People power propels profitable for-purpose partnership

Posted on 23 Apr 2024

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Wilson Security staff Buddy Bag packing at AMF
Wilson Security staff packing 'Buddy Bags' at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation office.

Their sectors could not be further apart, but the people behind the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and Wilson Security have forged a close bond.

It’s not unusual for not-for-profits and charities to partner with organisations in the private sector in a bid to boost their efforts to fulfil their purpose.

In the case of children’s charity the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and Wilson Security, what began as an altruistic – but still working – relationship has developed into something special.

Strong friendships have formed between leaders and employees from both organisations amid their shared efforts to help children live happy, safe lives free of violence.

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation was founded by Walter Mikac in honour of his two daughters who lost their lives in the tragic 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania.

Alannah & Madeline Foundation founder Walter Mikac with CEO Sarah Davies.

Wilson Security came on board in 2020. The three-year partnership recently notched up a significant achievement, passing the $1 million funding milestone.

Much of that success has been underpinned by the close bonds formed between staff at both organisations, who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to raise cash for children in need.

Their efforts range from trekking in the wilds of Tasmania with Walter Mikac to raise funds, to volunteering their time to pack the foundation’s signature “Buddy Bags.”

The backpacks, filled with essential items such as pyjamas, underwear, toothpaste, books and a teddy bear, are provided to vulnerable children and young people across Australia experiencing crisis or trauma, or just doing it tough.

The time and energy volunteered by Wilson Security personnel helped distribute 2,500 Buddy Bags nationally to children in need.

Wilson Security staff spread across Australia in a variety of roles have enthusiastically engaged with fundraising to support the foundation’s work, suggesting fun and innovative ways to generate awareness and donations.

When Wilson Security CEO Nick Frangoulis announced that he would face his fear of snakes to help raise money, Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO Sarah Davies said it was clear that he and his team were truly committed to doing anything they could to support and protect the future of children and young people.

“We are incredibly fortunate to share a special bond with the team at Wilson Security, in a partnership that goes far beyond professional collaboration,” said Ms Davies.

“From our first Zoom meeting during covid lockdown, it was clear that Wilson Security cared about the same issues we did and were in it for the right reasons.”

Ms Davies said through unwavering support of the foundation’s care programs, Wilson Security employees had helped thousands of children and young people who have experienced violence or trauma to heal, recover and thrive.

“Through a continued commitment to supporting our cause and engaging their staff in a meaningful way, Wilson Security have raised close to $1 million – a phenomenal contribution that has helped us to continue our important work.”

The partnership with Wilson Security has enabled the Alannah & Madeline Foundation to:

  • distribute more than 12,000 supportive Buddy Bags to vulnerable children
  • help train 3,500 early childhood educators through the Trauma Consultancy Service (TraCS)
  • provide 35 children with access to specialised therapeutic support through its Children Ahead program.

Wilson Security Conference Feb 2024
Wilson Security conference, February 2024.
“Trekking 46 km across the Tasman Peninsula with Walter Mikac was an incredibly special experience which will forever be etched in my heart.”
Wilson Security general manager of comcare, welfare and corporate social responsibility, Beti Dafovski.

It’s the ways that Wilson Security staff have gone above and beyond in their commitment to support the children’s charity, however, that have warmed Ms Davies’ heart.

“We are continually amazed by the genuine passion and commitment shown by the Wilson Security team, which extends significantly beyond financial support, as they take every opportunity to champion our cause,” she said.

A notable example occurred in April 2023 when four Wilson Security staff members committed to trekking the rugged Three Capes Walk in Tasmania alongside Walter Mikac, to raise funds for the charity.

“True friendships were forged, and special connections were made during this trip, which has only served to deepen the collaboration between both organisations and employees,” said Ms Davies.

Wilson Security Three Capes Trek
Walter Mikac and members of the Wilson Security team take a break during the Three Capes Walk.

Wilson Security’s general manager of comcare, welfare and corporate social responsibility, Beti Dafovski, was one of those who joined Walter on the multi-day hike.

“Trekking 46 km across the Tasman Peninsula with Walter Mikac was an incredibly special experience which will forever be etched in my heart,” she said.

“It was a personal highlight to share the experience with Walter as I am inspired and in awe of his unwavering support, dedication, commitment and passion in honouring his daughters’ legacies by keeping children and young people free from violence and trauma.”

Ms Dafovski said hiking through the picturesque landscapes alongside Walter provided moments of reflection to remember those who are no longer with us as well as the incredible work undertaken by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

“I’ll forever be grateful to have been a part of this experience with Walter, who in the face of adversity has been able to help so many children and young people.”

Ms Dafovski said the Tasmanian hike was an example of how close the teams at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and Wilson Security have grown over the years.

“This experience alongside many others we have shared in support of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation makes us feel like we’re one family who are committed to working towards a better future for children and young people.

“I am so grateful to work at Wilson Security whose organisational values align to the incredible work the foundation does and who wholeheartedly get involved in any way we can to support the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.”

Wilson Security Elyse Buddy Bag packing
Wilson Security employee Elyse Hunt.

Wilson Security employee Elyse Hunt recently donated copies of her children’s book Astrid’s Big Day to bring smiles to the faces of Buddy Bag recipients.

To Ms Davies, it was a simple, but significant act of kindness that exemplified the strong bonds and shared ideals between the two organisations.

“While partnerships between charities and corporate supporters are commonplace, the depth of engagement, clear alignment of values and shared vision demonstrated by both parties is truly special,” she said.

“We are so grateful for their support and generosity of spirit. It's heartening to partner with an organisation that is just as dedicated to our mission as we are.”

Beti Dafovski agreed.

“I resonate with the foundation's mission in all that they do in prioritising, protecting, supporting, educating and advocating for children to live, work and play in environments free from harm, violence, and trauma.

“These children are our future generations, so to know that we, as a collective, are doing everything in our power to keep them safe is rewarding both personally and professionally.

“Every child and young person has a right to be safe and we will continue to support the foundation in their mission to achieve this.”

More news

Become a member of ICDA – it's free!