The Snow Foundation Celebrates 25 Years of Helping Those in Need


Published on 13-10-2016 by Megan Doherty

From a two-year-old Canberra boy with a rare congenital disorder to a doctor working in the Northern Territory to eliminate disease from the indigenous community — the Snow Foundation has been there to support causes across the spectrum.

It has also supported marriage equality by providing money for ventures such as the documentary Gayby Baby and given hundreds of thousands of dollars to address the homelessness crisis.

The Canberra-based foundation took stock on Thursday of reaching 25 years, in which $18.4 million has been distributed to 235 organisations and more than 200 individuals.

It was started in 1991 by a $1 million donation from brothers Terry and George Snow and has continued to flourish under the direction of the foundation’s chief executive officer Georgina Byron, Terry’s daughter. Terry’s wife Ginette is a board member and their other children Stephen Byron, Scarlett Gaffey and Tom Snow and their respective partners have been, or are, members of the board.

Terry Snow told a crowd of supporters and recipients at the Vibe Hotel at the Canberra Airport on Thursday that the foundation had a corpus of $39 million — but that was hardly the end of it.

“I predict within the next 10 or 15 years, we’ll be over $100 million and that will let us do three times what we’re doing now,” Mr Snow said.

“Last year we distributed $1.7 million to many organisations and individuals, of which we are enormously proud.

“But I think the time will come when we’ll be able to distribute each year $5 million and that will have a significant impact on our community and on people’s lives.”

Both Mr Snow and Ms Byron said the foundation had enriched their lives as they shared the family fortunes earned from the Canberra Airport and other developments.

“We’re here to help but there’s some very inspirational aspects to this work as well which fills your heart,” he said.

Ms Byron added: “It’s a gift to our community and it’s a gift to us.”

Dr Sam Prince, founder and chair of One Disease, was in the audience. His organisation is working to eliminate the preventable disease-crusted scabies from remote indigenous communities.

“For us to be a little part of that is wonderful,” Mr Snow said.

Also at the function was Sebastian Dowden, who turns three in December. He has Angelman Syndrome and benefited through the Snow Foundation’s donations to the Friends of Brain Injured Children.

Sebastian’s mother Felicity Williams said: “It means we have been able to access a lot more therapy for him.”

One of the organisations the foundation has supported throughout its 25 years is YouthCARE Canberra, which helps young people at risk.

Street outreach worker Zack Bryers summed up the passion of many people working with the Snow Foundation to make Canberra a better place for all.

“You’ve got to give these kids a piece of your heart because no one else is,” Zack said.

The Big Issue chief executive officer Steve Persson also spoke about its Homes for Homes project, while Good360 Australia managing director Alison Covington spoke about its efforts distributing new household items to charities.

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