South East Queensland has been hit by severe storms and residents living on the Sunshine Coast and in North Brisbane who lost everything are in need of assistance.

In partnership with front line local agencies, GIVIT is managing offers of donated goods and services to assist in the recovery of this event.

GIVIT Founder and CEO, Juliette Wright, said GIVIT’s website enables everyday Australians to see exactly what impacted families need, and then donate easily, safely and directly to them.

“Right now we know there are two families in Mooloolaba and at least 21 households in Aspley which have lost all belongings through water damage and are in desperate need of support.

“One family has moved into temporary rental housing and urgently requires furniture such as Queen Beds, a freezer, washing machine and basic kitchen essentials.

“There are many other families who need our help. We are working with front line agencies in the affected regions to discover the full need, and then will be listing requests on our website in the coming days and weeks.

“At this time, we ask your generosity be channelled into cash donations of which 100% will be used to purchase essential items. GIVIT always, wherever possible, purchases locally to support local businesses as they also recover,” Ms Wright said.

To donate, please visit givit.org.au, click on the ‘Donate Funds’ page and select the drop down option ‘South East Storms’ in the donation option.

Ms Wright said GIVIT’s website gives generous Australians an effective way of donating directly to those in need without overwhelming charities on the ground.

“GIVIT’s role is to support local charities, community groups and councils in the impacted regions by helping them obtain exactly what is required to support those affected,” Ms Wright said.

“We know from past events Australians are incredibly generous and will want to help those who have been devastated by the storms. GIVIT channels this generosity and lets people know exactly what is required so front line services aren’t inundated by donations they don’t need.

“The online platform removes the need to physically collect, sort and store donations, significantly reducing the administrative and financial burden for charities as well saving valuable resources for critical recovery activities.

“We also ensure items donated are of a high quality. It is about giving exactly what is needed while respecting the dignity of the recipient by only giving quality donations.”

To see what is urgently needed by residents impacted by the storms, or to pledge your donation or offer of assistance please visit givit.org.au. If you are a local charity or front line service wanting to access donated goods and services, please register at givit.org.au/charity-registration

For more information or interviews please contact Kayla Brereton, GIVIT Media and Communications on kayla@givit.org.au.

Renowned Toowoomba car rally organiser, Jamie Lawson, is officially launching his new home-grown venture the Road Boss Rally in the Garden City today.

Road Boss Rally has named GIVIT Charity of Choice, and will be raising money and support for the cause.

Word of the rally has already spread across the country with 72 teams from New South Wales, Victoria, Cairns, Rockhampton, Roma and Mackay pre-registered to take part in the inaugural rally covering almost 10,000km across remote, outback Australia.

To officially launch the Road Boss Rally, Mr Lawson is holding a media call on April 27, 2016 at Wellcamp Airport, where media are invited to interviews and a rally pre-show.

Over the past 20 years Mr Lawson and his father, Alan, have been at the helm of high-profile charity car rallies such as the Kidney Kar Rally, the Cystic Fibrosis Great Escape and Great Endeavour Rally.

Dubbed “the Road Boss” for his work, this year Mr Lawson will tackle a new venture by launching the Road Boss Rally.

Kicking off from Toowoomba on June 5, the convoy of rally cars will head west to tackle tough, scenic country as they zig-zag through 3,000km of little-used roads and private property to the idyllic destination of Port Macquarie on the New South Wales coastline.

Then a ‘Super Addition’, occurring every four years, will head off across the red dust of remote, outback Australia travelling an extra 7,000km to arrive in Perth by June 25.

Mr Lawson said while the Road Boss Rally will raise dust, it will also raise dollars for Australian charity GIVIT to continue its work supporting other charities across Australia.

“Our first rally this June is not for the faint-hearted. The cars will tackle bush roads and challenging tracks to reach remote areas. Our rally is tough, but we know it is nothing compared to what others battle every day,” Mr Lawson said.

“We chose to raise funds to support grass-roots organisation GIVIT, as we strongly believe in the work it does to assist 1,100 other charities across the country.”

GIVIT Founder and CEO, Juliette Wright, said she was incredibly grateful for the support of Road Boss Rally and its entrants.

“GIVIT is a charity connecting those who have, with those in need. Through our website, all trusted charities, not-for-profits and front-line agencies can (for free) request exactly what is needed by their vulnerable clients,” Ms Wright said.

“The incredible donations from Road Boss Rally will go a long way towards ensuring those requests are fulfilled and people in need receive what they need, when they need it most.”

Mr Lawson, who has organised car rallies for more than 20 years, has previously raised more than $20 million to support Australians doing it tough and is hoping the generosity continues.

“We have already raised around $20,000 for GIVIT and we haven’t even had out first rally! I’m excited to see the generous donations continue in the coming months,” Mr Lawson said.

Anyone who wants to get involved with the Road Boss Rally, support GIVIT and come on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure is encouraged to visit www.roadbossrally.com.au.

For images, interviews or further information please contact Kayla Brereton GIVIT Media and Communications on kayla@givit.org.au

GIVIT is setting up its Disaster Recovery Service in Western Australia after signing a significant new partnership with the Bankwest Foundation.

The agreement follows WA’s worst bushfire season on record and will assist the way disaster recovery is managed in the state.

Red Cross Executive Director WA, Steve Joske CSC, said the partnership would ensure GIVIT is on hand in WA to assist state agencies and charities in times of need by managing offers of donated goods and services during the recovery phase after a disaster.

“While the generosity of the WA public can always be relied upon in times of disaster it can place a strain on organisations who then need to disperse any donated goods to the people most in need,” Mr Joske said.

“The GIVIT scheme aims do all this during and after a disaster, ensuring the generous donations from people and communities marries with the needs of people directly affected by disasters. Australian Red Cross has worked with GIVIT in Queensland and we have seen how it can make a real difference in people’s lives.”

“We are excited to now have access to this service in Western Australia and are confident it will make a contribution in the disaster space and free other agencies like Red Cross to get on with its vital work of response and recovery.”

Funding from the Bankwest Foundation will help GIVIT establish an office in Perth and connect those who have with those in need. Its web-based ‘virtual warehouse’ will eliminate the need for organisations to physically collect and store donations, allowing people to support those in need by giving exactly what is required in their local area.

The Bankwest Foundation was established in 2013 with a mission to improve the wellbeing of Australians by enabling the implementation of significant and meaningful community initiatives in WA and nationally.

Bankwest Foundation Chair, Sinead Taylor, said the partnership with GIVIT was part of the Foundation’s commitment to supporting research and reform of the Western Australian Community Sector.

“The Bankwest Foundation is thrilled to be partnering with GIVIT, which will tackle the specific reform priority of building community resilience in natural disasters,” Ms Taylor said.

“We will do this by funding the establishment of a Perth office for GIVIT and providing the resources to activate an incident room in times of natural disaster to mobilise our people when demands for goods are dramatically increased at short notice.”

GIVIT founder and CEO, Juliette Wright, said she was delighted to enter into an official partnership with the Bankwest Foundation to ensure vulnerable Western Australians get exactly what they need when they need it most.

“GIVIT is a Queensland-grown innovative solution to disaster recovery and we are looking forward to working with the Bankwest Foundation to grow the service in WA to ensure more communities across the state are supported,” Ms Wright said.

For images, interviews or further information please contact Kayla Brereton GIVIT Media and Communications on kayla@givit.org.au

GIVIT announced today it has secured the support of major insurer IAG as its National Founding Partner, in a move to connect more Australians with vital goods in their time of need.

GIVIT operates as a free, online giving-portal which enables the public to donate items which are then distributed to vulnerable members in the community. GIVIT currently manages all offers of donated goods and services following natural disasters in Queensland.

The new partnership with IAG will help GIVIT scale its business to service even more communities across Australia. It will also drive the expansion of GIVIT’s Disaster Recovery Service, which was recently awarded the National Resilient Australia Award by the Attorney-General.

“GIVIT is an innovative, Queensland-grown solution for donation management,” said Juliette Wright, GIVIT Founder and CEO. “We connect those who have with those who need. Through our website, trusted agencies supporting Australians in need can request exactly what is required – from a fridge to school shoes to toiletries.

“The support provided by IAG will help us to put in place the business strategy and infrastructure to support our national expansion. We can now look to work with more charities across the country to help Australians have free access to quality donations when and where they need them.”

Since GIVIT was established in 2009, almost 295,000 items have been donated through the website. With IAG’s support, GIVIT is hoping to facilitate 1,000,000 donations within the next three years.

“We have seen first-hand how receiving things like clean clothing and bedding following a natural disaster can make a big difference to people who have lost everything or can’t access their home,” said Julie Batch, Chief Customer Officer for IAG.

“Our purpose is to help make your world a safer place and our partnership with GIVIT is a demonstration of this. Through working with GIVIT, we can give more Australians a helping hand in their time of need.”

GIVIT’s unique ‘virtual warehouse’ eliminates the need for organisations to physically collect, sort and store unsolicited donations. This significantly reduces the administrative and financial burden for councils and charities, saving valuable resources for critical recovery activities.

The charity has been recognised by the Australian Government for its role in improving emergency management and enhancing community resilience to natural disasters, awarded the National Resilient Australia Award by Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department.

On presenting the Award to GIVIT the Minister for Justice, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, said that GIVIT provides excellence and innovation in emergency management and actively works to make Australia more resilient to natural disasters.

“There is always a swell of support and generous donations for those who have been affected,” Mr Kennan said. “GIVIT’s sophisticated online platform provides a simple, proven, coordinated response to quickly match donations and ensure offers of assistance get to where they are most needed.”

To learn more about GIVIT’s National Founding Partner, IAG, please visit its website www.iag.com.au.

For images, interviews or further information please contact Kayla Brereton GIVIT Media and Communications on kayla@givit.org.au

Australian charities, not-for-profits and community groups assisting our most vulnerable will receive more support through a new app providing immediate access to donations.

The innovative app, launched by Australia’s Local Hero 2015 and Founder of Australian charity GIVIT, Juliette Wright, will give all people working directly with impoverished, marginalised and vulnerable individuals the ability to immediately meet their urgent material needs.

“We are very proud to launch the GIVIT Charity App on January 29, 2016 and are incredibly grateful for the support of the Australian Government who provided the app through the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership,” Ms Wright said.

“Our aim is to make it easier for charities to empower their clients and improve quality of life by obtaining the items they require, digitally and at no cost.

“The app is an innovative solution to ensuring this by empowering social workers to match their client’s urgent needs to generous public donations – all from the palm of their hand, and in any location.

“Through the app, social workers can sit down with their client and access GIVIT’s Virtual Warehouse to view a full list of donated, available items in their area. They can also request specific items, which members of the public are encouraged to donate.”

In partnership with the Queensland Government, GIVIT manages all offers of donated goods and services during the recovery phase of a disaster.

“The App will be especially important following natural disasters where access to computers may not be possible. During this crucial time, we expect many local government authorities, councils and front-line workers to use the app for immediate relief,” Ms Wright said.

Australian charities and not-for-profits are encouraged to download the free GIVIT Charity App via iTunes and Google play stores. Charities can register to use GIVIT’s free service via www.givit.org.au.

In recognition of her work to support the efforts of charities across Australia, Ms Wright was named Australia’s Local Hero 2015 at the Australian of the Year Awards.

A year later, her determination continues with the launch of the GIVIT Charity App and a new-look GIVIT website designed to better ease the donation process and encourage generosity.

“We worked closely with the Commonwealth Bank to test and improve the User Experience on our website,” Ms Wright said.

“We discovered there are three major steps throughout the donor journey: Connecting, Communicating and Acting. Our new website aims to direct and engage donors during these steps to help ease the giving process and ultimately encourage donations.

“I am determined to ensure GIVIT remains a technologically advanced, innovative solution to managing donated goods, in and out of disaster periods.”

This time last year I was nominated for Australia’s Local Hero 2015 at the Australian of the Year Awards in Canberra and was lucky enough to receive the award for 2015. It’s a recognition which has since changed my life and a year later… I think I’m still in shock! When I get an email from the National Australia Day Council I still feel a pang of excitement!

My year of being Australia’s Local Hero – now in retrospect – was such a whirlwind experience, I still feel dizzy from the busyness of it all. I was invited to participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences; it brought incredible awareness to GIVIT’s mission of connecting those who have with those who need and vital support from potential sponsors. The credibility the award gave me was beyond my wildest expectations – people no longer think my vision is fanciful, instead respecting and championing what I’m trying to achieve.

I was invited to speak about poverty live on national television, I attended Melbourne Cup, my husband and I met The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles and Camilla) and also attended my first Citizenship Ceremony overlooking Parliament House. I remember this so clearly… I stood there watching families from all over the world come and be welcomed as official citizens of Australia. I remember wondering what brought them here – were they born here? What have they been through? Did they move due to humanitarian or ecological disasters? Did they simply fall in love with someone from the land down under? No matter the reason, I remember standing there and feeling overwhelmed with pride to not only myself be an Australian citizen, but a citizen of a multicultural and inclusive country. I remember that joy witnessing our nation welcome these wonderful people and give them their own sense of pride and belonging.

But if there is one key thing I have learnt through this process – it’s that we are all local heroes. Each person, in some way, is helping to support someone else and together, we’re bettering our country. Through GIVIT, every single person has the chance to be a local hero as we know one simple, donated item has the ability to change someone else’s life:

• A donated washing machine allowed a mother of four to stop washing clothes by hands all day and secure a part time job
• An MP3 player supported a boy with schizophrenia by helping to drown out the voices swirling around his head all day
• A donated bed stopped a child sleeping on the floor

You don’t have to be rich and powerful to make an enormous difference. Through GIVIT, more than 240,000 essential, everyday items have been donated to help someone else in need. Many of these, the donor already had at home. I see a massive movement of small and effective individual philanthropy happening– because no matter what your financial situation – we are all able to support others.

I am proud to be the Founder of GIVIT but even prouder to live in a country where my dream was from day one supported and championed by others. Now, I am championing our Local Heroes for 2016. To the nominees: let this incredible acknowledgement wipe away the scars of the hard work you have put in to reach where you are today. We are here honouring you and hoping this recognition inspires you and gives you that rocket fuel to passionately continue your mission.

It overwhelms me with excitement to think what we, as Australians, have achieved together and the difference each individual can, have and will make. Happy Australia Day!

Juliette x

With your support, more than 81,000 items have been provided through GIVIT to assist our most vulnerable during 2015… thank you!

From the whole team, we send our deepest thanks. We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and look forward to sharing 2016 with you. Over the holidays, you can follow our Facebook or Twitter and subscribe to our newsletter to see what’s needed.

A shout out to charities: please check your email for a survey link to help GIVIT improve your access to donations in 2016. Your feedback is valued. If you haven’t recieved the email, please contact us on info@givit.org.au.

Have a Merry Christmas, and safe holidays.

Juliette

With events currently in Longreach raising vital awareness and support for families impacted by drought, more support is coming in for other regions.

Schools providing much-needed relief to drought-stricken families in Queensland’s west have been boosted with Westpac pledging thousands of dollars to support their efforts.

Through GIVIT, Westpac consulted with Western Queensland community groups and will inject $10,000 into local schools to assist students.

Westpac State General Manager Queensland, Greg Crocombe, said the team is providing funding to local schools to help meet the immediate needs of students through essential items.

“We are proud to be able to provide the funding for schools in the local region as we know the youth are the future. They need access to essential items to support education and learning and we hope this small contribution helps in doing just that,” Mr Crocombe said.

“Each of the following schools will receive a donation: Alpha State School, Amarac State School, Barcaldine State School, Bedourie State School, Birdsville State School, Blackall State School, Boulia State School, Ilfracombe State School, Isisford State School, Jericho State School, Jundah State School, Longreach State School, Muttaburra State School, Our Lady’s Catholic School Longreach, Stonehenge State School, St Joseph’s Catholic School (Barcaldine and Blackall), St Patrick’s School Winton, Windorah State School and Winton State School.”

Westpac also supported a City to Bush trip to Longreach, where 100 people boarded a private plane and flew into town for a weekend of tourism, culture and direct injection in the local economy.

City to Bush Organiser, Shea Morrison, said those on the trip stayed and spent locally.

“We have 100 corporates, community leaders and racing enthusiasts who flew into Longreach for the 125th racing anniversary and music concert. They stayed in local hotels, took day-trips into town, purchased gifts, attended the races and actively supported those impacted by drought.

“We hoped to inject up to $40,000 in the local economy over the weekend,” Mrs Morrison said.

To support those impacted by drought and pledge your donation please visit www.givit.org.au.

For images, interviews or further information please contact Kayla Brereton, GIVIT Media and Communications on 0414 236 202 or email kayla@givit.org.au

Poverty is a disease. It’s genetic. It spreads. If neglected, it needs major treatment. Yet simple attention can be so effective.

I try and broaden my goals every now and again by not only thinking about those living in poverty, but about those doing it tough in all kinds of situations – including when it’s not about financial vulnerability. I work with and listen to how my local clubs are coping, how those in hospital are journeying, and those facing aged care issues. We all have great causes, we all have lovely clients but I think Nelson Mandela put it right for me…. and my cause.

“Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom,” Nelson Mandela.

After winning Australia’s Local Hero 2015 at the Australian of the Year Awards, I quickly learnt to appreciate and love the greatness and bravery of Rosie Batty (Australian of the Year 2015) and her determination on her cause. I love her. I love her cause. I love her goal: reduce domestic violence. Bang!

I love every single centimetre and inch which brings her closer to her goal, and yet I’m hanging on the line for any news about mine: that our most impoverished are treasured by society once more.

Poverty is a disease. It’s genetic, it’s spreads. If neglected it needs major treatment. Simple attention can be so affective: a hug, a warm blanket or a donated item can truly lift someone’s spirits and help make tomorrow easier.

We all have challenges on many fronts. But on the poverty front, GIVIT is an army. An awesome army directly alleviating the effects of poverty. No we won’t sit quiet. We care. Poverty is growing but **** it, simple things are beating this disease.

Join our army, help me fight this disease: www.givit.org.au/join-givit

GIVIT, on behalf of Tablelands Regional Council and the Ravenshoe Chambers of Commerce, is collecting funds for the Official Ravenshoe Café Explosion Appeal.

GIVIT, a national not for profit, is funded by the Queensland Government to manage the donation of goods and services in times of disaster. Therefore GIVIT has not, and will not, charge any administration fees or claim costs associated with the management of the Appeal.

100% of all money collected through the Appeal will be used to support the recovery of those severely affected by the café explosion.

How the funds are being distributed is decided by an independent Appeal Distribution Committee on the advice and guidance of the Community Recovery Committee which meet weekly and is made up of representatives from the Ravenshoe community including Tablelands Regional Council, Ravenshoe Chambers of Commerce, Ravenshoe Community Centre, Lifeline, Queensland Country Woman’s Association and Community Services Tablelands. GIVIT is a portal to capture the generosity of Australia on behalf of the Committee and does not decide how the funds will be distributed.

GIVIT is working directly with the Ravenshoe Community Centre, Hambeldon House (Cairns) and the social workers at both the Cairns Base and Royal Brisbane Hospitals to ensure the patients and their carers’ immediate needs, beyond what government agencies can provide under normal policies and procedures, are met.

All accommodation and travel costs for patients and their immediate carers have been covered by the State Government through the Patient Transport Scheme.

So far the Official Ravenshoe Appeal has provided $1,500 to each of those severely affected by the explosion to cover their immediate out of pocket expenses, as well as access to petrol and grocery vouchers, clothing, beds and flights.

GIVIT also received a generous corporate donation of six iPads with prepaid SIM cards which have been provided to families to share within the Brisbane and Cairns hospitals.

The Distribution Committee has also committed to covering any out of pocket funeral expenses incurred by the families of the deceased.

GIVIT is looking forward to working with the Ravenshoe community to support the long term recovery of those severely injured by this tragic event.