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A message from outgoing CEO Jade Colgan


As I journey through my last week as Community Spirit Foundation CEO, I have mixed emotions. I am so proud of what has been achieved over the last five years and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I've had to hold this position.

It has been a period of change, but the foundation is in the midst of an exciting chapter. The foundation has a clear, strong direction; long-standing community partnerships; loyal support from our partners and donors; a motivated and dedicated team of staff; and an engaged and enthusiastic Board. Most importantly, we work with some 1600 amazing young people who, with the necessary support and tools, will go on to reach their potential as strong and proud adults.

The foundation is in good hands; Deborah de Rossi, who joined Community Spirit Foundation as our Chief Operating Officer in 2022, will be Interim CEO until my replacement is appointed. Recruitment is well underway, and I look forward to seeing who is appointed to lead the foundation into the future.

I want to take a few moments to reflect and express some words of thanks.

Central to our work is the amazing four partner communities we work with, their incredible young people and families as well as our wonderful local staff. I have had the absolute privilege to work with you all over my tenure, to visit your beautiful country, learn and listen and I thank you. You are the heart and soul of our work and without you, your strength and your wisdom our work would not have the impact or reach that it does. Your communities and our time together will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Thank you.

Another critical part of our work is the partnerships we have with local schools. To the principals and staff who I have got to know, I say thank you. We appreciate the work we do together.

To the Community Spirit Foundation Board of Directors, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. I have learnt so much and I am grateful for your time, dedication, and wisdom. I want to make special mention of Larissa Behrendt – our dynamic and inspiring Chair – and thank you for your support, your time and guidance across our journey together.

To our funding partners, supporters, regular donors and friends of the foundation, I have enjoyed so much getting to know you, working with you and having you stand by the foundation as we forge forward with our plans and programmes. Our work honestly doesn't take shape without the support we receive so generously, so I say thank you.

To my amazing Community Spirit Foundation team, we have worked through so much together, and achieved some great successes. From building and enacting strategies, to continued improvement and depth, we’ve built our teams, extended and deepened programs, piloted new programs, developed staff, weathered a pandemic, and transitioned strongly to our new name. I cannot thank you enough for standing beside me in my leadership and I hope that working together has been as rewarding for you as it has been for me. I'm so proud of each team member and I'm going to miss every person. I wish you all the very best.

Community Spirit Foundation is a very special organisation - those within it and connected to it know what I mean when I say that. It has so much heart and passion, we are a close-knit group who work hard to nurture the dreams and aspirations of the young people we work with.

In closing, I am proud of what we have been able to achieve. I am looking forward to taking a little break, while I work out what is next for me. And I am sure I will take some time to reflect more fully on what has been achieved over the past five years.

I look forward to seeing Community Spirit Foundation grow and move from strength-to-strength. Solid foundations have been laid, so much has been achieved, the work is important.

I look forward to watching on as this wonderful organisation enjoys continued success.

Thank you to all.

Jade Colgan

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