Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
This Friday, 18 March, two Sisters will begin a national pilgrimage with a difference that will see grants of up to $10,000 being given by the Mary MacKillop Foundation to community projects that are helping Australians affected by recent natural disasters.

The Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery will see two Sisters of St Joseph drive to towns all across Australia in a Travelling Sisters tour van, visiting schools and town centres in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. They will be encouraging people to roll up their sleeves to help their communities and to donate money to the “small-life changing projects” that are directly helping the disaster recovery.

Their visit to each state will include a fundraising gala dinner, meeting small life changing projects and grant recipients, visiting areas affected by recent disasters, and spending time at over one hundred schools. The Sisters will spend a number of hours at each school, discussing with students, teachers and others the work of St Mary MacKillop and empowering young people to "Never see a need without trying to do something about it" (quote: St Mary MacKillop).

Sam Hardjono, CEO of the Mary MacKillop Foundation said, “Every year the Mary MacKillop Foundation invites community-based self-help projects to apply for a 12 month grant of up to $10,000, with 40 successful applications chosen at the end of each year. In direct response to the devastating series of natural disasters in Australia, 40 extra grants will now also be reserved for projects that focus on disaster recovery across Australia, making available a total of 80 grants of up to $10,000 each. The Roadshow will be raising money to help meet the extra grants.“

“Australians are extremely generous and compassionate people. This is evident in our response to the recent earthquake in New Zealand and in helping our Aussie neighbours affected by floods, fires and cyclones. However, we know that with talk of a flood levy and multiple disasters to donate to, there will be many small community-based projects that are working even harder to meet the growing needs around them, but without any financial assistance.”

Community-based self-help projects are invited to visit the Mary MacKillop Foundation website to apply for funding that will help them meet even more needs.

The Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery program is available to all schools in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales, ACT and Queensland. Leading the Roadshow is Sister Julianne Murphy, a qualified teacher in both primary and secondary schools who has been a principal at a number of schools throughout South Australia.

Interested schools should contact the Foundation to request the Travelling Sisters Roadshow to visit their students.

Sister Julianne, one of the Travelling Sisters commented, “In the same way that Australia’s first saint, St Mary MacKillop responded to the needs of her time, the Mary MacKillop Foundation responds to the needs of our time to relieve suffering and give hope. This is in keeping with Mary MacKillop’s philosophy to "never see a need without trying to do something about it"."

The schedule of the Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery is as follows:

o Victoria March 21 (official launch is Friday, March 18)
o South Australia May 2
o Western Australia June 6
o New South Wales July 11
o Queensland September 5

Each school that is visited by the Travelling Sisters Roadshow will learn about the recent disasters affecting Australians, how people can help and what role we all play in meeting needs around us. Students will be given postcards to write down their thoughts on the natural disasters, the greatest needs in their communities and how they are going to help.

The postcards will be collated from all across Australia at the end of the Roadshow as a keepsake and demonstration of the Australian helping-spirit that St Mary MacKillop is remembered for.

Mr Hardjono continued, “If we were to ask what St Mary MacKillop would be doing if she were alive today, we know she would be helping rebuild communities and the lives of the victims affected by these disasters. The effects of these disasters will be felt for a long time and we are committed for the long-haul. We are providing funding that will see these projects through 2012.”

Grants will not be based on the amount of donations received during the Roadshow. Rather the Foundation will meet its commitment to provide grants of up to $10,000 to 40 small life changing projects as well as up to 40 equal grants to disaster recovery projects by the end of 2011.

Every single dollar that is donated during the Roadshow will go directly to small life changing projects, including those with a particular regard to disaster recovery. None of the money raised will go to the costs of administering grants or to organising the Travelling Sisters Roadshow – Australian Disaster Recovery. Instead, the Mary MacKillop Foundation will cover the full cost so that donations can go directly to meeting the greatest needs.

How to apply for grants:
Small life changing projects can apply for grants by filling out the application form at the Mary MacKillop Foundation website. Go to ‘Receive Support’ ? ‘Projects’ at www.mackillopfoundation.org.au

How to donate to projects:
To donate to ‘small life changing projects’, including disaster recovery projects, go to www.mackillopfoundation.org.au and click ‘Donate’.


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Mary MacKillop Foundation

In the same way that Australia’s first saint, St Mary MacKillop responded to the needs of her time, the Mary MacKillop Foundation responds to the needs of our time to relieve suffering and give hope.

The Mary MacKillop Foundation continues St Mary’s legacy by supporting small life changing projects that provide relief from suffering, distress, poverty, destitution, misfortune and helplessness.

Since 1995, the Mary MacKillop Foundation has funded over 300 small life changing projects, responding to the needs of rural and isolated communities, indigenous groups and people with disabilities. It has also funded Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships for over a decade with 32 graduates and another 35 currently enrolled.

The Mary MacKillop Foundation is an organisation of the Sisters of St Joseph, the congregation that St Mary MacKillop founded in 1866.
Phoebe Netto
P: 0401036610
W: www.mackillopfoundation.org.au/


Mary MacKillop Foundation, Travelling Sisters, disaster recovery, floods, small life changing projects, charity, Melbourne, Sisters of St Joseph, tourvan



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