Four treasurers from across the country were recognised at the sixth annual Awards, held in conjunction with social enterprise Our Community, with each receiving a $5,000 donation for their organisation. 

This year, nominees were asked to reflect on their learnings and experience in navigating not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also other major disruptions and natural disasters over the past 12 months. 

This year’s winners for each of the four categories were: 

  • Community Service and Advocacy Groups: Brenton Whittenbury - Scouts, Adelaide Foothills District in South Australia. Given Scouts programs were postponed, Mr Whittenbury took the time to support the individuals and groups who regularly hire the Scouts hall to manage their own operations, offering rent holidays and helping create COVID-safe plans. 
  • Sports, Arts and Culture: Derek Ingles – The Dress Up Place Inc in Victoria. With pandemic restrictions halting community arts activities and events, the costumer hire business was forced to get creative, negotiating with its regular creditors and tapping into alternative income sources – including the making and selling of masks online.  
  • Education: Anne Ahern – Ramsay State School P&C Association in Queensland. While the P&C’s ordinary routes of funding were not possible, Ms Ahern helped the community to stay well informed with accurate information, shared with a newly created Facebook support group. 
  • Social Housing and Homelessness: Sumithira Thavapalan – Haymarket Foundation in New South Wales. Ms Thavapalan worked closely with key service providers in homelessness and drug intervention programs to implement necessary changes, including the introduction of a telehealth service to provide those experiencing homelessness with access to a GP. 

Each year, nearly 2,000 treasurers from NFPs and community organisations across Australia participate in the awards program.

Speaking about her win, Treasurer of the Ramsay State School P&C Association in Queensland, Anne Ahern, said she turned to social media as a tool to connect with people while face-to-face activity was limited.

“This is an unprecedented time which challenged me as a treasurer to come up with new and innovative ways to raise funds for our not-for-profit organisation. Surviving meant learning new ways of doing things, being a support person for the whole school community and ensuring I was continually updating my knowledge on the current situation,” said Ms Ahem.

Julienne Price, Executive Manager of Not-for-Profit Banking at Commonwealth Bank said: “This year has been like no other and each of the winning treasurers have demonstrated creativity and resourcefulness to effectively support the continuity of their organisations’ financial and operational activity.”

“What has shone through is the exceptional resilience and innovation demonstrated amongst every organisation. We have heard about the importance of planning and flexibility as essential behaviours in adapting to a crisis. The significance of effective and consistent communications, as well as the ongoing impacts of adopting a positive attitude were not underestimated.”

Our Community group managing director, Denis Moriarty, said the awards provide recognition for those who work tirelessly behind the scenes. 

“The Not-for-Profit Treasurers’ Awards is a great opportunity to celebrate all the treasurers who play such an essential role, working hard to maintain their organisation’s financial health. Treasurers continue to demonstrate unwavering commitment and stability as they provide impactful support for the whole community.”

Our Community and Commonwealth Bank will use the insights from the awards to develop tools and resources which will support the not-for-profit sector. The current range of free resources for the not-for-profit sector include the Damn Good Advice series as well as the not-for-profit balance sheet tool for directors and CEOs and a cyber-security and fraud prevention guide.

See the announcement of our winners below:

Photo: Commonwealth Bank's General Manager Specialised Industries, Tim Browne, and Executive Manager Schools & NFP Banking Sector, Julienne Price.