The Our Community group provides advice, connections, training and easy-to-use tech tools for people and organisations working to build stronger communities.
Our partners in that work are not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises; government, philanthropic and corporate grantmakers; donors and volunteers; enlightened businesses; and other community builders.
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. Our websites and our services are always changing.
Our vision centres on 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 pre-eminent social investor Carol Schwartz AM, and renowned ethicist Dr Simon Longstaff AO.
Our dynamic, committed team comprises 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:
Sarah is the Development Manager in the SmartyGrants team. She has over 10 years of 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 its IT department and then as the coordinator of a multi-million-dollar livelihoods project funded by a corporate grant. She is particularly interested in poverty reduction, information and communications technology for development, and women's rights and empowerment.
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.
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 Australian 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. Before this she was the 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 2013. She worked as a developer in the Philippines and Singapore for more than a decade before migrating to Australia in 2011. Her previous roles entailed developing, maintaining and supporting a range of web-based applications including an automated billing system, a merchant and banking loyalty system and an insurance system application.
Merinda is part of the founding team behind Our Consumer Place, a resource centre auspiced by Our Community and 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 joint 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, services, networks, websites and small businesses.
Mark joined the Our Community team as Marketing Manager in 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 member of the board of the national youth arts peak body, Young People and the Arts Australia.
Lily is experienced in arts management and has a passion for the not-for-profit sector. She honed her skills in data management working for the Australian Tapestry Workshop and volunteering at organisations such as Snuff Puppets. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Dunedin Polytechnic School of Fine Arts, New Zealand, and is a practising artist. Lily heads up the SmartyGrants service and administration team.
Anna joined Our Community in 2015 as a Business Analyst with the SmartyGrants team. Anna has more than 10 years of 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.
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. Before joining Our Community, Rustam spent five years working as a software developer for one of the largest banks in the Commonwealth of Independent States (formerly the Soviet Union), where he worked on online banking and money-transfer solutions.
Lars joined Our Community in early 2016 after amassing nearly two decades of experience in digital and large enterprise IT as a software developer, architect and consultant. With a strong specialisation in Java EE, his expertise also encompasses a broad array of web and integration technologies, attained in a range of industries including banking, online retail, government and insurance. An advocate of open source software, Lars is enthusiastic about delivering robust, scalable and secure systems that are a pleasure to use. Lars holds a Bachelor of Business Systems from Monash University.
Gemma works in the grants department, tracking grants throughout Australia and compiling the Funding Centre's BusiGrants newsletter. As part of the training team, she helps to coordinate the Diploma in Business (Governace) course and other workshops. Gemma also works in outreach as part of a youth project.
Amy is Our Community's Creative Manager, handling the design and development of promotional materials, books, newsletters and websites for Our Community and GiveNow. 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, and a postgraduate Diploma in Graphic Design from RMIT. As a passionate campaigner for change regarding how animals are treated in our society, Amy authors a blog on compassionate eating in Melbourne, and volunteers with various animal advocacy groups.
Joost van der Linden
Joost joined Our Community in 2016 as our first data scientist. An active and passionate member of the data science community in Melbourne, Joost leads the organisation of the yearly Melbourne Datathon. Joost holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Applied Mathematics from The Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands and is currently working towards a PhD in Engineering at The University of Melbourne. He has a keen interest in applying the data science skills from his research to solve real world problems and contribute to society in a meaningful way.
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 manages the training team and information technology assets at Our Community. Intrigued by the notion of a social enterprise providing high quality community services, technology, resources, and training to the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors, Alan joined Our Community as part of the funding database management team, and has since taken on a diverse range of roles in information technology, marketing, training coordination and project management.
Mark is the principal software 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 of experience in IT architecture and development. Mark was the recipient of Our Community's 2012 Innovation Award and was part of Melbourne University's 2013 Dean's Honours List, which recognises high-performing students.
Lidia Milevski has a Business Degree from RMIT and 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 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 providing technical support to the Australian Taxation Office and supporting small businesses as an 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 has served as head of the Victorian Government's Information Service, Managing Director of Strategic Australia Pty Ltd (a boutique management consultancy), and Commissioner and Deputy CEO of the Victorian Tourism Commission. Denis is a graduate of the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership program 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.
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. Before 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 develops web applications and software-as-a-service. His background includes user experience design and applications programming for projects in 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 the SmartyGrants team.
Tim brings more than 15 years of experience in web applications development and architecture to Our Community's SmartyGrants team, having worked in the online, telecommunications and finance industries. He is active in the open Source community and is the author of the popular JSCover project, which he continues to maintain. He has a double degree in computer science and electronic engineering from the University of Melbourne.
Lachlan joined Our Community as a marketing and communications intern in 2016, having previously worked with the GiveNow team on social media projects. With a passion for politics and love for writing, Lachlan is studying a Bachelor of Arts degree at The University of Melbourne.
Kathy is an 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, and helps to lead reforms 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 served and continues to serve on many not-for-profit boards and grantmaking bodies. Kathy was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2014.
Chris worked with a variety of community groups during more than eight years as a journalist for publications in Melbourne's western suburbs. He currently serves as Knowledge Curator for the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM), having worked for several years as editor of the Our Community publications Raising Funds and Board Builder. Chris holds degrees in journalism and literature from Deakin University, volunteers as a junior basketball coach and is a hopeless coffee and console gaming addict.
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. He commenced his career with IBM, and since 2000 has focused on business process solutions. Charles is a voluntary member of the Business Development Board for one of Victoria's regional health, welfare and community services providers.
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 past four years.
Julie-Ann joined the Our Community training team in 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.
Jess joined Our Community early in 2016 to lead the SmartyGrants delivery team. She has more than 12 years' experience in the IT industry, from consulting with a niche software development company, to working with large-scale corporates. Starting her career as a Business Analyst, Jess has always been keen to understand customer requirements and ensure systems are built with users' experience at heart. Before joining SmartyGrants, she ran large scale IT projects in the banking sector. Her passion for community (in particular Scouting) makes Our Community is a natural home.
Megan joined Our Community in 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 in 2014 opened Paramount Calisthenics College, a not-for-profit sporting group in Melbourne's Craigieburn area.
Jodie heads up the service and training team of the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM), where she focuses on continual improvement of our interactions with clients and colleagues. Previously, Jodie worked in a range of roles - marketing and communications, membership services, bank analyst, even tour guide. She has also worked in grantmaking within the research and planning area at Beyondblue. Jodie has a Diploma in Business Management and train-the-trainer qualifications, and she is currently completing a Bachelor of Business (Information Systems).
Jarred works as part of the GiveNow team, helping not-for-profits with their fundraising appeals. Jarred has a BA from Monash University with majors 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 the Executive Director of GiveNow. Over the past 15 years, Cathy has focused on building resources available to the not-for-profit sector by promoting innovative philanthropic practices, capacity building and impact investing. She has worked at the Trawalla Foundation, the 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 the Women's Leadership Institute Australia, the Queen Victoria Women's Centre Trust, and Social Ventures Australia's Social Impact Fund (Investment Committee). She is a member of the Impact Investment Australia Working Group.
Nick joined Our Community's SmartyGrants team as a Java developer in 2015. He studied computer science at the University of Canterbury and has more than 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 2013, moving to Melbourne from Port Macquarie.
Dan joined Our Community in 2015 as an intern in the SmartyGrants development team. Dan is studying a Master of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne and is enjoying using her knowledge to improve the functionality and usability of SmartyGrants.
Tiehua joined Our Community's SmartyGrants team in 2015 as an intern Java developer. He has a bachelor degree in computer science from JiLin University in China, where he was recognised as an outstanding graduate. Tiehua is currently studying for a Master of Information Technology (Distributed Computing) degree 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 absolutely vital for the development of a thriving and vibrant Australia, helping us navigate the changes in work, learning, technology, demography, social roles and support that are having such major impacts on our lives in the 21st century.
Before Our Community was formed, 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. 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 its formation in 1999, Our Community has worked with a range of partners to create and share information and training that can be easily understood and immediately used 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 that leads Australia in providing a model for socially minded businesses (we like to say we were a B Corp before B Corps were invented). We operate under a cross-subsidisation model, aiming to reach as many organisations as possible at the lowest cost 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, the free Policy Bank, the free 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 we question authority. We accept increments, but strive for revolution. We use our balance sheet to create social change.
We are tolerant of risks and failures. We celebrate success and learn from our mistakes.
We believe in a work environment that allows for an authentic work-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 of who we are and how we work. Download it here.
And you can read our service pledge here.
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, Lou Panaccio - who became 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, speaking with an independent voice 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 at local government level, where community advocacy is particularly strong.
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 read about the businesses we work with - and why - here.
Like 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 Fellowship 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 to the Vincent Fairfax Foundation for his inspiration in starting Our Community 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 and hacked the long nights, early mornings, no weekends and many uncertainties inherent in breathing life into this highly experimental model.
Patrick Moriarty, Brian Walsh, Kate Caldecott, Rose Mircevski and 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).
The easiest way to remain in the loop is to subscribe for our free newsletter, Our Community Matters, and our email promotions and updates. You can do so here.
In 2014, Our Community 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 our 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 of any B Corp in Australia. Our ambition is to move into top spot.
You can see the details of our assessment here.
As of January 2015, other indicators of the impact we are having include:
(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, websites, tools, 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.
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