Benalla’s Liz Chapman first raised the idea of forming a community foundation after conducting sessions at a 1999 Regional Australia Summit, which had explored ways to revitalise Australia’s rural and regional areas.
The Canberra Summit had highlighted the potentially strategic role of philanthropy but, at the time, community foundations were relatively new to Australia.
Liz – who had agriculture and rural development qualifications and had worked for many years at local, regional and national levels – saw the potential of foundations to give people the means to support where they lived. She raised the idea with other local people and then led the Foundation’s development.
Establishing an Identity
A community foundation reference group was formed and a feasibility study grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) kick-started the establishment of what became the Tomorrow Today Foundation.
FRRR Chair, Rt. Hon. Ian Sinclair, launched the Foundation at the Benalla Art Gallery in November 2002.
Early on, the fledgling TTF demonstrated its value by providing Small Grants – supported by local businesses – and undertaking community development funded by external grants.
Tomorrow Today identified its role as an active partner in local projects that could strengthen the community.
Investing in Benalla’s Future
The Foundation also initiated and led projects, like the Education Benalla Program, which had the potential to create long-term benefits.
Tomorrow Today Foundation now has a reputation as an innovative and well-run organisation. It is a leading example of a rural community foundation that punches well above its weight.
A comprehensive history of the Foundation and the Education Benalla Program can be downloaded here.