Our Structure

The Geelong Community Foundation has been endorsed by the Australian Tax Office as a charity. Donations to the Foundation’s Gift Fund are tax deductible and the Foundation is exempt from tax.

It has been set up to support the people living in the City of Greater Geelong, the Borough of Queenscliffe, the Surf Coast Shire and the southern part of the Golden Plains Shire.

The Foundation is able to support charitable organisations across the full spectrum of health and welfare services, as well as cultural programs and projects that support our environment and assist indigenous residents living in our region.

The Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of Directors, with a wide range of skills and experience and an extensive knowledge of the community. Our staff are part-time employees and they have the support of various professional companies providing services at reduced or pro bono rates.

Our Staff and Board

Gail Rodgers Chief Executive Officer

Gail commenced as Chief Executive Officer on 1 February 2016, succeeding inaugural Executive Officer Andrew Lawson who retired.

Gail joins the Foundation with a distinguished career spanning roles in the community and corporate sectors, and a passion for the Geelong community.

Since 2007 Gail was the Manager at Volunteering Geelong and has great knowledge and connections in the Geelong community. Gail is formerly the Corporate Citizenship Manager at Ford Australia and Executive Director at United Way Geelong (now Give Where You Live).

Sally Friend Development Manager

Sally Friend started work at the Foundation on December 1 2014. Sally has extensive experience in the philanthropic sector including with the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

John Miles Chairman

Joined the GCF Board in 2011.

John Miles recently retired from a distinguished career at Marcus Oldham College spanning 30 years. His roles included Company Secretary and Deputy Principal Business and Development for the College. John studied accounting at the Gordon Institute and is a member of the Australian Society of Accountants and is a Certified Practising Accountant.

John was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship in 1997 and is on the Victorian Chapter Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Selection Committee. He is also a Trustee of the Geelong Advertiser Music Trust.

Val Lawrence OAM DSJ

Joined the GCF Board in 1999.  Chairman 2009-2015

Val is a Civil Celebrant and currently the Vice Chairman of Red Cross Zone 6. She is also a Board member of the Queenscliff Maritime Museum, a Director of the Queenscliff Point Lonsdale Community Enterprise and President of the Point Lonsdale/Queenscliff Red Cross Unit. She was a Councillor of the Borough of Queenscliffe from 1999 to 2008 and Mayor of the Borough in 2001 to 2004 and was awarded a Federation Medal in 2001 for her Community Service.

Val has been a Board member of the Grace McKellar Centre, Vice President of the Barwon Heads Golf Club, Board  member of the Geelong Otway Tourism, Chairman of the Geelong/Barwon Region and an original Board member of G21.

She is an honorary JP, and Chairman of the St George the Martyr 150th Celebrations Committee.

Ed Coppe B.Com FAICD FCPA

Joined the GCF board in 2008

Ed is Managing Director of Ed Coppe Wealth Management and is currently the Chairman of G21 Geelong Strategic Alliance, Deputy Chair of the Regional Development Australia Barwon South West Committee, and a board member of the Committee for Geelong.

Born and educated in Geelong, Ed had an international business career with Mars Inc. in Finance and Marketing roles before returning to Geelong in 1995. He has been a City of Greater Geelong Mayor and has served on the Major Events, Central Geelong, Geelong Chamber of Commerce and Give Where You Live boards.

Brian Quarrell

Joined the GCF Board in January 2009

Brian is an experienced Financial Planner with Bendigo Financial Planning. Brian was previously a Director and part owner of Wheeler Financial Services Pty. Ltd., which was acquired by Bendigo Financial Planning in October 2013.

The Wheelers business was established in 1964 and is a leading financial services business in Geelong. Brian had been with Wheelers since 1989 and continues to work with clients in finance and investment related roles under the Bendigo Financial Planner banner.

Brian is also Chairman of the Geelong chapter of the Financial Planning Association of Australia, a position he has held for the past 10 years. He is a Certified Financial Planner and also a SMSF Specialist  Advisor™. Brian has served as a Committee Member of the Geelong Business Club and was President of the Club from 2003-2004.

Diane Ritchie

Joined the GCF Board in 2010.

Diane has a distinguished teaching career across regional Victoria, and in recent years has worked for Rice Village and Kalkee Geelong in public relations and project management roles. She is a former Bannockburn Shire Councillor and was instigator and chair of the Wallington Strawberry Fair and Meredith Country Festival.

Diane is currently co-ordinating rural Catholic parish and farm duties on the family farm at Bamganie near Meredith.

Kate Betts Deputy Chairman B.Arts

Joined the GCF Board in 2010.

Kate works for Alcoa of Australia overseeing community relations at the company’s Point Henry and Anglesea operations. Kate has worked in communications and marketing roles for Give Where You Live, Westfield and Melbourne Airport.

Kate is a graduate of the Leaders for Geelong program and has completed the Partnership Brokers Accreditation Scheme. She is a co-founder of Geelong Mums and has held board positions on Sacred Heart College Council, Dalai Lama Geelong visits, Rainbow Riders and Central Geelong Marketing.

Lachlan McColl

Joined the GCF Board in November 2013.

Lachie is a Director of Value ADE, providing business valuation services in the Geelong area. Prior to starting Value ADE in 2017, he was a Director of Corporate Finance at Crowe Horwath.

Lachie is a Chartered Accountant and Business Valuation Specialist.

He lives in Geelong with his family and is a graduate of the Leaders for Geelong program. Lachie is also a Director of Bethany Community Support and the Geelong Kindergarten Association.

David Lindsay LLB

Joined the GCF Board in 2014

David joined Wighton and McDonald Lawyers in 1984 and became a partner in 1986. He retired from Wightons Lawyers in 2013 following a successful career were he became an accredited specialist in the areas of Wills and Estates along with Business Law.

On leaving school, David joined the Law Department in 1964 and worked in the office of the Public Trustee prior to being appointed to the Courts at Hamilton in 1965. Then followed roles Clerk of Courts at the Courts in Wangaratta, Malvern and Ballarat. In 1974 David was appointed as Clerk of Courts in Nhill and came to Geelong as a Clerk of Courts in 1977.

While working in the Court system, David studied for his law degree part time. During his career David has been very involved with the Law Institute in lawyer education in the areas of Wills and Estates and Business law.

He was an active Apex member for many years and was Chairman of Villamanta Disability Legal Services for some years. He is currently the Chairman of Eastcoast Vacations which is a Timeshare Trust.

David is also Vice President of Kondanani Zambia Inc. which supports some schools in Zambia and he is also a volunteer supervisor with the L2P driving program run by the City of Greater Geelong.

Hayden Torney CFP, B.Econ and Dip.Ed. Monash

Joined the GCF Board in 2014

In 1989, Hayden left the teaching profession and, with his wife Sally, started Muirfield Financial Services. Over the past 26 years they have built Muirfield into a very successful Financial Planning organization specializing in services for clients over 55.

Following graduation from Monash University, Hayden taught Legal Studies and Economics at Oberon and North Geelong High Schools for 17 years.

Hayden has been an active member of the Jan Juc Surf Club since 1973 where he served as President and Club Captain prior to being recognized as a life member.

He is a Committee Member of the Geelong Chapter of the Financial Planning Association.

Penny Whitehead B.A. Hons (Monash), M.I.B. (Melb)

Joined the GCF Board in 2014

Penny is Deputy Director-Development and Commercial Operations at Geelong Gallery.  Raised in Geelong, Penny has almost two decades of experience leading marketing and communications, sponsorship and partnership requirements of a range of organisations including, Love Lorne, Lorne Festival of Performing Arts, Yering Station, Abercrombie & Kent, Austins & Co., Adventure Flight Co and Geelong Gallery.

In addition, Penny contributes to the Geelong community as a current committee member of the Chilwell Primary School Fundraising committee and was also co-founding committee member and past President of Extravaganza Geelong and a past Geelong Gallery Board member.

Richard Anderson B. Com LLB

Joined the GCF Board in 2014

Richard is a principal and former chairman of Harwood Andrews Lawyers. As well as holding degrees in law and commerce, Richard is an accredited specialist in commercial litigation, the area in which he practises.

Over a number of years Richard has been involved in various non-profit organisations including the role of Treasurer at the Geelong Community Legal Service and Villamanta Legal Service. He has been a board member of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Chairman of St Laurence Community Services.

Currently Richard is a board member of Sirovilla, a Trustee of the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition and a council member of Marcus Oldham College.