Our partners in that work are grantmakers (government and philanthropic), donors, enlightened businesses, community builders, and - of course - not-for-profit organisations themselves.
A Certified B Corporation and multi-award-winning social enterprise, Our Community's offerings include:
The Our Community Group is evolutionary as well as revolutionary. We have a number of staged developments and product offerings. Our websites and our services are always changing.
Our vision centres around social inclusion and social equity. Our dream is that every Australian should be able to go out their front door and stroll or wheel to a community group that suits their interests, passions and needs - or log on and do the same.
We want to help make it easy for people to join in, learn, celebrate, worship, plant trees, play a game, entertain and be entertained, care and be cared for, support others and be supported, advocate for rights and celebrate diversity. To get involved. To be valued.
Our Community is led by founder Denis Moriarty, who serves as Group Managing Director and sits on the board alongside business leader and Australia's pre-eminent social investor Carol Schwartz AM, and renowned ethicist Dr Simon Longstaff AO.
Our dynamic, committed team includes people who live and breathe community. Many have been with the organisation since the start, or have left and come back, or have been around for more than a decade.
The team includes:
Chris Borthwick is Our Community's Thinker in Residence, as well as a key writer of speeches and publications. He has for some years been active in advocacy and lobbying for people with disabilities, and he has written widely on disability issues, health promotion, and organisational structural change. Chris has qualifications in Arts and Law. His previous position was as Managing Editor of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia.
Sarah is the Development Manager in the SmartyGrants team. She has over 10 years experience in consulting, systems architecture, training and management, working mainly on large-scale IT system replacements. Before joining SmartyGrants Sarah spent two years working for an international NGO in London, first in their IT department and then as the coordinator for a multi-million dollar livelihoods project funded through a corporate grant. She is particularly interested in poverty reduction, ICT for development, and women's rights and empowerment.
Kerryn edits many of Our Community's newsletters and books. She has a degree in journalism and a graduate diploma in editing and publishing from RMIT. When she's not working part-time for Our Community, she freelances as a writer and editor specialising in food and travel. A permaculturalist and keen gardener, Kerryn is particularly interested in not-for-profit governance as it relates to the Transition Towns movement.
A founding member of Our Community, Kate is the former Executive Director of the Australia Institute of Grants Management, Our Community's grants management arm, and was one of the driving forces behind the development of SmartyGrants. In 2014 she founded Kate Caldecott & Associates, offering training and technical assistance to grantmaking organisations. She continues to work with Our Community as a Strategic Partnership Advisor.
Jimmy is a software developer with 20 years experience who is part of the SmartyGrants team. He brings with him experience in web-application development, design and architecture from industries such as publishing, utilities, education and finance. Jimmy is passionate about delivering user-friendly software of a high quality. He has an honours degree in Computer Applications from Dublin City University.
Kylie is the Director of Membership Experience for the Institute of Community Directors Australia, an Our Community enterprise. Prior to this she was Executive Director of GiveNow, Our Community's online donations facility. Kylie also works in Our Community's training section and has a private consulting business, Tiger Grace Consulting. She has a background in grantmaking, community-business partnerships, and communications. Kylie has a Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University, and is a graduate of the Partnership Brokers Accreditation Scheme. She is a Director of Karingal, a disability services organisation, and has a passion for getting more women on more boards.
Gina is Our Community's principal SmartyGrants trainer, a role that takes her across Australia and New Zealand helping grantmakers make the most out of our online grants management system. Gina's varied work history includes stints as a Melbourne Zoo guide, a call centre operator, a GIS mapper, reconciliation manager, human resources coordinator and occupational health and safety trainer.
Cecille joined Our Community as a SmartyGrants developer in December, 2013. She worked as a developer in the Philippines and Singapore for more than a decade before migrating to Australia in 2011. Past roles have included developing, maintaining and supporting a range of web-based applications including an automated billing system, merchant and banking loyalty system, insurance system application and other in-house applications.
Merinda is part of the founding team of Our Consumer Place, a resource centre auspiced by Our Community that is run entirely by mental health consumers. A cartoonist, writer, teacher, learner, chronicler, historian and activist, Merinda has lived, fought and taught her way through more than two decades of active service for people diagnosed with 'mental illness' in Australia. A co-winner of the 2004 Australian Human Rights Award in the Community Category, Merinda holds a deep belief that it is time for 'consumers' to develop their own ways of doing things - their own groups, their own services, their own networks, websites and small business.
Mark joined the Our Community team as Marketing Manager in November 2014. Mark started his career in the not-for-profit sector as the General Manager of the Tasmanian Theatre Company and has since held marketing roles with a number of government and commercial organisations, specialising in digital communications. Mark is interested in the importance and role of the arts and cultural engagement, and has previously volunteered as the Treasurer of the TMAGgots, a not-for-profit museum group run by young, culturally engaged Hobartians. He also represented Tasmania as a board member of the national youth arts peak body, Young People and the Arts Australia.
Lily has experience working in arts management and has a passion for working in the not-for-profit sector. She honed her skill in data management, working for Australian Tapestry Workshop for a number of years, and doing volunteer work at organisations such as Snuff Puppets. She is a graduate from Dunedin Polytechnic School of Fine Arts, NZ (BFA) and is a practicing artist. Lily heads up the SmartyGrants Service and Administration team.
Anna joined Our Community in early 2015 as a Business Analyst, working with the SmartyGrants team. Anna has more than 10 years' experience working on large-scale corporate IT projects across a variety of organisations in the finance, telecommunications, consulting and retail industries. Outside the office, Anna is actively involved with several community groups and not-for-profits, making Our Community an ideal place for her to work. Anna holds a Bachelor of Information Systems from the University of Melbourne.
Charlie is an expert on web applications and user interface design, having spent over ten years working in software development and technology consulting. He has worked on some of the largest IT projects in Australia at Telstra and Accenture, as well websites for the smallest community groups. Most recently he has made the Our Community website simpler, faster and easier to use, as well as developing Our Community's cutting-edge SmartyGrants online grants management system, and redeveloping the GiveNow.com.au online giving service. Charlie has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Information Systems from the University of Melbourne.
Simon has a long-standing interest in philanthropy and the non-profit sector, having been involved with a number of philanthropic foundations and organisations connected to the sector over the last 10 years. Simon helped launch Our Community in 2000-2001 before pursuing a law degree and working as a lawyer for a number of years. He has now returned to Our Community to oversee the development of a number of exciting projects including the SmartyGrants initiative.
Rustam joined our team as a part of the SmartyGrants support team, later moving into a software development role. He is about to finish his PhD in Computer Science. Prior to joining Our Community, Rustam spent five years working as a software developer for one of the largest bank in the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Union) region, where he worked on developing online banking and money-transfer solutions.
Gemma works within the grants department, tracking grants throughout Australia and compiling the Funding Centre's BusiGrants newsletter. She also works with the training team, helping to coordinate our Diploma in Business (Governace) course and other workshops. Gemma also works in outreach as part of a youth project.
Amy is the Creative Manager of Our Community and GiveNow, handling the design and development of promotional materials, books, newsletters and websites. She has been intimately involved in the development of GiveNow since its outset. Amy has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing)/Bachelor of Tourism from Monash University, an Advanced Certificate in Digital Media and Web Design, as well as a postgraduate Diploma in Graphic Design at RMIT. As a passionate campaigner for change regarding how animals are treated in our society, Amy authors a blog on compassionate eating in Melbourne, runs a battery hen adoption initiative, and works on a voluntary basis with various animal advocacy groups.
Maureen joined the Our Community team in 2010 after 30 years in the motor vehicle industry with Melton Toyota. Maureen has a long-standing interest in planning and loves to organise and coordinate Our Community's events and conferences.
Alan came to Our Community after working for Involvement Volunteers Association Inc, a non-profit international volunteer organisation with associates in Australia and around the world. Alan has a Bachelor of Arts (Asian Studies) and two Diplomas in Information Technology. Intrigued by the notion of a commercial business providing high quality community services and advocacy, Alan joined Our Community as part of the funding database management team, and has moved on into the role of Marketing and Sales Manager.
Mark is a software developer who works as the principal developer for the Our Community, Funding Centre and GiveNow websites. He has a Master of Software Systems Engineering from the University of Melbourne and more than nine years' experience in architecture and IT development. Mark was the recipient of Our Community's 2012 Innovation Award and was added to Melbourne University's 2013 Dean's Honours List, which recognises high-performing students.
Lidia Milevski has a Business Degree from RMIT and numerous years of experience in the banking sector. She performs a range of essential administrative and financial tasks at Our Community, including assisting the Financial Manager.
Rose Mircevski is Executive PA to Denis Moriarty, Chief Operating Officer, and manages the Our Community office and its resources. Rose has an outstanding record of achievement in service development and has worked with a number of organisations where she has held key administrative positions.
Ben is part of the support team for SmartyGrants. He has a Bachelor of Information Technology as well as an Advanced Diploma of Computer Science. His background includes technical support for the Australian Taxation Office and he also has two years experience as a small business IT consultant. Ben has a keen interest in cloud computing and strives for customer satisfaction.
Denis is the Founder and Group Managing Director of Our Community. Denis has a strong background in executive management in both the public and private sectors. He was the former head of the Victorian Government's Information Service, Managing Director of Strategic Australia Pty Ltd, a boutique management consultancy, and former Commissioner and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Tourism Commission. Denis is a graduate of both the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Awards and the Williamson Community Leadership program, and a member of several not-for-profit and private boards. He is passionate about change and is driven by a desire to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged in society in a way that assists individuals and communities to take charge of their own destiny. Denis was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001 for his work in establishing Our Community, a multi-award winning social enterprise that exists to assist and inspire change to improve the social fabric and soul of Australia through its 600,000 community organisations.
Patrick is a member of the founding team and the Executive Director of the Institute of Community Directors Australia, a division of Our Community which provides information, advice, support and membership services for the members of Australia's not-for-profit Boards and Committees, and those who work with them. He is an experienced marketing executive with an in-depth appreciation of how to capitalise on changes in marketing trends, particularly as they apply to Australia and Asia. Prior to joining Our Community he held senior positions with Telstra, including Business Planning Manager for Access Products. Patrick heads up Our Community's training team, a role that has seen him develop a cult following among community group staff and volunteers across the country.
Jon is a developer of web applications and software-as-a-service. His background includes user experience design and applications programming on projects for the health, training, primary industries and transport sectors. He is passionate about ensuring that the software he works on is not only functional, but also easy and pleasant to use. Jon is part of our SmartyGrants team.
Tim brings more than 15 years of experience in web applications development and architecture to Our Community's SmartyGrants team. Tim has developed software in online, telecommunication and finance industries. He is active in the Open Source community and is the author and maintainer of the popular JSCover project. He has a double degree in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering from the University of Melbourne.
Kathy is and Executive Director of Our Community and the group's "Chaos Controller". She works alongside the Group Managing Director to oversee the organisation's many enterprises, as well helping to lead reform initiatives and new business directions. A journalist who spent the early part of her career working in community newspapers, Kathy also spent two years working in Thailand with the Thai Government's Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation. She has a degree in journalism from RMIT, a Diploma in Business (Governance) and a passion for equality and social justice. She has and continues to serve on many not-for-profit boards and grantmaking bodies. Kathy was selected as an Eisenhower Fellow in 2014.
Chris worked with a variety of community sector groups during more than eight years as a journalist at publications in Melbourne's western suburbs. He holds degrees in journalism and literature from Deakin University, is a hopeless coffee and console gaming addict, and currently serves as Knowledge Curator for the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM) after several years as editor of Our Community publications Raising Funds and Board Builder.
Charles is the Business Development Manager in the SmartyGrants team. With more than 35 years of global sales and customer engagement experience, Charles has worked with major IT hardware and software vendors in Australia and the USA, plus leasing companies involved in funding IT acquisitions. He commenced his career with IBM, and since 2000 he has focussed on business process driven solutions. Charles is also a voluntary member of the Business Development Board for one of Victoria's regional health service providers that offers a range of health, welfare and community services.
Eden is Our Community's Innovation Intern. He has a BA from Monash University, majoring in Behavioural Studies. During his studies, Eden worked in the Programs Team at The School of Life Australia. His passion for community and equality has lead to his involvement in a number of organisations with social justice missions. He has volunteered as a student mentor at the St Kilda Youth Service and has been involved in organising Melbourne's annual homeless memorial for the last four years.
Julie-Ann joined the Our Community training team in June 2015 after two decades honing her community sector and training experience. Her past roles have included running a business, managing a 400-strong hospital volunteer service, and leading communities through the process of establishing new community bank branches. Julie-Ann has also held a range of community governance roles with community banks, a local traders' association, and a Friends of the Hall committee. She's also been involved in a voluntary capacity in disability support.
Megan joined the team in mid-2007 as part of a Business Administration Traineeship, working as our Membership Coordinator before taking over the Grants Database Manager role in May 2010. She is one of four principal coaches who opened Paramount Calisthenics College in 2014 - a not-for-profit sporting group in the Craigieburn area.
Jodie heads up the AIGM's service and training team, where she focuses on continual improvement of our interactions with clients and colleagues. Previously, Jodie worked in a variety of different roles from marketing and communications to membership to bank analyst to tour guide. Most recently, Jodie was immersed in the grantmaking world whilst working within the Research and Planning area at beyondblue. Jodie has a Diploma in Business Management, train-the-trainer qualifications and is currently completing a Bachelor of Business (Information Systems).
Jarred works as part of the GiveNow team, helping not-for-profits hone and load their fundraising appeals. Jarred has a BA from Monash University, majoring in Jewish Civilisation and Philosophy. He's involved in the Jewish community in Australia and was the chairperson of a leading youth movement.
Cathy is Executive Director of GiveNow. Over the past 15 years, Cathy has focussed on building resources available to the not-for-profit sector by promoting innovative philanthropic practices, capacity building and impact investing. She has also worked at the Trawalla Foundation, Foundation for Young Australians and Social Ventures Australia, since leaving the corporate sector where she was a consultant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Cathy remains active on not-for-profit boards, including Women's Leadership Institute Australia, Queen Victoria Women's Centre Trust, and Social Ventures Australia Social Impact Fund (Investment Committee), and is a member of Impact Investment Australia Working Group.
Nick joined Our Community's SmartyGrants team as a Java developer in January 2015. He studied Computer Science at University of Canterbury and brings over 12 years of experience in web application development in small to enterprise scale projects. He is passionate about writing elegant code, improving systems and permaculture.
Georgia works as part of the SmartyGrants 'service ninja' team, as well as providing general administrative and customer service support to Our Community. She's part-way through a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) degree. Georgia joined the Our Community team in March 2013, moving to Melbourne from Port Macquarie.
Dan joined Our Community in May 2015, working as an intern in the SmartyGrants development team. Dan is studying Master of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne and is enjoying utilising her knowledge to improve the functionality and usability of SmartyGrants.
Tiehua joined Our Community's SmartyGrants team in July 2015 as an intern Java developer. He has a computer science bachelor degree from JiLin University in China, where he was rewarded as one of the annual outstanding graduates. Tiehua is currently studying a Master of Information Technology (Distributed Computing) student at the University of Melbourne. He is passionate about developing user-friendly software and devoted to improving functionality.
Not-for-profit organisations, including schools, are the focus of our work. They are absolutely vital for the development of a thriving and vibrant Australia, helping us bridge the changes and transitions in work, learning, technology, demography, social roles and support - transitions that are having such major impacts on our lives in the twenty-first century.
Prior to the formation of Our Community, Australian community groups were much loved by the more than 65% of Australians who belonged to one or more, but many were under-resourced and highly vulnerable. There was a fear that starvation, dysfunction and disorganisation in the areas of fundraising, financial management, marketing and governance put the foundations of this important $100 billion sector at risk.
Since our formation in 1999, Our Community has worked with a range of partners to create practical tools and disseminate information and training that can be easily understood and immediately implemented by busy volunteers and hard-pressed staff.
We have also worked to bring all parts of this vast $100 billion sector together to achieve a united voice and bring to bear its combined purchasing power.
We later brought this same real-world approach to our work with grantmakers and businesses seeking to make their money go further and achieve more productive and authentic community connections.
The products and services we have developed and disseminated are having a real and sustained impact on the fortunes and effectiveness of many thousands of not-for-profit organisations across the country and the grantmakers, businesses and community builders who work alongside them. This has had immeasurable flow-on effects for the health and success of Australian society as a whole.
Our Community is a Certified B Corporation (we like to say we were a B Corp before B Corps were invented) that leads Australia in providing a model for socially minded businesses. We operate under a cross-subsidisation model, aiming to reach as many organisations at as low a cost as possible. Paid products and services (e.g. newsletters, books, training, SmartyGrants subscriptions, jobs listings) subsidise free or reduced-cost ones (commission-free donations through GiveNow, free Policy Bank and Board Matching Service, etc.). Many of the things we do turn a profit, but everything we do must contribute to our social objectives.
We are dogmatic and passionate. We strive for fairness and question authority. We accept increments, but strive for revolution. We use our balance sheet to create social change.
We are failure and risk-tolerant. We celebrate success and learn from our mistakes.
We believe in a work environment that allows for an authentic life balance. We value our flat structure: we share the cleaning as well as the decision-making.
Ethics, inspiration and innovation are at our core.
Our ideal environment is at the edge of chaos - the estuary region where rigid order and random chaos meet and generate high levels of adaptation, complexity and creativity.
Our Manifesto describes more about who we are and how we work. Download it here.
And you can read our Service Pledge here.
Our founding Group Managing Director Denis Moriarty and founding Chair Carol Schwartz AM led a group of social investment pioneers: Justin Liberman, Dan Phillips, Dr Richard Reed, Patrick Moriarty and Lou Panaccio.
These were the first social investors in Australia to fund a private company established solely to enhance the social good.
The seed investment enabled Our Community to start up in 1999, ride through the tech-wreck saga that emerged soon after, and grow to a point of self-sustainability.
We now proudly turn a profit while at the same time providing essential products and services for free or at prices low enough for even the smallest community group to be able to afford. Our social mission remains at our core.
Our independence means we're also able to play an advocacy role, providing an independent voice to speak out about the needs of not-for-profit organisations of all sizes and types.
Not-for-profits are our key partners in our work to build stronger, more inclusive communities. They're the experts.
Tens of thousands of groups have joined up as members, signed up for one of our newsletters, read our online materials, attended one of our workshops or conferences, or used our products. You can browse a list of the not-for-profit groups we work with here.
We also work with peak bodies and community development professionals in government agencies, particularly those at local government level who remain strong advocates for their communities.
A key part of our work takes place in concert with business. We believe that business is good and can do good. We partner with businesses who feel the same way about their role in creating shared value for the communities in which they work.
You can find information about the businesses we work with - and why - here.
As with any pioneering, innovative and risky idea, Our Community was born from the wisdom, passion and experience of a small number of highly committed people.
Chief among those was founder Denis Moriarty, who gained his inspiration from his time as a Fellow in the Vincent Fairfax Fellowships (a program then run by the St James Ethics Centre).
Denis was one of the inaugural 15 Australians in 1995 to be awarded the Vincent Fairfax scholarship to explore issues of leadership and ethics. He pays tribute for his inspiration in starting Our Community to the Vincent Fairfax Foundation and for its ongoing commitment to ethical leadership.
Another person integral to the genesis of Our Community was the founding chair and lead investor, Carol Schwartz AM - an outstanding leader, thinker and achiever. In addition Rhonda Galbally worked at Our Community until her departure in 2009.
Then there was the founding team (and their families) - some of whom began working before the organisation officially began. These were the "true believers" - people who left very senior jobs in business and in communities, hacked the long nights, early mornings, no weekends, the uncertainties that were inherent in breathing life into this highly experimental model.
Patrick Moriarty, Brian Walsh, Kate Caldecott, Rose Mircevski, Chris Borthwick were there from the start - Our Community owes much to their passion and perseverance.
The team has grown considerably but never waned in its good humour, high standards, passion and dogma for pursuing the ambitious task we have set ourselves.
You can read more about our history and our achievements in our first 15 years of operation here (PDF).
In 2014 we underwent B Lab's rigorous B Corporation Certification process, which delved deeply into our governance (including our mission, transparency and stakeholder engagement), our workforce (including how we treat and how we reward our staff), our community impact (including supplier relations, our diversity and our involvement in the community), and our environmental performance.
In all four areas Our Community scored well above the benchmark. We recorded the third-highest score for any B Corp in Australia. Our ambition is to move into top spot.
You can see the details of our assessment here.
Other indicators of the impact we are having include [as at January 2015]:
You can download a publication marking our first 15 years of ideas and inspiration here (PDF).
(We recognise that many of the items listed above are outputs, not impacts - like many for-purpose organisations, we're still working on finding the best ways to more meaningfully and reliably assess and measure these difficult but important concepts.)
The other way that we know what we are doing is working is that people tell us so. In fact, one of the joys of working at Our Community is the amazing amount of great feedback we get about our written materials, our websites, our tools, and our conferences and events.
We do our absolute best to quickly and accurately answer any question or request for assistance, whether by phone or email (though we do prefer email). We despatch orders quickly - usually on the same day as payment clears.
In our interactions with members, customers and partners, we pledge to:
Our Manifesto (PDF) says some more about who we are and how we work.
In November 2014, we released a booklet noting some of our achievements over the first 15 years of our operations.
Download it here (PDF).
Phone: (03) 9320 6800