The Flight Centre Foundation recently presented a cheque to Youngcare, a charity dedicated to helping young people living with disabilities. The Youngcare team were extremely appreciative of the donation, with the money going towards the At Home Grants program, which helps youngsters requiring 24/7 care, remain at home with their loved ones.
"We are nothing without the support of people in our wider community, and we remain grateful to those who support our vision," said David Conry, the Chairman of Youngcare.
"Full-time care is expensive and suitable facilities are not available, so Flight Centre's donation will help us to enhance the standard of living for thousands of young people with disabilities."
The donation was made possible due to the generosity of Flight Centre staff and the work of dedicated Foundation organising committees around Australia.
Anita Russell has been the Manager of the Flight Centre Foundation for the past ten months.
"The Foundation is our way of giving back as a company. We are very fortunate here at Flight Centre in comparison to a lot of people, so to give back to the community that we live and work in is a privilege, and the least we can do. The core goal of the Foundation is to raise money from our employees via our Workplace Giving Program, which is then matched dollar for dollar by the company," said Anita.
"To raise money we will do pretty much anything - we hold raffles, we have a pre-loved uniform shop, in Perth there's 'Foundies Bar' for drinks on a Friday, there's Melbourne Cup collections, a Christmas Family Day and of course the Bakeoff we had recently with our special guests from Youngcare. All money raised is divided amongst our current four charity partners that have been selected with input from our people and endorsed by the Foundation Board. We try to support charities that have minimal government or corporate support, and that have touched our people in some way."
Aside from Youngcare, the other charities currently supported by the Foundation include Foodbank and their collaborative supply program, Redkite and their Financial Assistance Program, and Bush Heritage to assist their environment protection initiatives. Since its inception in 2008, the Foundation has donated over $5 million to various organisations including these charities, the Queensland Flood Relief and the Christchurch Earthquake Relief Fund. Most recently the Foundation assisted Flight Centre families who lost their homes due to Super Storm Sandy in New York.
"I couldn't ask for a better job. It's my dream to be able to contribute back to the community, of course starting at home and then extending to the global community where we can. I am so grateful to Flight Centre Ltd for giving me this opportunity. Our philosophy of 'Brightness of Future' has let me grab this incredible chance to live my dream," said Anita.
"I just got back from Nairobi, Kenya. It was an amazing experience. A group of us from Flight Centre went and volunteered with a charity called One Horizon to help the disadvantaged kids that live in the slum areas of Nairobi. We visited women's centres, schools and crèches and did what we could to make a difference. And we raised money to build houses for some of the homeless families. One thing that stood out for me was that despite the conditions that we would consider as atrocious; the people of Kenya were so very happy and they had such joy in their faces."
However, Anita is giving herself a holiday next year when she heads to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.
"The goal is to make the summit but more importantly to share it with my friend on her birthday - that will make it all the better. Even if we don't make it to the top, it's the travel experience that counts."