New CEO says Ballarat Foundation to have greater impact

The way the Ballarat Foundation works with other organisations to make a collective impact is what first attracted Matt Jenkins to the role of board member.

DRIVING FORCE: Ballarat Foundation's Matt Jenkins has stepped into the role of chief executive officer. He stands in front of Chatham House. Picture: Luka KauzlaricDRIVING FORCE: Ballarat Foundation’s Matt Jenkins has stepped into the role of chief executive officer. He stands in front of Chatham House. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

Now as the new chief executive officer, he hopes to bridge the gap between business and not-for-profit organisations and make Ballarat a driving force for corporate social responsibility.

The Ballarat Foundation and its affiliate United Way Ballarat will explore how organisations can collaborate together, make it easier for businesses and individuals to donate their time and skills, and help smaller not-for-profit organisations have a greater impact.

To help do this, the Ballarat Foundation has purchased Chatham House on Lydiard Street South with plans to turn it into a central hub working with local charities.

“It is fantastic for our long-term stability,” Mr Jenkins said. “But what the intent is there is to make it a hive so we are that centre body for philanthropy locally.”

Mr Jenkins has been based in Ballarat for the past three years, working and commuting as the regional executive with the Bank of Melbourne.

He joined the board of The Ballarat Foundation and United Way Ballarat in March 2016 to give something back to the community, especially since he was not working locally.

“When you’re looking after so many communities in the banking role it’s great, but when it’s your own community you’re living in and working in every day there is far greater personal satisfaction and reward for the difference you’re making,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The Ballarat Foundation really connected with me because it really impacts people who may not ordinarily be able to help themselves in that social disadvantage sector.”

As a board member, Mr Jenkins has been heavily involved in the new strategic plan, which was implemented 12 months ago.

One of the most exciting aspects of his work so far has been witnessing its success on the ground.

Some of the areas that have experienced the greatest impact include the foundation’s work with youth success, including the L2P Learner Driver Mentor Program, the Ballarat’s Reads program and programs around food and housing security.

Next on the calendar for the foundation is the event Food For Thought, which is part of Plate Up Ballarat and raises awareness about food insecurity within the region.

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