Bertalli Article

Benalla P-12 students constructing seats for the new children’s playground at the Benalla Botanical Gardens.

A local family legacy is helping to change the lives of Benalla’s young people by providing funding to deliver opportunities for students.

The Bertalli family has made the largest local donation of its kind to Tomorrow Today Foundation, giving $300,000 over three years to encourage, engage and inspire Benalla’s young people.

Named in honour of their parents, Dick and Vera, the “Dick and Vera Bertalli Educational Program” was established by brothers Neville and Ken Bertalli out of a desire to give back to the community that has assisted their family bakery business over 60 years.

The Bertallis arrived in Benalla during the early 1950’s and started a successful bakery business in their family name.   They were considered responsible employers and threw themselves into local life, becoming involved with football, tennis, golf and bowls.

Decades on, Neville said they appreciated the work the Tomorrow Today Foundation was doing in Benalla to improve student outcomes, and they wanted to see improved school retention, higher scholastic levels, increased trade apprenticeships and less reliance on social benefits. One of the specific programs being funded from their commitment is Hands On Learning, which provides an opportunity for students who are not engaged in the classroom to enjoy success by working on practical local projects. Hands on Learning is offered by both Benalla P-12 College and FCJ College, and recent works include installation of outdoor settings and beautification works at Avon St campus, paths at CAL Farm (Yooralla) and the exercise stations around Lake Benalla. Hands on Learning has shown outstanding results for participating students with improvements in literacy numeracy and wellbeing, and reduced absenteeism.

Chair of the Board at Tomorrow Today Foundation, Sally Gamble said “the support from the Bertalli family enables us to continue improving young people’s educational success by building connections between teenagers, families, the community and school. We are immensely grateful to the Bertalli family.”

Neville Bertalli admits that the family is excited to be part of such a progressive and ambitious program.

The Bertallis’ legacy has now been recognised on a national level, with their donation featured in a recent Outback magazine article on rural philanthropy.

The publication recognised the importance of place based giving – the very core of Tomorrow Today Foundation’s work, the aim of which is to create a stronger and more resilient Benalla.

Ms Gamble said that all donations make a difference, no matter what size.

“Many wonderful locals help in any way they can, whether it be financially or through volunteering.”

For further information about supporting the work of the Foundation, please contact Pat Claridge, Executive Officer, Tomorrow Today Foundation, on (03) 5762 1211.