Our Structure

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation is a Public Ancillary Fund (PAF) registered as a charity with the ACNC and the Australian Taxation Office and it has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

Our professional Board and Associate Director members donate their expertise and experience to the governance of a well-run, ethical and trustworthy organisation which we hope will give donors confidence that their donated funds will be carefully managed and divested.

The NRCF team comprises nine Directors as Board members, and nine Associate Directors who support the working Committees. An Executive Officer is employed to manage the organisation.


Our Team

John Callanan

John Callanan | Chair

Relevant experience: With over 4 decades of international real estate and property experience, John has developed great insight into property trends.
His hands-on, practical approach has enabled him to build a privately funded and diverse property development portfolio. He understands how markets and the commercial world works and applies this to how any good charity should be run.

Why I joinedI love the Northern Rivers and feel privileged to live in such a beautiful place. I feel very strongly that we all should give back to our community in some way. I want to work to create a more balanced region and I love the idea of community and the connectedness we all share.

What I do: Chair of NRCF, Member of the Community Partnerships Committee.

Phil Daley

Phil Daly | Deputy Chair

Relevant experience: Phil has been ‘living the dream’ for the past 16 years on the North Coast of NSW and is the area’s foremost expert on creating outstanding results in business, having worked with thousands of clients both individually and in teams to bring out the very best in their ability to achieve results. In the past, Phil has worked with small, medium and large organisations, both for profit and not for profit to develop strategies that not only improve performance, but also add to the bottom line, and he brings these skills and experience to the NRCF.

Why I joined: I originally moved to the Far North Coast to get more involved and make a difference within my local community through active participation in Northern Rivers based organisations. The NRCF is very special to me and volunteering and giving back to locals makes my day.

What I do: Deputy Chair and Secretary of NRCF, Member of the Community Engagement Committee.

Nick Rose

Nick Rose | Treasurer

Relevant Experience: As a financial adviser, specialising in investment and superannuation advice, Nick services clients in the Northern Rivers through an independently owned Australian Financial Services Licensee that he and another local financial adviser established.

Why I joined: I was born and raised in the Northern Rivers.  After a period of travelling overseas and living interstate, my wife and I decided to return to the Northern Rivers as we could not think of a better place to raise a family.  We are now raising our three young children on land that five generations of my family have been fortunate to call home. After seeing the great work that NRCF does, I joined NRCF as an adviser to the Investment Committee. 

What I do: Chair of Finance & Audit Committee, Member of the Governance Committee. Nick is also a pro bono adviser to the Investment Committee through Northern Rivers Private Wealth.

Emily Berry

Emily Berry | Executive Officer

Relevant experience: Prior to NRCF Emily was the Executive Producer and General Manager of NORPA (Northern Rivers Performing Arts). Emily has over 15 years experience in business and financial management, operations and production; in theatre, documentary film, events, hospitality, and humanitarian aid. Namely St.George OpenAir Cinema Sydney, RICE restaurants & events New York, Broad Oak film production in Brisbane and Paris, Operations Consultant for RiverGarden Hotel Cambodia, and Logistician for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Why I joined: I am passionate about helping others to help themselves. I think local philanthropy can make a real difference in the battle against disadvantage in regional areas. NRCF seemed just the right fit.

Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes | Director

Relevant experience: With almost 30 years’ experience as a Family Lawyer, both in Sydney and the Northern Rivers area, Chris has acquired substantial experience and skills in supporting and assisting many people, from all walks of life, in the resolution of a myriad of wide-ranging and often complex Family Law matters. Such experience and expertise has stood Chris in good stead, as both a Director and the Chair of the Grants Committee of the NRCF, in working with others to help the many people in our community who require assistance and support.

Why I joined: My family and I feel very fortunate to be living in such a beautiful and diverse area as the Northern Rivers. The area has been good to us, in many respects. I feel very strongly about giving back to our community through my work, together with my colleagues, at the NRCF; in particular, the work which culminates in the NRCF’s provision of grants to the many hard-working organisations in the area who provide ongoing assistance to those in our community who need our support.

What I do: Chair of the Grants Committee.

Ninian Gemmell

Ninian Gemmell | Director

Relevant Experience: Ninian (FCPA, GAICD, JP) has over 30 years corporate financial experience across a range of industry sectors, spanning mining & resources, construction, higher education and not-for-profit. He has well developed knowledge base in financial management and analysis, governance, policy and processes which he brings to NRCF. His understated manner and very dry sense of humour has allowed him to build a network of relationships beyond the traditional financial cohort. Ninian is also a writer with a range of writing credits for regional newspapers.

Why I joined: Having visited the area over many years since the 1970’s, but on a more regular basis since 2011, my wife and I made the sea-change from Sydney in late 2016. My intention was always to connect with the local community up here, something I felt was missing in Sydney. I feel as if NRCF allows me to do this and make a professional and social contribution to a region in which there is a huge need.

What I do: Chair of the Investment Committee, Member of the Governance Committee, Member of the Finance Committee.

Rea Francis

Rea Francis | Director

Relevant experience: Rea has worked as a liaison officer and publicist across federal, state and local government departments, agencies, statutory authorities, commissions and ministerial offices.  Her skills have been applied to many Northern Rivers projects across tourism, hospitality, property, publishing, film and television, and food produce, including Jules Hunt Gallery, The Farm Byron Bay, Duck Creek Macadamias and Linnaeus Estate. Known affectionately as the ‘doyenne publicist’ she has an extraordinary wealth of contacts valuable to the Foundation’s donor sector, event organisation and to multi-media applications.

Why I joined: To be a productive member of the Northern Rivers community.

What I do: Chair Community Engagement Committee

Lisa Daw

Lisa Daw | Director

Relevant Experience: Lisa has worked in the business advisory and taxation area for a number of decades. She brings her strong skill set to the Foundation to help ensure funds are managed well and the governance is up to date.

Why I joined: I’ve always felt the strong desire to give back to the community. I have been part of a not for profit or charity board ever since I became a qualified accountant. Being part of the NRCF covers so many of the deserving not for profit organisations in the area.

What I do: Chair of the Governance Committee

Johan Kortenhorst

Johan Kortenhorst | Associate Director

Relevant Experience: Johan graduated from the University of Queensland with honors first class in 2015. He focused his studies on Ethical Leadership Development and Social Entrepreneurship and worked on a number of startup businesses in the Social Enterprise sphere.

While at University Johan spent his spare time organising events for a committee led volunteer group, and brings five years of event management experience to the NRCF team.

Why I joined: I grew up here in the Shire and have been fortunate enough to be able to return and work for my family’s business. But I wanted more out of my time here, I have seen so many friends return and leave because they didn’t have a connection to the community. I guess I was searching for something that would allow me to have an impact on the community that I know and love so much.

What I do: Johan sits on the Community Partnerships and Community Engagement committees.

Jane Hanckel

Jane Hanckel | Associate Director

Relevant experience: Community building, social policy research and innovative educational programs in socially disadvantaged communities are among Jane’s wide ranging experiences. She is a published author and brings to the Foundation a practical knowledge of working at the cutting edge of social change with some of the most challenging communities. Her breadth of understanding of how not for profits can significantly make a difference is a valuable asset to the Foundation.

Why I joinedI love the fact that the Foundation can help those striving to be part of positive change as well as make more visible the needs of those doing it tough in our region. It’s all about our community and our connectedness. That is what makes the Northern Rivers so special.

What I do: Member of the Community Engagement and Investment Committees.

Michael Murray

Michael Murray | Associate Director

Relevant Experience: Michael has been a Byron Shire resident for nearly 35 years. He is a property buyers’ agent and the principal of Byron Property Search which has been helping people settle in the Northern Rivers area for over 17 years. Prior to this he was a successful TV documentary producer delivering many hours of programming to all Australian and international TV networks. He is deeply involved in community activities and NFPs. He is currently involved in the Mullumbimby Masterplan Guidance Group and Creative Mullumbimby. This includes interest in affordable housing development and Creative Industries.

Why I joined: I see the NRCF as the peak charity in the region. Community building is important for the ongoing strength and cohesive interplay in the Northern Rivers.

What I do: Michael is part of the Events and Community Engagement Committee.

Simone Dowding

Simone Dowding | Associate Director

Relevant Experience: Simone is currently the CEO of the Blessed Bean coffee company and the national charity Change Coffee. Simone also runs leadership and conscious business retreats and mentoring in Byron Bay.

Why I joined: I joined the NRCF because of my love for this beautiful land and conscious community. I believe we all have a responsibility to support and serve others.

What I do: Member of the Community Engagement Committee.

Luke Barker

Luke Barker | Associate Director

Relevant Experience: Luke is an experienced Investment Advisor at Macquarie Wealth, the Wealth Management Division of Macquarie Bank. Luke provides investment advice to private investors, retirees, businesses and institutions in Australian and International markets. Luke’s experience extends to investment analysis, investment portfolio management, risk management and client relations. Luke has completed a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Bachelor of Commerce and an Advanced Diploma of Financial Services.

Why I joined: Having lived in Bangalow, I have spent a lot of time in this great region and wanted to give back to the community which I have enjoyed so much. The NRCF is a great group of like-minded individuals in the region working together to provide benefits for many people for years to come.

What I do: Member of the Investment committee , Governance committee and the Finance & Audit committee.

Maggie Brown

Maggie Brown | Associate Director

Relevant experience: Maggie has spent 27 years in community development planning and capacity building. Her results based approach has seen her involved in several major community projects in the Byron Shire. Over the past 10 years she has been working for Local Government in Eastern Sydney. She is a seasoned community worker who has a deep belief in social justice and equitable outcomes for the whole community.

Why I joined: I have a strong attachment to the Byron Shire having lived here since 1981. I care deeply about the social outcomes of the region in a time of rapid change. I like working with NRCF as I see other fun, caring and generous people, all united in a common goal of making a positive difference in people’s lives through our small grants program. 

 What I do: Chair of the Community Partnerships Committee.


Our other Associates

Peter Dean & Nerida Dean


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