10/12/2008 - 22:00

Learning curve for Fogartys

10/12/2008 - 22:00


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AT the start of the decade, Annie and Brettney Fogarty embarked on a journey to improve education.

Learning curve for Fogartys

AT the start of the decade, Annie and Brettney Fogarty embarked on a journey to improve education.

Little did they know how much they would learn during the process.

Speaking to WA Business News about her experiences, Mrs Fogarty acknowledges that although the initial focus of the family's Fogarty Foundation remains unchanged - education for the underprivileged - they have learned much in the past few years about the sector they are working in and how to best provide the help where it's needed.

"We have become very knowledgeable in the area and how we apply funds," she said.

This means not only that the foundation's work - funded by wealth derived originally from the GRD Minproc engineering business - is more effective, but that it can also help focus the efforts of others in the sector.

"Now another thing we can offer is we are able to get people together," Mrs Fogarty said.

"There are a lot of people doing things and a lot don't talk that much.

"We are looking for synergies. We think that is very effective."

Mrs Fogarty cites the foundation's work in Girrawheen, where it has funded a learning centre at a local primary school and works extensively with other education focused groups, such as Edith Cowan University, Mission Australia and The Smith Family to combat educational shortcomings for disadvantaged.

"We were able to get all of them together," she said. "There is a lot of disadvantage and there is quite a lot of organisations out there doing great things, but this is able to bring some of them together and share information and make sure they are not doubling up on things."

The efforts in Girrawheen are part of 13 different programs the Fogarty Foundation runs across a broad spectrum of educational areas.

One of the best known is the foundation's scholarships for tertiary institutions, such as the University of Western Australia, where it funds students who have the academic talent but may not have progressed as far due to other challenges in their lives.

Mrs Fogarty said the foundation's work was not just about enriching others' lives but was also teaching her own family about the wider world, something common in the world of private philanthropy.

"Our children will be getting involved," she said. "Our 18-year-old daughter is involved in meetings.

"We are hoping that is something as a family we will have in common and do together. We hope we are showing values to kids."

The Fogartys have also discovered what a lot of those who do more than just write out a cheque find out through direct involvement in charitable causes.

"The most fantastic times are when you meet the people the programs have helped," Mrs Fogarty said.



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