Report from the Trustees of the Foundation of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies
The Foundation's investments have had a strong year this year, with the value of the fund increasing by a bit over 6% (or almost $500,000) after all expenses and paying grants totalling $492,477 during the year.
In part this good financial performance was a result of the significant changes we made to the investment portfolio, and the type of stocks held in particular, in the previous year. We reported on that in last year's annual report but in essence it was a strategic move to significantly reduce the exposure to high income stocks that had served us well in the past but had now become low or no growth companies and replace them with some lower income but higher growth companies. This meant that we sold out of companies like Telstra and substantially reduced exposure to the banks in particular in very early 2017. The events of the past year with the banking royal commission (amongst other things) hurting bank shares as well as the woes at Telstra, contrasted sharply with the good performance of the companies like CSL which we included in the portfolio. As a result, even though our income was a bit lower this year, the total fund was higher and therefore the lower income did not reduce our ability to pay out over $50,000 extra in grants compared to the year before.
The main reason for the sharp increase in grants paid this year was a change in the timing of when the grants were considered which meant that two years' worth of grants were considered within the one financial year. While most of the grants decided in the second round held earlier this year were not paid until the current (2019) year we were in a strong enough financial position to pay some urgent Warrawong ones early which was the main reason behind the large increase of grants paid in the financial accounts.
We are confident that the Foundation's portfolio is strongly placed to weather any financial market turbulence, such as we are seeing while I am writing this report and, as we stated in last year's report, over time we expect to continue the type of structural changes to the portfolio that we started last year, which have contributed significantly to the great result this year. Below is the list of grants we made in year from our accumulated funds.
FOREST HILL grants totalling $182,990 were paid to:
Acacia Indochinese Community Support Association Inc, Australian Christian College Hume Limited, Australian Karen Organisation Inc, Barmah Kindergarten - Occasional Child Care Centre Inc, Benalla & District Preschool Partnership-Bernard Briggs Kindergarten Inc, Berry Street Victoria Inc, Biala Peninsula, Box Hill Area Toy Library, Californian Gully Kindergarten, Children's Protection Society Inc, Children's Protection Society Inc-Korin Korin Child and Family Centre, Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS), Henry Family Children's Centre, Hollins Children's Centre, Kinglake Ranges Children's Centre Inc, Knitting For The Needy Community Support Group Inc, Knox And District Toy Library Inc, Laverton Community Integrated Services Incorporated, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Melbourne City Mission, Merri Steiner Playgroup, Mission Australia, Mitchell Shire Council, Moreland Toy Library Inc (MTL), Prom Coast Centres For Children Inc, Reading Out Of Poverty Inc, Rosebud West Community Hub Ltd, Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre, Tamil Graded Readers Incorporated, The Lady Gowrie Child Centre (Melb) Inc, Thomastown Child Care Centre Inc, Thomastown West Kindergarten Inc, VICSEG New Futures, Villa Maria Catholic Homes Ltd, Vision Australia, and Wodonga Toy Library Incorporated.
WARRAWONG grants totalling $309,753 were paid to:
AGECS (Fellowship payments), Australian Karen Organisation, Bestchance Child Family Care, Bethany Kindergarten Services, Biala Peninsula, Brotherhood of St Laurence HIPPY, Californian Gully Kindergarten, Castlemaine Childcare Co-op, Children's Protection Society Child and Family Centre, City of Whittlesea-Family Day Care, Clare Court Children's Services Inc, Clarendon Children's Centre, Dawson St. Childcare Co-op, De Garis Pre School Centre Inc, EEEC, Eureka Community Kinder Assoc, Glen Eira Kindergarten Association (GEKA), John St Early Childhood Cooperative, Keon Park Kindergraten, Kinglake Ranges Children's Centre, Korin Korin Child and Family Centre, Lady Gowrie Child Centre, Mallee Family Care Inc, Mitchell Shire Council, Monash (Caulfield) Child Care Association Inc, Moreland Early Years Management, North East Regional Preschool Association, Ouyen Preschool, Queensberry Children's Centre, Reading Out Of Poverty Inc, Sale Combined Kindergartens Inc, Seymour Preschool Centre, Shine Bright Early Years Manager, South Kingsville Community Centre Inc, Taralye Oral Language Centre for Deaf Children, Thomastown Child Care Centre, Uniting Wimmera, Viewbank Preschool, Wahroonga Preschool, Wallan Kindergarten, Watsonia Preschool, Wimmera Uniting Care, Winston Hill Preschool, Yarraville Community Centre.
This year saw some significant change to the grants process.
The Forest Hill fund moved to an on-line application process and to a direct credit of funds into applicants' bank accounts. The process went surprisingly well thanks to the patience and adaptability of the members of the Forest Hill Advisory Subcommittee. The Trustees congratulate those members for the way they adapted to the changes and thank them for the useful feedback they provided to iron out glitches in the processes. The members of the Forest Hill Advisory Committee are: Sue Cleeve (Chair), Merlyne Ramirez-Cruz, Angela Follachio, Clare Green and Glenda Grummet and until recently Joy Humphries. Trustees were very sad to receive Joy Humphrey's resignation from the committee after years of dedicated service commencing in 2005. Thank you Joy for your commitment to the field of early childhood education.
The Warrawong fund has been an on-line process for a number of years now and it has become a very smooth operation under the guidance of the dedicated people on the Warrawong Advisory Committee, who are: Anne Houghton (Chair), Sharryn Clarke, Ron Holmes, Kay Margetts, Glenys Severin and Jen Visscher. The Trustees thank them for their thoughtful contribution to making professional development opportunities available to people working in the early childhood field. I must acknowledge the work of Ron Holmes in overseeing the smooth functioning of the on-line software.
We need to take special note of the work of Kay Margetts in liaising between AGECS and the Foundation. Many people do not realise that the Foundation is a separate entity from the Association of Graduates in ECS. Consequently when they have queries or concerns with the grants process they use the AGECS website to get a response to their problem; instead of the dedicated help line that is part of the Foundation's separate website. Kay patiently forwards those issues to us for resolution. Thank you Kay.
I express my particular gratitude to Dianne Burgess for her meticulous management of all the book keeping related to our investments and the distribution of grant monies and to Julie Mahady who assists us with the administration of the grants process.
The Trustees of the Foundation are: Hugh Hodges (Chair), Ray Bullen, Kevin Fell, Toni Lawson, Glenys Severin, David Thwaites and Karen Weston. The Trustees look forward to another productive year in 2019 and send our best wishes to members of the Association of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies.
Hugh Hodges: Chair of Trustees of the Foundation of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies.