Last Monday was International Women’s Day, usually a date we mark with some form of celebration. This year, well-publicised cases of violence against women have sparked public anger, vigorous debate, and clashes with authority in both Australia and the UK, giving cause for pause and reflection.

In these moments of disconnect between the sentiment of the wider community and the actions of the powerful, when the need to achieve meaningful change is so evident, we are reminded of our purpose: to drive significant community-based impact on important social issues.

This is not an abstract principle, but something that is achieved in practice every day. Community philanthropy unlocks local resources to help communities flex their social muscle as engaged, active citizens, and our Community Foundation Network is doing a remarkable job in this respect. Many community foundations offer invaluable support to women, First Nations communities, migrants, refugees, and vulnerable people as part of their commitment to justice, fairness, and solidarity.

This work continued throughout the challenges of 2020. The first anniversary of Australia closing its international borders as part of the pandemic response is on 20 March, perhaps an appropriate moment to contemplate the events of the last 12 months, including all that has been achieved especially in the community sector, despite so many obstacles.

Coincidentally, 20 March is also a day of observance designated by the UN: International Day of Happiness. When we work towards ending poverty, reducing inequality and strengthening our communities, we are actively increasing happiness and wellbeing.

Thank you all for your wonderful work in the community.

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