The Women’s Village Collective Community Forum held on International Women’s Day. Photo credit: Sue-Ellen Purcell
While many expected 2021 to provide breathing space after the tumultuous year that was 2020, it is clear that this year was never going to arrive quietly.
It is hard to believe that this time last year, much of our region was still clouded in a thick sheet of smoke as our communities battled the fallout of a black summer. Over recent weeks we have been inundated with rain and challenging flood conditions.
We know that once again it is our community organisations who will be on the ground, responding directly to community need and providing vital services to those who may experience heartache, loss of livelihoods and even homes. We remain committed to supporting those organisations in 2021 through our grant programs and as advocates for community need.
Amid the rain and thunder, a groundswell of anger, frustration and vigorous debate has been impossible to ignore as our community marked International Women’s Day this month. The day helped people acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of women in our society as well as provide a crucial platform for women’s voices to be heard.
One of those platforms was a community forum & art installation at the Byron Community Centre presented by the Women’s Village Collective. MC’d by Mandy Nolan, the forum invited us to witness and address the housing crisis and its impact on our women and children. NRCF Deputy Chair, Lynda Dean took part in a panel of inspiring individuals alongside the Women’s Village Collective, who called on our community to work together to find practical solutions for affordable housing in this region – an urgent issue that cannot be ignored.
Members of NRCF also attended the Shift Project’s annual International Women’s Day fundraiser where the powerful words of Fay Jackson’s keynote speech addressed the ongoing issues around sexual violence towards women. We were reminded that a challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change.
Community action helps us at NRCF to understand what is important to our community and what role we can play in achieving meaningful change. It is a timely reminder of why community-based philanthropy exists – to drive significant community-based impact on important social issues. This was recently captured so clearly in the words of Gerlinde Scholz from Australian Community Philanthropy:
Community philanthropy unlocks local resources to help communities flex their social muscle as engaged, active citizens, and our Community Foundation Network is doing a remarkable job in this respect. Many community foundations offer invaluable support to women, First Nations communities, migrants, refugees, and vulnerable people as part of their commitment to justice, fairness, and solidarity.
At NRCF we are dedicated more than ever to our vision to build a compassionate, generous and equitable Northern Rivers community. We look forward to working with you all to drive positive change in our region.
CEO Emily Berry and the NRCF team