The David Burgess Foundation (DBF) is a unique organisation. It plays a critical role in providing scholarships that enable Victorian Secondary school students who have suffered adversity to undertake and successfully complete tertiary studies; an outcome unlikely to have been achieved without the Foundation’s support.
The key to the scholarship’s success is that it provides financial support combined with mentoring throughout the students period of tertiary study. The financial support assists in covering educational fees whilst the mentoring provides much needed and valued emotional, career and life guidance for students, many of whom would have no such support otherwise.
The number of wonderful young Australians to have received valuable support and guidance is now well over 50 and counting, since the Foundations’ inception in 1991. This amounts to over $250,000 invested in supporting their education together with countless hours of caring mentor support. The Foundation is run by a committed Board of Management who all volunteer their time, and is supported by a generous and enthusiastic base of supporters who have collectively donated over $500,000 since its inception.
Foundation expenses are kept to a minimum, and all administration and mentoring is carried out by volunteers. We do not receive any grants but rely on donations from our supporters. Over 99% of donations received are invested and contributed to annual scholarships. The donated funds are managed by ANZ Trustees, under the auspices of the Victorian Community Foundation.
All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
FUND-RAISING DINNER 2013
The 2013 DBF fundraising dinner will go down as possibly the best yet. With a long history of holding memorable dinners since the very regal affair at Queens Hall, Parliament House of Victoria in 1993, this is indeed a big call.
The DBF dinners have become a much anticipated and loved event with this year’s being around the tenth held in the Foundation’s 22 year history (we’ve lost count of the exact number). They not only provide an opportunity for the DBF to raise much needed funds but are also an opportunity for the ever-growing DBF supporter base to catch-up and be reminded of what makes this Foundation so special. In fact this year was a sell-out with a healthy mix of long term supporters and those introduced to the Foundation for the first time.
As usual there was more to be done than time to do it in but that only added to the energy of the night. This year we were spoilt with the brilliant musical talent of Ed Worland, a Sydney songwriter and lead singer of Blues outfit Oxblvd. Ed performed a number of songs that held the audience captive and demonstrated why Ed and his crew are one of the ‘to be watched’ talents in the Australian musical scene today.
One of the highlights of any dinner and a wonderful reminder of why the Foundation does what it does was the awarding of the 2013 scholarships. Our recipients, Ivy Nguyen (who completed her VCE at Sunshine College Sunshine) and Aaron Wills (who studied VCE at Lynell Hall Community College, Richmond) were presented the awards by Kerri Ferguson, General Manager of Innovation & Creative Industries at Box Hill Institute. Box Hill Institute have been very loyal long term supporters of the DBF and we were thrilled and grateful for having Kerri present the awards on the night.
Following the scholarship presentations we travelled down memory lane to answer a question that’s increasingly being asked by new students and supporters alike; “who was David Burgess?”. And who better to answer that than Wayne Sidwell, a very old and dear friend of both David and the Burgess family. Wayne’s moving portrayal of the larger than life character known to all as Burge can be read in the ‘About the DBF’ section of this site.
And that wasn’t the end of it. Continuing on with the retrospective theme we were then honored to have our inaugural 1992 DBF scholarship winner Mikayla Rose provide some insight into what the DBF has meant to her. And here it is.
Tonight I am going to talk a little bit about faith.
Because in my story that has been one of the most powerful enabling ingredients.
I went to primary school in Stanley, in North East Victoria. At that time, I was one of only 30 kids, in the whole school. I loved school, it was a holiday from life at home. An escape and a haven. I very quickly figured out that here was an opportunity to take a different path.
There might have been others who I missed, but it was my primary school teacher, Mr Sanderson, who first had faith in me. He didn’t tell me, “Mikayla, I have faith in you”. I could just feel it. He encouraged me, challenged me and believed that I could succeed. And that is where it started, the small idea that, maybe I could.
Later, in high school it was my PE teacher, an English teacher and a drama teacher. They too, believed that I could. And so slowly but surely the idea that “I could” grew with me.
Mum is friends with Mr Sanderson. And she told me a few years ago that he had quit teaching. When I asked why, she said because he felt “what’s the point??” That he was not making a difference. That day I wrote Mr Sanderson a letter to thank him. I explained that he alone, that his faith in me, was the most powerful pivotal point in my life…
I imagine that there would have been a few young people who would have had the same opinion of Burge.
And so it is fitting that when I sat across the desk from Mary and Kath during my interview for the David Burgess Foundation inaugural scholarship in 1992, and later when they rang me to tell me that my application was successful, and later throughout the three years of their support as a scholarship recipient and later, throughout the 21 years of our friendship, that their faith in me gives me incredible strength.
Believing in oneself and our ability to achieve our own goals is made so much easier when others have faith in us.
I would like you to know. That when you do this for someone. What you will find if you look. Is that they are likely to pay it forward, time and time again. And so amongst all the chaos and the clutter, the bombs and other bad bits, there is a ground swell of goodness, so much more powerful and sustaining than any of the bad bits.
Thank you to the Burgess family and friends for establishing and continuing the David Burgess Foundation. Thank you to you the supporters who have been here since day one.
Thank you for having faith in us. To Burge.
Thank you to Mikayla, Wayne and our scholarship winners. And thank you to our very generous sponsors and prize donors and to those who attended and gave so generously on the night. We look forward to reacquainting ourselves with our ever growing family at the next DBF fundraising dinner in a few years from now.
From top left clockwise: the talented Ed Worland; Wayne Sidwell and an old friend; Tim Burgess presenting the 2013 scholarships to Aaron Wills and Ivy Nguyen; Inaugural 1992 winner Mikayla Rose; The fabulous Fountains restaurant packed to the rafters; Robyn Worland presenting a thank you gift to Mary Burgess.