Dare 2 Dream Annual General Meeting Wednesday 11th August 2021 - Presidents Report
As an organisation whose mission is to empower underprivileged communities in the developing world and in Australia with knowledge, skills and resources to improve quality of life, I believe that Dare 2 Dream has been most successful in fulfilling and furthering this mission in 2020-2021. The COVID-19 Pandemic has raised many challenges but D2D has met these admirably. It continues to be an active and vibrant support group thanks to a small but dedicated Executive Committee and the support of the members and the wider community.
The 2020-2021 Executive consisted of 15 members:
Rita Shepherd (President), Vince Ruggiero (Vice-President), Daniella Zuppa (Treasurer), Jo Riccio (Secretary) Helen Barnard, Lisa Slaven, Robert Shepherd, Milly Ruggiero, Janet Ruggiero, Daniella Colangelo, Danielle Nicholas, Ron Carey, Lisa Slaven, Helen Barnard and Cate Mc Guire. This relatively small committee is a vibrant and talented group who have given many hours of their personal time, outside of the formal committee meetings to work on sub-committee projects and events.
Their contribution has been enormous in helping to manage the many facets of our Foundation including providing management advice, organising fundraising activities, sourcing donations, managing Child Sponsorship, managing the website, maintaining communication with members, managing the finances and promoting Dare 2 Dream and its work. I am most grateful for their dedication and untiring work and their selflessness in making the time in their busy lives to help others. I would like to offer special thanks to Daniella Zuppa for taking over the Treasurer’s role and to Jo Riccio for her Secretarial Role Tony Fogarty has voluntarily audited the accounts of Dare2Dream since its inception and we sincerely thank him for this. We also thank Perks Accountants for providing free the accounting software D2D uses.
The Dare 2 Dream Foundation was established in 2011 with 12 members. This is growing slowly and currently there are 52 members.
We are most grateful to the Committee members, family, friends, and community members who have supported our activities over the past 12 months. While our organisation serves to raise awareness about disadvantage and the impact it has on lives, we are more than that. We are action based and an agent for change. Many of the events run, have been to generate the funds to run grass roots programs.
Covid-19 has severely restricted fundraising in 2020. There is no SDPC Pilgrimage in 2020 so parent/pilgrim input Did not occur. The D2D fundraising Committee with the approval of all the committee agreed that in 2020 D2D would use its reserves to support ICID. We also thank Cate Mc Guire for offering O0maik’s premises as a meeting Venue.
In 2020 Committee members ran small events and together with some donations from supporters and our ‘rainy day reserves’ we were able to send COVID relief money to India and maintain our financial Commitments to ICID.
Our main support has been for the work of ICID, our partner organization in Nagpur. We are currently supporting three projects:
Yuva Jyothi Children’s Home (YCH): Currently there are 40 children under the care of the Yuva Jyothi Children’s Home; 36 boys and 4 girls. The main source of funding Yuva Jyothi has been the Child Sponsorship Program. Currently in its 13th year of operation, all the children are benefitting from the Child Sponsorship Program. YCH places great importance upon strengthening the relationships between the children and their families, strongly believing in the importance of family ties and reintegration. The whole program of YCH is directed towards the holistic development of the children. Child Sponsorship funds contributed to regular facilities like accommodation, food, clothing, health, hygiene, counselling, recreation, sports, school education, life skill education, tuition, recreational activities, and celebration of festivals, picnics, sports, vocational training and family reunion.
The Number of children as YJ is smaller this year than last due to movement restrictions in India. Some of the boys have had COVID but nine luckily have required hospitalization.
A core group of sponsors have been providing financial support since the inception of the program in 2009 and it is our aim to increase the number who maintain their sponsorship. We believe a key to this is providing regular information to sponsors about the children at YJ. To this end, sponsors have received regular news from ICID, and Christmas cards. Thanks goes and Danielle Nicholas and Rob Shepherd for promoting and managing the Child Sponsorship program as it is an important source of reliable funding for Yuva Jyothi. Increasing costs in India have seen 3 tiers of sponsorship implemented- gold, silver and bronze and improved communication with Sponsors has meant greater income generated from Sponsorship. D2D has had to purchase credit card facilities. We mow use ‘Square and only 6 sponsors have chosen to pay via credit card with the rest doing direct bank transfer. This saves time and also credit card fees.
D2D has been funding the Urja Project since September 2019. In 2020 we received a request from ICID to suspend the project for 12 months as COVID had forced the closure of training centres and other activities associated with the project. Payments have resumed n 2021 and will cease in September 2023.
It was being used for Urja sewing classes and as a community Centre until the Covid -19 lock down and then it became a distribution Centre for food parcels. At the time of writing all the Urja Centres are closed. It is likely that D2D will need to extend Urja funding for 12 months.
COVID Emergency Relief:
Nagpur is a destination for many migrants who work in unskilled daily paid work. Maharashtra State has been severely affected by the Covid-19 virus. It was declared a ‘RED’ area in 2019 and children have not been to school for 18 months now. Centres opened up briefly at the start of 2021 but a virulent Second COVID wave struck resulting in further lock down. The poor have been particularly hard hit. There is no work, no government benefit, limited medical help, and the poor have no reserves. They were literally starving. In 2020-21 ICID made and distributed 350,000 meals and over 2,500 food parcels to the poor in Nagpur, To date D2D has continued to remit funds to Nagpur
In April 2021 ICID instituted a free Home Sensitization program and a free Ambulance service. In April D2D sent $4,000 to support these projects
Dare 2 Dream continues to fund wages for project staff and also provides ‘top up’ salaries to some of the social workers, staff at YJ and a small honorarium to Fr Harry and the 2 priests in the Martin Nagar Community. This funding helps to maintain staff stability which is beneficial to the children at YJ and continuance of the projects.
We are fortunate to be partnering with ICID which complies with the high level of accountability for funding we provide.
FundraisingD2D has found it extremely difficult to raise funds during the COVID Pandemic.
In 2021 the D2D Committee brainstormed Fundraisers that could help us maintain our support of the poor in India who need it more than ever. Many of the ICID staff live in poor conditions and have had COVID. We believe that they should continue to get wages as their situation is through no fault of their own. Therefore, major fundraisers we decided to promote in 2021 were:
GIN Bottling- 500 bottles of Premium Gin were ordered from Prohibition Gin. to be sold at $99 each with a $29 per bottle profit to D2D. At the time of writing, Costs have been covered and we look forward to continued sales over the next 12 months.
Dinner: no fundraising dinner has been possible since 2019. I dinner is scheduled for 28 August 2021. Numbers are capped at 105 but tickets sold out in 4 days. This is a heartening response, and we hope to ‘value add’ to the profit by additional activities such as a silent auction on the night.
Tea towels: Helen Barnard has taken the lead in organising the production and sale od D2D tea towels that feature a WORLIE design that the Yuva Jyothi child favour,
Prospect Fair Stall: This was suspended in 2020 but is scheduled for October 2021.
Other fundraisers have been organised by committee members and helped keep D2D
a float financially in 2020 and early 2021.
Promotion of Dare 2 Dream
Daniella Colangelo is D2D’s website manager who keeps it up to date publicising events and activities. She has posted details of events and we thank her for taking on this role and learning how to manage the website.
Face book & Instagram
The Dare 2 Dream Facebook and Instagram pages contains updates and news. This is a way of keeping our supporters informed of what is happening and have been managed by Rob Shepherd.
There has been limited opportunity to publicise D2D this year through our usual means associated with fundraisers.
Future Plans and challenges
Fundraising and sourcing donations from sponsors are becoming increasingly difficult when there is a plethora of organisations like ours competing for donations. COVID Restrictions make planning of fundraising events very difficult. Our biggest strength is that that 98 cents in every dollar goes to our beneficiaries and we need to continue to promote this.
We have been relying on our friends and acquaintances to attend functions and for fundraising. There is a need to find other people to involve and to locate other possible venues to sell our goods. The cost of buying goods in India and transporting them back has increased significantly, so it is important to know what will profitably sell in Adelaide.
D2D’s track record has kept us in good stead with some supporters who know what we do and are keen to continue their support. We must continue to maintain our good reputation. This became evident when we were contacted by a supporter who wished to run a COVID appeal, (which they did) to source funds for D2D’s work.
After pursuing corporate donations, we are now aware that our organisation is too small and not well enough known to offer reciprocal benefits to corporate sponsors. Having completed two projects with measurable success, D2D has investigated government funding for projects but funding has dried up as money is diverted into Covid stimulus packages, vaccination etc.
All members of the D2D Committee are volunteers and busy people. Sharing the workload is important as is succession planning for younger members of the Committee to take on leadership roles in the future.
Fundraising events by the Committee have been fewer in 2020-2021 than the previous year. I believe it is important for Committee members to take the initiative in convening events and coming up with fundraising initiatives during Covid-19. I thank those who have done this and been innovative and worked hard with friends and family to make these events a success.
D2D is working towards financial sustainability of our own organization. We must balance supporting current projects with the need to look ahead to bigger projects and ensure a financial buffer to cover the “lean years’ when there may be a short fall in fundraising, such as last year.
By growing the supporter base of Dare 2 Dream we can spread the workload of the organization therefore it is important to have a vibrant and active management committee.
Child Sponsorship costs have doubled over the past 12 years, but sponsors have generally chosen to continue to contribute $20 per month. We are mindful of not losing sponsors who cannot afford more than the $20 per month., so must work to increase the number of sponsors. We have so far not had any public events to do this so look forward to the planned August dinner.
There is no doubt that all members of the Dare 2 Dream Committee firmly believe in the mission of our organisation and are prepared to be advocates for the socially and economically disadvantaged people in India who we assist. Our challenge is to keep translating this into practical actions that change lives for the better.
I sincerely thank all who have contributed to the work of Dare2Dream and I look forward optimistically to the next year and hope that we can continue to make a positive difference to the lives of others.
Rita Shepherd (President)
18 July 2021