1. Why did Narellan Pools choose to support First Seeds Fund?
At the core of the Narellan Pools Group, is a philosophy of making a difference and giving back.
We have a clear vision and strategy about our philanthropic projects. The vision of the
First Seeds Fund and more specifically the work at Warwick Farm couldn’t fit more perfectly with us. Narellan Pools roots are firmly in the southwest region having started our business just a few minutes from Warwick Farm over 42 years ago, so it was an exciting and obvious collaboration.
We believe strongly we should be supporting, educating and helping those people right here in our Aussie backyard. I have witnessed first-hand how the work of the First Seeds Fund imparts confidence in young women by ensuring they receive the support they need to attend school, to graduate and to connect with successful businesswomen like myself and other amazing women who are part of the First Seeds Fund and the LBDGroup.
2. Philanthropy is an important part of your business culture -can you share how and why?
Chris and I, personally and professionally, have a philanthropic heart and mind and as the leaders of our business, we passionately believe it’s our responsibility to use this privilege to make our Australia, a better place.
Our philanthropic philosophy is about making a difference and giving back to the communities we operate in – locally, nationally and internationally. It is so much of the fabric of Chris, myself and the Narellan Pools business, it is the anchor to everything we do and is one of our five key values.
This starts with authentic leadership at the top, with myself and Chris and flows to our Chief Operating Officer, Head Office Team and extends to a grass roots level to our network of Franchisees. It is ingrained in our values, culture and behaviour.
We support three key charities at a corporate level with our network of Franchisees
supporting many more in their local areas;
- The First Seeds Fund
- Ronald McDonald House Randwick
- The Ingham Institute
The Narellan Pools Head Office Team are invested and engaged with all three charities in various ways however the team have truly made Warwick Farm their own. We have all spent the majority of our time out there working together with the people of the Liverpool Community Connections including Pat, Eva and Jess and the Strive Girls.
In addition to First Seeds Fund we are the a major donor of the Ingham Institutes Hope Luncheon where I have delivered a keynote presentation on Hope and spent time at the Institute, our team goes to the Ronald McDonald House three times a year to make a meal for the families staying at the house and we go to the various fundraisers.
We have spent many years leading by example and encouraging our Franchisees to give back to the local communities they operate in. So much is our commitment to making a difference and seeing this philanthropic heart and mind radiate globally, as the manufacturer, we offer our Franchisees a free pool shell to collaborate with a local charity they are passionate about to raise much needed funds.
One of our most successful philanthropic Franchisees, Danny and Fiona, have forged an incredible relationship with the Camp Quality Convoy in Wollongong over the last ten years. Narellan Pools together with Danny and Fiona are the major prize donors and sees our pools on the back of trucks at the front of the convoy with close to 500 cars and trucks raising money for terminally ill children. Not only are they recognized as true philanthropic leaders in their local community, the Narellan Pools community but been recognized with awards from the Franchise Council of Australia.
3. You have supported us for the last 12 months – what are you most proud of?
Myself and the Narellan Pools team are truly and passionately committed to the people and projects of Warwick Farm. Over the last 12 months;
- I’ve been out there around ten times for various training, events and meetings
- We’ve taken loads and loads of clothes, food and toys
- The team have been out together twice to meet the team and to learn more about Warwick Farm, its challenges, projects and successes
- The female team members put on a high tea for the Strive Girls where we made flower headbands and talked of our goals and dreams
- I delivered a leadership session to one of the mature aged management TAFE courses
- We’ve had Eva speak at our franchisee conference
- We’ve developed a philanthropic video which highly features the Strive Girls and how they feel about the program and the benefits
- We redirected our budget for Franchisee Christmas gifts and bought and delivered 60 gifts to the young kids and Strive girls
- I’m starting a monthly coaching session with Eva who recently took over the Operations Manager role from Pat.
To hear the Strive Girls talk of their goals and dreams truly blew me away. These were girls that only a few years ago, felt their choices were so slim and mostly included unemployment, drugs, prostitution and feeling that domestic violence was the norm. By supporting First Seeds Fund and their investment in Project Strive, we are encouraging girls to connect with the community through a range of activities including self-defense, goal setting, nutrition and health, mentoring and how to set up a business.
These girls are educated about making positive choices to change their lives,
them with the skills to make change, the fruits of which will change the lives of their direct family and friends and the generations of women that follow. That is powerful
and inspirational and why we love collaborating with the First Seeds Fund.
I am also proud of the painstaking effort and success of the First Seeds Board on getting their DGR status, which is no easy feat. This now puts the control of the Fund in their hands. With the vision and structure, they should achieve amazing things together with their donors. Congratulations Janine, Alicia and the rest of the board!
4. What drives you as a businesswoman and philanthropist to keep giving back?
Imagine the difference we could make if EVERYONE had a philanthropic mindset?
I think there is still an old perception as “philanthropists” being older wealthy people
giving money but that simply isn’t true. To me, it simply means to give back in some way that contributes to making a difference to someone not as fortunate as you. This could be time, money or sharing knowledge – which is a personal favourite of mine.
I believe although fraught with tons of risk and stress, owning a business is a privilege that should be used to give back. To create a culture where people can learn that it could be as little as $20 a week that could literally change someone’s life. That spending 4 hours a month in a soup kitchen will fill their souls with more than they could have imagined.
I am passionate about keeping our money here in our Aussie backyard as although we are the lucky country, there are so many people suffering right under our nose. This is the country my son and daughter will grow up in and I am driven to make it the best place possible.
I am proud Chris and I don’t simply write cheques (although that is great too!). We have involved our whole business in our philanthropic philosophy and projects. It has been as rewarding for the individuals of our business as it has been for Chris and I. This is also now flowing to my children Eliza and Kingston as they learn to pack up clothes and toys for the boys and girls at Warwick Farm not as lucky as them. They are already little philanthropists that will flow to their community of friends as they grow and become leaders.
Our vision is to have philanthropy in the DNA of Narellan Pools around the globe. We have a goal by 2025 to have directly raised $1 million for local charities.
5. Why do you think people should support the work we do, collectively?
Together, by supporting First Seeds Fund, we are not just committed to change, we are creating it at a grass roots level, right here in our own backyard.
On a very practical level, seeing first-hand the results of Project Strive at Warwick Farm on these young girls is simply phenomenal and all the proof you need to become a donor of the First Seeds Fund!
At the least, those of you who have children, should be completely compelled to be as Janine says; “a brick in the wall of change” to ensure future generations have the education and opportunities to make our Aussie backyard a great place.
The power of the First Seeds Fund comes not in the strength of the individual but
through collaboration, the creation of a singular strong voice and a strategic approach to philanthropy.
By supporting the First Seeds Fund, you will help to give hope and choice for women at risk, and their children and their children’s children. I know first-hand, it will make a real difference.
Together we can break the cycle of poverty, domestic violence and drugs in our Aussie backyard.