Within the last six years, Brisbane mum Juliette Wright has provided assistance to almost 130,000 vulnerable Australians through online platform GIVIT, which she founded in 2009, earning her Australian of the Year – Local Hero 2015.

On Sunday night Juliette was recognised by one of Australia’s most prestigious bodies, the National Australia Day Council, at the Australian of the Year Awards, for her work in alleviating the effects of poverty nationwide.

Founding GIVIT to connect those who have with those who need and championing it to become a leading Australian not-for-profit, Juliette is changing how society helps its most vulnerable.

Through GIVIT’s website everyday Australians are able to see exactly what is required by vulnerable members of their local community and easily donate those items, ensuring every charity has what it needs through the simple act of giving.

“I feel unbelievably honoured to receive this award and extremely proud to be representing my home state of Queensland while doing it,” Juliette said.

“This recognition and endorsement has provided me with renewed energy and passion. It’s given me the confidence to chase my goals, continue growing GIVIT and keep reaching out to those who need it.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me to make GIVIT a reality – volunteers, donors, long term supporters, my husband Glen and Wright Property. It hasn’t been an easy feat, we’ve faced many challenges and setbacks but the unwavering support throughout the journey has been incredible.”

“I would also like to congratulate the other finalists and award winners, they work tirelessly day in, day out and I am honoured to be in their category. I couldn’t be more proud to stand among them.”

The Australian of the Year Awards are Australia’s pre-eminent Award for recognition of leadership, vision, and the embodiment of great Australian values. They are Australians who make us proud.

The Chairman of the National Australia Day Council, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG, congratulated the Award recipients not only as great Australians, but also as role models.

“From an extraordinary group of finalists, all of whom are inspirational Australians and great ambassadors for their home states and territories, we have four Award recipients who stand as role models to us all,” said Mr Roberts-Smith.

“It is a great moment in the 55 year history of these Awards to honour four women.

“Rosie, Jackie, Drisana and Juliette remind us of the many ways in which women contribute to our nation – that women are a force for change, a voice for rights, influencers, educators and the heart of our communities. Most of all, they are admired and respected by their fellow Australians – they are people we can be proud of and look to as examples of the good in us all.”

Juliette’s commitment to improving the lives of others has resulted in 128,500 items donated via GIVIT to almost 1,000 charities across Australia which, in turn, were given to vulnerable and marginalised residents.

To help develop a philanthropic culture within Australia, Juliette recently launched GIVIT Kids – a child-friendly website empowering children to donate new and pre-loved items to meet the urgent materials needs of Australian families, in a fun and safe way.

Under Juliette’s guidance, GIVIT Kids worked with the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment to integrate ‘giving’ into Years 3, 5 and 6 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum.

In addition, GIVIT is currently in partnership with the Queensland government to manage all offers of donated goods and services during the response and recovery phase of a disaster.

During the 2011 Queensland floods, the GIVIT website received 1.8 million hits in 10 days and more than 33,500 goods were matched in three weeks.

Juliette said the award will help maintain those partnerships, ensuring GIVIT becomes a household name.

“In future, I would like GIVIT to be a household name nationally as I want all Australians to understand how one simple, donated item has the ability to pull someone else out of poverty,” Juliette said.

In 2015, GIVIT will be heavily focused on helping those living in rural and regional areas. In Queensland, a Drought Relief Campaign will be launched, aiming to pull every drought-affected community up by the boot-straps.

In addition, GIVIT will be heavily focused on disaster recovery – expanding from Queensland natural disasters to a disaster of any kind, including the support of families after a tragic event.

To support the work of GIVIT and see what items are urgently needed in your local area, simply visit www.givit.org.au.

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