The date was Saturday 17th October and the magnificent Savoy Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne was once again the scene of another Turi Trust Gala Ball.
The ballroom looked amazing, inspired by a vintage Alice in Wonderland theme. A regal backdrop set the scene for this very large tea party taking place in the Queen’s Garden.
The night opened with a bang as Swagamama, finalists of Australia’s Got Talent 2013, entertained us with a flash mob and dynamic dance routine. Cosentino the Illusionist thrilled and excited the crowd with an unbelievably breathtaking performance. Tim Campbell and his band ensured the dance floor was filled to capacity.
The most AMAZING part, however, were the 500 like-minded guests in the room who proved they had the power to make a real difference to some worthwhile children’s charities.
This was the Turi Trust’s third gala ball. Sponsorship and pledges had surpassed previous levels. This support, together with a sell-out event, meant we were poised to make some substantial donations once again.
Let me take you back to our first Gala Ball in 2011 where we gave away a total of $120,000 – $70,000 to Red Kite and another $50,000 spread across another 5 charities. Red Kite continues to do AMAZING work to support families of children going through the cancer journey.
In 2013 we met a very special couple – Alan and Maria Franca Lachman, who started a school for the blind after their daughter Francesca’s school was closed down. We have followed the progress of Insight Education, which is now open and helping vision impaired children to reach their full potential. We are so proud to have contributed $100,000 to this special project. On that night we also donated to 4 other charities.
As an organisation we support causes which are important to our employees. In the past few years we have seen an increase in the number of staff whose children or grandchildren are on the Autism Spectrum. In particular we have noticed that a staff member at our distribution facility in Thomastown regularly supported a particular charity.
We were privileged to be joined on this special evening by Ula Tauafoale, his wife Kristie and their two beautiful daughters Malia and Alyssa.
It is because of Ula and his family, along with many other Turi Foods families, that we chose to support AMAZE. Formerly known as Autism Victoria, Amaze is the first point of contact for families who have a child on the Autism Spectrum.
We soon discovered that this was a cause close to the hearts of many people. The generosity and warmth of our guests shone through as they dug deep to lend their support. Not only were we able to generate some incredible donations, but we were able to raise the awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder, a message which was further reinforced by a powerful presentation by Chris Varney of the ICAN Network.
There is absolutely no question that this event would not have been possible without the very generous contributions of our kind sponsors. On behalf of the Turi Trust Committee I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our other sponsors and donors. This was only possible because of you!
I would also like to acknowledge and thank my fellow committee members for their support and assistance. Thank you to everyone who helped behind the scenes to ensure the event was a successful one.
When we started the Turi Trust in 2010 we never imagined the impact it would have on our business, our employees and the community. Some of the greatest rewards have come from our ability to make a collective difference to others without expecting anything in return. A sentiment, which on this special evening, was shared by everyone present and was reinforced by some AMAZING results.
Let’s meet again in 2017, same place, same time, to support yet another worthwhile cause.
Pina Di Donato – Chairperson – Turi Trust