AUSTRALIAN LIONS FOUNDATION
After Cyclone Tracy demolished most of Darwin in December 1974, in the period 1975 to 1976, Lions Australia formed two bodies –
Australian Lions Community Emergency Relief Fund (“ALCERF”) to co-ordinate fundraising for disaster relief;
And a National Disaster Committee
The Australian Lions Foundation was formed in 1981 by the District Governors of the day and this was formalised at the Multiple District Convention of Lions at Mt. Gambier in 1983, which then replaced the two earlier formed committees.
The Australian Lions Foundation was formed with this purpose: -To provide help and assistance for public relief, emergency aid and community welfare for persons in necessitous circumstances in Australia.
Until recently the Foundation operated by a Deed of Trust. This changed last year from a Trust to a “Company Limited by Guarantee”. These changes have resulted from a need to comply with new legislation that was identified when the Foundation applied for national fundraising approval and the Make a Donation button was added to the website.
Lions Clubs have been asked to re-apply to be a member and provide their guarantee that if, in the case the Foundation is wound up, and if it has any debts, each Club who is a member may be liable for an amount up to the value of A$1.00. It is highly unlikely that would occur as the Foundation operates only on a no- debt basis. Although several requests have been sent to C1 Clubs, there are still a few who have not complied. If those Clubs wish to apply for a Grant or an Award, they will be ruled ineligible until they renew their membership. This is a “once only” application, and does not have to be done every year.
The ALF Provides financial assistance and support, in times of Disasters/Emergencies and for Community Welfare Projects. Our District had first-hand knowledge of this assistance when the Sampson Flat and Pinery Fires burnt through those areas in January and November 2015 respectively.
These Fires saw the need for some major support from the ALF. Many families had very little time to get out of the destructive path of these fires and were left with virtually the clothes they were wearing, and very little else. The need to get assistance to those who had lost everything was urgent. The best form for this initial help is usually money, and this is what the Foundation does extremely well, and extremely quickly…
The ALF is managed by six Directors, one from each State and Territory. Directors are elected to serve for a three-year term, with two Directors being elected each year at the Foundation’s AGM, on a rotation system, to ensure continuity.
Gifts are received from Lions, Lioness and Leo Clubs, Zones, Districts other Lions Groups, Individual members of the public - they are Tax Deductible for members of the public. Funds are also generated from Interest earned on Investments.
All gifts are acknowledged and through the ALF Award Program, Clubs, Zones, Districts and other Lions Groups can recognise individuals or groups from within the community and the Lions Family. This is the case, unless an Appeal for a specific disaster has been issued. These donations are not eligible to be counted towards Awards.
With the Awards, there is no restriction on the donor as to who they can recognise. Many Clubs, Zones, Districts and other Lions Groups recognise a member or members for such things as, years of service or because the member has completed a project of some consequence or has been a very active member of the club or of our organisation or community.
Consider rewarding a hard-working valued Lions Club member or a non-Lion member of your community with an Award.
William R Tresise Fellow $2000
Ian M Stockdale Humanitarian $1000
James D Richardson Honour Award $500
Community Service Award (non-Lions) $250
The other important arm of the Foundation is Grants:
Emergency Grants: These are the monetary grants given to individuals and families in cases of extreme emergency…unfortunately usually following a devastating disaster.
Disaster Recovery Grants: These grants are what we would rather not see too often, as they are just exactly what they are called! Disaster Recovery.
Special Purpose Grants: These grants are to provide help and assistance in all forms for community welfare on a National, State of District basis.
General Purpose Grants: Many clubs apply for a General Purpose Grant, these are a 50/50 matching grant to the value of $15,000. Clubs do not necessarily have to have raised the whole 50% themselves, they may have had money donated or granted from another source. (Local Govt, for example).
The ALF donated $30,000 to the Skin Cancer Screening Vehicle $15,000 to C1 and $15,000 to C2, which has now begun its journey throughout the C Districts.
Australia Wide we are averaging about $200,000 per quarter in General Purpose Grants.
Compassionate Grants: At the National Convention in Canberra in 2013 Dick Smith donated one million dollars to the Australian Lions Foundation. One of his reasons for choosing Lions was because he knew that all money donated would be used in the way he specified, and not taken up with wages and expenses etc. His stipulation in giving us this money is that it be used for Compassionate reasons to families or an individual who may be suffering financial hardship through illness or other circumstances beyond their control. This money cannot be used for any other type of Grant Application