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

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: Treasurer of NRCF, 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.

Lisa Daw

Lisa Daw | Secretary

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: Secretary of NRCF, and Chair of the Governance Committee.

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 joinedI am passionate about helping others to help themselves. After working in small communities in Cambodia and Africa, I was delighted to land in the Northern Rivers and find a group of like minded people who believed in the importance of giving back.  Local philanthropy can make a real difference in the battle against disadvantage in regional areas. 

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 Marketing & Events Committee

Luke Barker

Luke Barker | 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 and the Finance & Audit committee.

Johan Kortenhorst

Johan Kortenhorst | 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 is a member of the Events Committee and coordinates the Volunteer Program.

Maggie Brown

Maggie Brown | 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 Grants Committee.

David McGrath

David McGrath | Director

Relevant Experience: David has lived in Myocum for 27 years with his wife Cathie-Anne. Before that he was born, educated and worked in Sydney.

David has a Degree in Building (Project Management) from the University of NSW. He worked for two years in London on the Harrods Banking Hall and also has project management experience in Sydney, Gold Coast, Northern Rivers, Townsville and Port Moresby. He now concentrates on project managing housing projects for the Community Housing sector with particular emphasis on housing for the disabled.

David is currently providing probono advice for the development of Papua New Guinea’s first purpose built village for abused women & children. The Australian Government is providing $A6,000,000 for this desperately needed facility.

Why I joined:

I was educated by the Jesuits – who have a very strong emphasis on social welfare. Help those who are not as fortunate as you are and seek similarities not differences. The Northern Rivers region is fairly unique in regional Australia – it has some of Australia’s wealthiest and poorest living together and it can be fractious – NRCF strives to bring those communities together.

The more exposure I have to dozens of charities over the years the more convinced I am that charities that provide a ‘hand-up rather than a hand-out’ are the sustainable model. NRCF epitomises this philosophy, plus we have a laugh and a wine or two along the way.

What I do: Member of the Events & Fundraising Committee, and the Grants Committee.

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 Marketing & Events Committee.

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 Investment Committee and Marketing & Events Committee.

Dione Green

Dione Green | Associate Director

Relevant experience: Dione is a radio presenter and journalist for local community radio station Bay FM. Her show ‘Make a Change’ aims to inspire people to make positive changes in their local community, to the environment and within themselves. Dione has spent many years volunteering for local community organizations including the Byron Community Centre, the Mullumbimby Neighborhood Centre and the Brunswick Heads Visitors Centre. She also taught Primary Ethics at Brunswick Heads Public School.

Why I joinedI am a passionate advocate for social justice and environmental protection. There are so many caring and enlightened people in our community who are striving for positive change, and I would like to be able to help these people achieve their goals. My mission is to help make the world a better place in whatever way I can.

What I do: Member of the Events Committee and write articles for NRCF’s newsletter.

Lynne Stephens

Lynne Stephens | Associate Director

Relevant Experience: Lynne began her working life as a Pre-school Teacher and established the Brunswick Heads preschool in 1982. She also has a vast hospitality background and was the owner of the original “The Balcony” restaurant in Byron Bay in the late 80’s to early 90’s. A variety of roles with TAFE Qld, spanning 15 years, saw a move to the Whitsundays, then Wide Bay and finally to Sunshine Coast, where she established the “Centre for Leadership Strategies” and followed her passion for leadership, change and project management in the corporate sector.

In July 2010, Lynne founded the Australasian Leadership Academy (ALA) which is a multi-disciplined National Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that combines expertise in leadership and culture development.

Why I joined: In 2016 I relocated back to Byron Bay and set up a new office in Brunswick Heads. I am looking forward to giving back to the community which I love so much and becoming involved in this amazing foundation, who are making such a wonderful difference in people’s lives.

What I do: Associate Director


Our other Directors and Associates

Peter Dean, Zenith Virago, Lynda Dean, Dione Green & Nathan Luke

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