The KU Marcia Burgess Foundation supports this work with a passion and a strong and clear vision. The Foundation supports KU’s socially impactful programs, services and initiatives designed to make a tremendous difference for children and families with additional and complex needs to access and participate in early childhood education and care.
Mindful of the likely financial impact of COVID-19 and the impact of the global pandemic on individuals and businesses, in March 2020, the KU Board and the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation Committee decided to roll back the planned fundraising strategy and plans for 2020. KU quickly adapted fundraising plans and focused on communications about the Foundation and socially impactful programs and initiatives delivered by KU through social media campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn.
While the approach to fundraising activities and programs was adapted, the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation’s priority area of focus remained the same: To provide greater access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and young people, to early childhood education.
Aligned to both the 125 years anniversary theme and KU’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation, this will remain a focus area for a period of up to three years to be able to:
KU successfully received a grant of $9,000 from the Clark Family Foundation in 2020. The funding contributed towards the employment of a Cultural Facilitator to be based at KU Ashmont in Wagga Wagga. The Cultural Facilitator’s role forms part of innovative and localised service delivery. Self-determination and co-design principles are central to this integrated model. This ensures local community needs and values are reflected and genuinely represented within the service, and in determining ‘Phase Two’ initiatives.
This program also sees a phased approach to engaging with Aboriginal communities at a local level, increasing participation rates in quality early childhood education services, building relationships, and ultimately responding to the unique needs identified by that community in the longer term, via bespoke program delivery or funding.
Thank you to all the generous donors who supported the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation throughout 2020.
KU staff continue to make the KU Difference where it matters most through the KU Staff Giving program. The KU Staff Giving program provides a way for staff to make tax effective donations to the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation through regular payroll deductions.
A change in funding rules in 2020 prohibited government funding received by KU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs from being directed, in part, towards the provision of fee subsidies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This left a significant and urgent gap.
In 2020, $25,543 in fee subsidies supported 30 Aboriginal children’s access to KU services. This was an increase on 2019 when $16,824 in subsidies supported 20 children.
To ensure every Aboriginal child and family continues to have access to quality early childhood education, the KU Board and KU Marcia Burgess Foundation agreed to direct the combined donations from the KU Staff Giving program and donations from families to meet the gap in fee subsidies.
For the first time in 2020, enrolled KU families were given the opportunity to donate fees, during the COVID-19 ‘free fee’ period, and a portion of holding deposits usually refunded at the end of the year were donated to the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation. More than $24,000 was donated. In a year of uncertainty and financial constraints for many Australians, including KU families, this was a tremendous response.
The KU Marcia Burgess Foundation provided seed funding for initiatives identified to have a positive social impact for children and families.
Programs developed in 2020 include:
Based on the learnings from the pilot of the KU Healthy Start Program in 2018/19, Food for Life was conceived. It focused on healthy eating and nutrition, as developing good relationships with food is vital for growing children and healthy families.
Food for Life incorporates a resource kit to support wider implementation across KU and the development of a 10-module digital training program to develop centre-based staff capacity to lead, implement and then share/mentor the program themselves.
In 2020, the KU Marcia Burgess Foundation funded the purchase of 50 Sound Amplification Systems (SAS) that amplify the teacher’s voice and make it easier for children to hear their teacher and friends more clearly, thereby improving their attentiveness and reducing distractions.
SAS associated with the Deadly Ears program based in Queensland will make a difference, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children diagnosed with otitis media (inflammatory disease of the middle ear).