen a strengthening of the board with new appointments and the development of policies and procedures which will ensure the good and effective governance of the organization. I would like to also acknowledge the contribution of Les MacDonald, Chair of our Governance and Finance committee. Our team, led by Donnie Maclurcan, has continued the development of platforms to support new projects in Australia and has actively supported many projects by providing advice and assistance with networking. The innovation of this work has been recognized with Tools4Good achieving a finalist position at Australia's first Social Innovation Camp and with uThinc making the finals in the UniQuest Trailblazer competition. These achievements have assisted Project Australia's growth over the last year and positioned us to strongly achieve the aims of the organization. It has been a rewarding and exciting time and next year promises to see us build on this hard work.

Larissa Behrendt Chair


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT My immense passion for Project Australia is no secret. I believe wholeheartedly that the work we are doing can drive meaningful change. Yet what has inspired me most, throughout this foundational year, has been the talented, beautiful people that have come together with a shared a vision for ensuring more Australians can turn their ‘ideas into action’. Since our incorporation in August, 2009, our work has focussed on establishing platforms for people to speak, collectively develop ideas, and find tools to assist their efforts as social innovators. Such work inevitably involves an incredible amount of planning that presents, for seemingly an eternity, few, tangible results. Yet, the patience and belief shown by so many in our team, speaks mountains about the ‘Project Australia family’. To assist in the creation of an organisation that cares, over the past year we have adopted a particular ethos: an ‘asset-based approach’ to all we do. This has meant focussing on the ‘strengths’ and ‘resources’ that always exist but are often an afterthought in ‘fixing problems’. In practice, this has seen us ‘map assets’ at the commencement of each team working day, consider existing resources in the design of our initiatives, focus on inspiring selfconfidence through our consultancies and start positively in assessments of our own organisation. Such an approach gained further inspiration when our Project Kenya counterparts conducted their own major asset mapping project, and has been stirred on by formal training I attended in early 2010. In a similar vein, over the past year we have conscientiously tried to ‘raise the bar’ for Australian not-for-profit start-ups. We have sought a higher standard of professionalism in our operations and governance than required by law. Hence, we undertook a special audit for the 2009-10 financial year, thanks to the pro-bono assistance of Grant Thornton Australia Ltd. We have also trialled formal interviews and induction and exit processes for volunteers, started to develop a more formalised system of project and database management, whilst taking measures to strengthen the professionalism of our board and develop an organisational Reconciliation


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Action Plan. In this light, we were delighted to feature in the United Nations ‘Youth and ICT for Development Best Practices’ report3. Our approach has held us in good stead for a year full of many small steps and achievements. Our first Annual General Meeting was followed shortly by the registration of our business name and granting of a charitable fundraising licence. In November, 2009, we launched a new homepage4, to more clearly outline our work. In this regard, development of our initiatives progressed steadily. We continued to develop the business and marketing plans and operations manual for our speakers’ bureau: uThinc. As part of uThinc’s marketing strategy, we collected contacts for youth officers at every council in Australia, whilst informally conducting uThinc’s third paid talk to 1000 students at the Catholic College in Wodonga. At Australia’s first social innovation camp in April, 2010 we designed our online toolbox: ‘tools4good’ which now includes over 300 tools awaiting the finalization of a website for the launch of this initiative. This platform should prove particularly valuable for the Australian public, with one major international blogger already heralding the success of our work5. Our online incubator: ‘startgoodstuff’ continues to grow in complexity, with documentation of the website specifications making significant progress throughout the year. We continued to provide a number of support services. Our free consultancy proved increasingly popular, ensuring our involvement in a wide range of initiatives, some of which have since grown immensely. Our research team laboured hard, considering how our work fits into and affects best practices in the sector. Our research activities extended to involvement in numerous studies and the presentation of our ideas at a number of public forums. On the fundraising front, we continued our diversified approach to raising revenue. Our annual trivia night drew together 250+ people, raising $6000 nearly $4000 of which was sent to Project Kenya to support their assetmapping exercise. Through Project Australia, one of our volunteers launched ‘Voices of Oz’ - a series of concerts designed to promote local, emerging musicians as well as to raise money and awareness for local causes. As the first ‘cause’, the event raised $700 for Project Australia’s work. We were also involved in a two-week art exhibition at Sydney’s Charles Hewitt Gallery, 3 5 4


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

titled: ‘something personal: small paintings in support of big ideas’. The event was opened by renowned author James Knight to over 100 people, raising $1000 for our work. At events such as these we managed to sell 100 ‘People and Planet’ diaries, each of which produced a considerable profit. Special thanks, too, to the Sincerutty Group who have continued to provide us with regular, monthly donations to assist our work. Much of our fundraising success came from the strength of our supporter base. In addition to a growing database, as of the end of the 2009-2010 year, our Facebook supporters numbered 1365, whilst our Twitter following had expanded significantly to 1425. My special thanks to those who, at some stage, tirelessly served on the 20092010 Management Team: Birdie Gurley, Rose MacDonald, Crighton Nichols, Rachel Beaney, Marton Marosszesky, Mieka White, Dr Natalia Radywyl, Annette Loudon, Kalpana Vignehsa, Mel Zanello and Natasha Munasinghe. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of the former Executive Director of Project Kenya, Jerry Orinda, who stepped down during the year, whilst formally acknowledging the incoming Executive Director, Joseph Abedi, with whom we look forward to a continued, mutually beneficial relationship. A number of volunteers also departed over the year. I would particularly like to thank: Helen Skinner, Annette Loudon, Natasha Munasinghe, Arturo Montero, Neha Narendra, Zahrah Imtiaz, Rendy Rachmat, William Le and Rob Rainton for their valuable contributions to our work. My gratitude also goes to all members of the Board. I would like to pay particular tribute to outgoing members Jeff Prentice, Stephen Couling and Martin Stewart-Weeks who, for so long, supported Project Australia in so many ways. Special congratulations to our Chair, Professor Larissa Behrendt, who, during the year, was named NAIDOC Indigenous Person of the Year. We now enter an exciting period of ‘consolidation’ that will see us focus even harder on bringing to fruition the plans over which we have toiled so long. I look forward to the year ahead and the excitement that will undoubtedly accompany it.

Donnie Maclurcan Executive Director


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Treasurer’s Report Supporters will be aware that the organisation has been through significant changes and much progress has been made in many areas. All of this activity has put considerable emphasis upon our ability to raise funding to ensure that these activities can be adequately resourced. In addition the organisation has also had to undergo a name change and for the company to be de-registered and a new body, incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act of NSW, to be created. The new body is Project Hub Australia Incorporated Inc. The attached are the first formal accounts under the new entity. In addition a Finance and Governance Committee has now been formed and has been in operation for some months. There have been some very successful fundraising events (eg, the trivia night) and we have enjoyed the ongoing support of the Sincerutty Group and Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning. Until activities in a number of areas can be increased we remain on a very lean budget, focussed on maintaining low overheads. Plans for the next financial year are for substantial expansion of activities, with the board having approved a budget of $53,000. As can be seen from the attached accounts the total revenue for the period was $11,231.00 composed of fundraising and donations. Expenses amounted to $7,724.00 leaving a healthy surplus for the period of $3,507.00. The organisation is financially well placed to move into the new financial year with proper financial controls in place and a strong budget increase planned.

Les MacDonald Treasurer


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING StartGoodStuff: An online incubator for social innovation In 2009-2010 we have been working hard towards launching StartGoodStuff6 - a free, online space for the identification, incubation and support of usergenerated ideas that seek to create a brighter Australian future.

Five criteria define the early-scale social innovation that we will support through the incubator: • • • • •

Not-for-profit Actionable Utilising existing assets where possible Addressing domestic social needs Congruent with Project Australia’s Charter

Everyone is welcome to contribute and see their ideas put into action with ownership of the ideas remaining entirely with the community! The review panel providing assessment in the later stages of incubation will draw on experienced individuals from a range of relevant areas and the funding provided for successful projects will come from a social innovation fund, supported by revenue from our social enterprises and targeted public donations. Our aim is to launch 10 new projects by the end of 2011 and 100 new projects by 2012. 6


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Tools4Good: Online resources for Australian social innovation innovation In 2010 we commenced work on Tools4Good7, an online portal to share tools for Australian social innovation. This 'toolbox' will be a searchable database of ideas, inspiration, resources, methods, software, online tools, networks and support. Whilst involving global content, there will be a distinct focus on Australian-specific content. At the end of the 2009-2010 year, development is currently entering the second of five phases:

Phase 1: Creation of a prototype design and functionality specification Phase 2: Development of a full static site, involving simple search functionality and navigation and no sign-in to access information Phase 3: Hosting of an online community and associated user-generated content and evaluation Phase 4: Launch of an Application Programming Interface (API) and/or widget Phase 5: Exploration of and possible upgrade to a global toolbox with national (e.g. Australian) sub-directories

The foundations for the toolbox were built in March, 2010 at the:

An initiative of the Australian Social Innovation Exchange



Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

uThinc: A professional speakers’ bureau 4 young social innovators In 2009-2010, we came significantly closer to launching ‘uThinc’8 Australia’s first professional speakers’ bureau for younger people. uThinc will provide a platform for outstanding social entrepreneurs, commentators and advocates to share their innovative ideas with the Australian public. uThinc will boast 24 hand-selected, creative, inspirational and experienced speakers, all under the age of 40. Our speakers will be available for community, school and professional events, Australia-wide. uThinc will operate differently from most speakers’ bureaus. We will engage under-exposed, progressively-minded leaders, 18 – 35 years of age, as our speakers, and pitch to all sectors for our clientele. Our fees will be much more accessible than your typical bureau, ranging from $1000 - $5000 for one-off presentations, and are customised in order to provide the messages our speakers believe audiences need to hear. Not only is uThinc a platform for speakers with innovative ideas, it is an innovative idea in itself. As a charitable business venture, run by the community organisation Project Australia, half of the speaker fees go to supporting Project Australia’s work, including the funding of emerging, grassroots projects! Despite not having formally launched, uThinc provided speakers for a number of clients during 2009-2010, including:



Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Research into Social Innovation in Australia We have a dedicated research team whose objectives include: 1. Locating and aggregating existing research, writing and content concerning social innovation in Australia; 2. Developing a deeper understanding of the nature of social innovation in Australia and the critical success factors for social innovators; and 3. Developing Project Australia’s reputation for quality research through the publishing and/or distribution of relevant work. In 2009-2010, and in previous years, the group presented research reviewing the Australian social innovation landscape as well as various proposals and case studies for strengthening the sector at the following conferences and events: • • • • • •

Brightest Young Minds Summit, July, 2010; Global Engagement Summit, San Francisco, April 2010; Making Links, Melbourne, October 2009; Building Community Centred Economies, Brisbane, June, 2009; FISH@6, Sydney, April, 2009; and People’s Health Movement Annual Conference, Adelaide, April, 2007.

The group has been involved in five research studies as interviewees, roundtable participants or observational case studies: “Positioning the Social Entrepreneur”, University of Technology, Sydney, Jan. 2010; • “eLeaders Best Practices”, United Nations - Global Alliance for ICT and Development, Aug, 2009; • “Finding Australia's Social Enterprise Sector (FASES) project”, Queensland University of Technology, May, 2009; • “Use of new tech by the NFP sector”, ConnectingUp, April, 2009; and • “Mapping and Understanding Collaboration between Community Organisations”, University of Technology, Sydney, July – Sept, 2008. Planned research activities for 2010 include: •

• •

Developing a report on ethical superannuation options for Australian not-for-profit organisations; and Exploring what Australian’s most need to feel confident enough to engage with social innovation in a meaningful way


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Networking the Australian Social Innovation Sector In 2009-2010, we commonly shared contacts, resources and experiences with other organisations and explored how we can collectively strengthen the ‘sector’ as a whole. As part of our collaborative vision, we have been working with other groups to ensure that both social innovators and their ideas are supported, right from the very beginning, through the whole creation process. We have also wanted to ensure that smaller projects are part of the broader tapestry that is ‘social change’. In this sense, we have been keen to strengthen partnerships within the space and bring greater efficiency to service delivery. Below is a basic sketch of how we envisage this might work in terms of where our online incubator might draw upon and feed into existing Australian initiatives. On the left are organisations whose work might feed into the incubator whilst on the right are those into whose work the incubator might feed. Groups are split between those that focus more on innovation itself (above) and those that focus more on social innovators themselves (below).


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

Providing ProPro-bono Consulting for Small NFP Ideas and Projects In 2009-2010 we continued to offer up to one hour’s pro-bono consultancy for Australian-focussed not-for-profit initiatives with annual turnover’s <$20,000. Our services included: -

Out-of-the-box thinking & creative brainstorming; Advice on how to develop your organisation as a social enterprise; Start-up troubleshooting for not-for-profit organisations; Practical links to free, productivity-enhancing tools; Introductions to relevant networks or people to assist your work; Simple run-through & set-up of social media channels, e.g Twitter; and Customised approaches: workshops or phone/face-to-face meetings.

Those we assisted included: -

Tjukurrpa Productions (proposed Indigenous Media Arts and Production organisation) Joyous Birth (a home birthing support network) Ozgreen (an environmental education group) Open Australia (an website helping the public track parliamentarians) Meeting of the Minds (a youth-based think tank) The Otesha Project (sustainability cycling tours on Australia’s East Coast) United Nations Youth Association of Australia (a youth organisation) A bushfire relocation support database project Raise Your Voice (a community enterprise youth magazine) Rethink Australia (a national project to improve the quality of our democracy by involving ordinary citizens)

The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability has really appreciated the networks and support that Project Australia has provided us with - it really helps to get our pedal powered sustainability tours moving Shane Bill, CoCo-Director, The Otesha Project (Australia)

Thanks for all the great contacts and ideas… thanks for all your assistance and what a wonderful concept you have Niki Krogdahl, Raise Your Voice

Donnie Maclurcan's 'tips for building ideas, projects & networks' workshop provided us with a fountain of knowledge and information that would otherwise have taken months to research and compile. His laid-back, friendly approach enabled us to feel comfortable straight away and provided all participants from a variety of fields with opportunities to network together Jennie Bradbury, Babushka Productions Productions


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

2009/2010 Public Presentations March 26th, 2009

Vibewire Enterprise Hub Launch

April 16th, 2009

Fish@6 Innovation Hothouse

April 27th, 2009

Chatswood Rotaract

May 17th, 2009

Aspiring Leaders National Summit

June 19th, 2009

Building Community Centred Economies Conference

August 15th, 2009

Vibewire Saturday workshop

September 11th, 2009

Catholic College Wodonga's 30th Anniversary

January 28th, 2010

Something Personal' Exhibition Launch

May 27th, 2010

Progressives Breakfast

July 7th, 2010

Brightest Young Minds Summit

If there are two things I love it is Australia and Projects. So imagine my joy when I discovered the two were now available in one convenient Project Australia package. If it were Project Australia Buffy it would be perfect. Wil Anderson, Comedian 16

Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010


Aimable Twahira

Nikash Singh

Kristin Drakenberg

Marton Marosszesky

Ehon Ehon Chan Donnie Maclurcan Tyler Freeman Smith Veronique Houlet Nerida Lennon Rachel Beaney Aimee Maree Natalia Radywyl

Laurie Tuch

Rose MacDonald

Mieka White

Caroline Nyugen

Erin Sanderson Nick Agnew Chris Skene

Billy Huang

Crighton Nichols

Julie Dardel

Asif Zaman Birdie Gurley AJ Tennant

Ann Hong Bai

Our Company Solicitor: Phillip Roberts Reflections from a Project Australia volunteer Rachel Beaney I was given a pretty huge task a year ago: create a Speakers’ Bureau. I didn’t even know what a Speakers’ Bureau was. But, step-by-step, I gave it a go. Project Australia has taught me that I know more that I think I know and that I can do things I never thought possible – even if I don’t know how when I start. It’s taught me that I can be creative in a way I never thought I could be, be practical, that I can manage people and processes, can lead and teach. It’s been empowering, humbling, hectic, hopeful. I’ve never worked in a start-up organisation, especially one which is virtual. We’re all working toward a dream – which at times can be both inspiring and frustrating in it’s organic nature. Working with uThinc, I haven’t just learnt how to work with volunteers – but I’ve learnt how to encourage people to chase their dreams to create a real change in this world. And, probably most importantly, I’ve learnt just what a Speaker Bureau is – and how important someone sharing their experiences can be.


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010


Chair – Dr Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law, University of Technology, Sydney

Deputy Chair - Jeff Prentice, Chair, National Education and Employment Foundation

Treasurer – Les MacDonald, CEO, NSW Meals on Wheels

Secretary – Galina Barrett, Independent Tax Solicitor

Member – Dr Vijoleta Braach-Maksvytis, Independent Executive Office Professional


Project Australia Annual Report 2009-2010

OUR SUPPORT With special thanks to the following:

Auditors Kate Bonner, Conor Farley, Michael Dewhurst from Grant Thornton

Key supporters Priscilla Bryce-Weller, Michelle Williams, Jared Tham, Nick Armitage, Michael Cebon, Penny Colman, Rob Cornish, Julian D'Onofrio, Alan Duncan, James Englund, Bryan Farmer, Chris Fletcher, Melanie Greblo, Shasheen Jayaweera, James Maclurcan, Kate Maclurcan, Thomas Maclurcan, Mark McMillan, Julie Nyland, Vivienne Read, Jane Schwager, Annick Clifford

Donors Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, Julian Harris, Larry MacDonald and the Charles Hewitt Gallery, Jan Lee Martin

Foundational Donors James Smith, Ivan and Karel Wheen, Ian Lincoln


Project Australia - 2009-2010 Annual Report  

This report documents the annual activities of an Australian community organisation that helps people start their own community projects.

Project Australia - 2009-2010 Annual Report  

This report documents the annual activities of an Australian community organisation that helps people start their own community projects.