YOUR SUPPORT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE – WLCU Sydney Fundraising
By Paul Shalhoub
Only weeks after the formation of WLCU Sydney in mid-2020, we received our first call for help – to provide funds to those impacted by the Beirut Port explosion on 4 August 2020. Unfortunately, this has been the first of many cries for help given the beleaguered situation in Lebanon. As we were recently reminded by the fuel explosion in Akkar, north of Tripoli, just when we think things can’t get any worse another tragedy strikes.
In this article we provide our members with transparency around the funds raised and donations made over our first financial year (ended 30/6/21 and thus the $8,000 raised following the recent Akkar tragedy is excluded). We also take this opportunity to publicly thank our members for their ongoing support and generosity. These truly are challenging times, and we hope that you will be as pleased with what we have achieved as we are.
Firstly, we are pleased to report that WLCU Sydney has achieved registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). This means that going forward we will not be subject to paying tax on our surpluses. This is due to the enormous efforts of our Treasurer, Richard Melki (who brings incredible experience in the Not For Profit sector, where he is the current CFO at CatholicCare Sydney) and President, Shane Geha, who worked with PWC to achieve this great outcome – which required changes to our constitution. This will ensure that even more of the funds we raise will make it to those in need. The next step is investigating the benefits and costs of achieving Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, to allow those making donations to WLCU Sydney to receive a tax deduction.
Our donated funds came from several sources including membership fees, event proceeds (mostly from sponsorship, raffles and auctions) and direct fundraising appeals. We were also approached by a benevolent individual, deeply moved by the effects of the explosion at the Port of Beirut, who made a $10,000 donation to specifically go to the Armenian Church in Beirut. Additionally, WLCU Sydney received approximately $3,400 from a generous family who are members and had requested donations in lieu of gifts for their son’s christening. Our charity partner for two of our events (LIFE Generation Australia Ltd.) which has DGR status, allowed about $30,000 to be evenly split to their two main causes: the Life Generation Educational Fund and the Life Generation Humanitarian support.
In summary, substantial funds were raised in our first full financial year (ending 30 June 2021). Some of these funds were used to achieve our ACNC registration, pay WLCU Regional Council subscriptions and mint coins for our HSC high achievers. However, the vast majority of the funds raised were allocated to worthy causes. Here is a summary of where WLCU Sydney allocated $120,400:
- $39,000 1,100 food boxes containing staples (rice, oil, lentils, flour etc.) each weighing 30Kg and feeding a family of 4 for a month were delivered to the needy through various channels
- $13,000 Medical supplies to the St. George Hospital, Beirut (severely damaged in the Port explosion). See link below to thank you letter.
- $5,000 Lebanese Bakery that feeds the poor and homeless (6 tonnes flour & 750L olive oil)
- $5,000 Offrejoie for rebuilding of homes damaged by the Port explosion
- $30,000 LIFE (charity partner for two events) – $15,000 to their 2 causes
- $15,000 Cedars World Rugby League team
- $10,000 Repairs to the Armenian Evangelical Brotherhood Church in Bourj Hammoud. It was damaged during the port explosion. Donation received by WLCU for this specific purpose.
- $3,400 Donation to Rosary Sisters Hospital – less than 800m from the port explosion it was heavily damaged and in need of urgent funds.
We hope this highlights the many wonderful causes that the WLCU Sydney has been able to support in our first year of operation and to do this despite the pandemic. Your ongoing support of our organisation is helping to assist in making a difference in the lives of those in need.
There is no escaping the challenges of the pandemic and the enormity of the devastation that has been unleashed on our beloved Lebanon, however every initiative and good work helps. In this way, the WLCU Sydney appreciates all the support we are provided. We are most humbled by the generosity and compassion of our Members, without which our achievements would not be possible. The WLCU Sydney is both grateful and proud of the generous contributions made by its Members and we take this opportunity to say thank you and hope to continue to work in partnership with you in the upcoming years.