Chairperson Michael Betts Update
It is my pleasure as Chairperson to update our donors and stakeholders on the work of the Geelong Community Foundation.
The Foundation has raised a record amount of money in the 2022 financial year of over $1.7 million. We continue to see a growth in bequests, both in number and value, and we have welcomed 21 new Sub Funds during the year. The P500 program continues to grow in a way that has exceeded expectations since first established in 2017. We believe that giving donors an in-depth role in the P500 grants process is fundamental to its success. It is also very pleasing that we continue to receive strong donations from existing donors who obviously recognise the strong contribution to the community our grants are making.
Since inception of the Foundation, we have been guided in our investment processes by J B Were and in particular by Adam Blennerhassett and Michael Browne. In late 2021, we were advised of fundamental changes to the JB Were fee structure for 2022 and that led the Board to conduct a limited tender for future financial advice. The tender process included J B Were and was overseen by Cameron White, Chair of the Board’s Investment Committee. The tender led to a unanimous resolution of the Board to appoint Wilsons Advisory as our new advisors. At both Board level and personally, we have expressed the appreciation of the Foundation for the quality of advice provided by JB Were over many years. The administrative transfer was implemented late in June 2022 and we acknowledge the constructive way Adam, Michael and their JB Were team facilitated the transfer to Wilsons Advisory. Chris Taylor and Peter Moran have attended two Investment Committee Meetings so far and have supported the existing Investment Policy of the Board.
After many years of strong investment growth, equity markets across the globe suffered sharp declines in the last quarter of financial year 2022, meaning that our corpus declined slightly during that financial year. The Board, through its Investment Committee, has kept a very close watch on market conditions and had decided that no short-term changes to the Foundation’s Investment Policy was required.
Michael J Betts