A crowd of Board Members and friends of the Macular Degeneration Foundation gathered in Sydney earlier this week (13 December) for the Foundation’s 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and to officially open its new premises in Kent Street, Sydney CBD.
Along with official business, the event provided the opportunity to reflect on how far the Foundation has come in its first ten years.
Speaking of the Foundation’s beginnings, the Chairman, Elizabeth Carr said, “we did not know what we did not know about setting up a Foundation and all the levels of governance required… we grappled with what was to be the mission, the objectives, the principles of the foundation, however Paul (Beaumont) constantly brought the focus back to a simple statement ‘we must be a patient focussed organisation’, and that has remained our core principle.”
Ms. Carr thanked attending Board Members; Barry Clarke, Ashley Chapman (Deputy Chairman), Dr. Paul Beaumont, Suellen Tapsall, John McCarroll, and Peter Brown – for their effort and guidance.
The Foundation now has over AUS $3m in assets to fund the next ten years of growth and major research initiatives
As proof of its success, she said the Macular Degeneration Foundation now takes 16,000 calls to its Helpline -an average 63 calls per day – and its website has 253,000 visits each year.
In the 2010-2011 financial year, over 226,000 publications and resources were distributed to the general public and healthcare professionals.
As a result of the Macular Foundation’s efforts, awareness of the disease has grown from 47-76 per cent in the last five years.
Ms. Carr thanked Foundation Chief Executive Officer Julie Heraghty and her team for their efforts and acknowledged that the Foundation now has over AUS $3m in assets to fund the next ten years of growth and major research initiatives. She said there had been several significant achievements during the year including the Deloittes Access Economics Report and the mEYE World Photographic competition but by far the most significant achievement has been the launch of the Foundation’s Research Grants Program.
The Foundation’s Patron, Ita Buttrose was unable to attend the AGM, however in a statement read by Ms. Carr, she said, “This is a significant anniversary… from small but determined beginnings (the Foundation) is now a world leader in raising awareness in Macular Degeneration – an impressive result and achievement of which we can all be proud.” Ms. Buttrose congratulated Ms. Heraghty for her outstanding leadership.
Positive Financial Results
In the ten years since its establishment, the Foundation has grown to have just over AUS $3.6m in reserves to support clients and pursue its objectives. In 2011, most of the Foundation’s income was derived from sponsorships (31 per cent) and donations / fund raising (26 per cent). Donations and fund raising increased over the previous year, from 18 per cent to 26 per cent, while Government Grants declined from 28 per cent in 2010 to 18 per cent in 2011. Corporate support contributed 20 per cent of the Foundation’s revenue.
Over all, revenue increased by 9 per cent year on year and net assets increased by over 30 per cent, which Ms. Carr said, was a positive result particularly in light of current market conditions.
During the AGM, four existing Board members (Dr. Paul Beaumont; Mr. Peter Brown; Mr. Paul Rogan and Ms. Suellen Tapsall) stepped down as required by legislation, and were re-elected to their positions. Richard Grills, Managing Director of Designs for Vision and Chairman of the Optical Dispensers and Manufacturing Association (ODMA) was formally elected to the Board.
In closing the AGM, Ms. Carr said that the Board now has a “strong team of 12 people dedicated to increasing awareness of Macular Degeneration in the community.” She handed the microphone on to CEO Julie Heraghty to officially open the new office which is located at level 9, 447 Kent Street in Sydney’s CBD.
A New Home for MD Foundation
Ms. Heraghty said opening the official office was an exciting occasion and reflected that in just ten years the Foundation had grown from just one part-time employee working at home to 11 employees.
The new office is a great place for volunteers and staff to work, with a new low vision aids and technology display available for visitors.
Ms. Heraghty invited Friends of the Foundation, Jean and Des Morton to officially open the office. “I am very proud to have Jean and Des Morton here today,” she said. “Jean has been with the Foundation since the beginning – she was diagnosed many years previously when there was no treatment available – but she has given everything to everyone else to make sure her family and friends… and others will benefit from the dedication and commitment she has given to the foundation.”
The official opening was followed by a celebratory lunch where volunteers were thanked for their work during the past year.
Wedding Bells…Christmas Bells, its all happening for Julie!
Congratulations to Julie Heraghty, Chief Executive Officer of the Macular Degeneration Foundation, who will marry her beau Graham Walker on 23 December, overlooking Sydney harbour at Gunners Barracks, Georges Heights.
mivision wishes Julie and Graham the very best for a wonderful marriage and future together.