First Nations Foundation



How did a tiny charity of two people manage to find $24 million Indigenous superannuation in 21 Indigenous communities across six States? 

Amanda Young, CEO of First Nations Foundation explains: “Never doubt a small group committed to financial wellbeing for Indigenous Australians!

“We have all the ingredients that are needed. We are agile, and we made a one-stop-shop caravan for all superannuation needs. We are trusted by both the Indigenous communities around Australia and the superannuation sector; and we are driven, because our First Nations people deserve their hard-earned work entitlements.”

With a specialist team of people from the Department of Human Services, the Australian Taxation Office and 14 superannuation fund volunteers, Amanda and project manager Emma McCashney led 45 people to seven communities in 2019, visiting Darwin, Kununurra, Broome, Gapuwiyak, Galiwin’ku, Milingimbi and Ramingining. There they met with Indigenous community partners who had prepared the way, including bringing in financial counsellors. 

Along the way the Big Super Day Out broke record after record.

“The most superannuation we found in one day was $2.57 million in Kununurra, Emma said. “Our community partner Wunan generated so much interest, people drove six hours to see us. It was a pretty lively day in the park in Kununurra!”

“Each trip results in more superannuation being located and now we average above $1 million each day,” Young said. “In tiny Milingimbi, home of the 2019 Young Australian of the Year, Baker Boy, we helped a record-breaking 97 Yolngu people reconnect with $1.97 million of their super funds, located thanks to the promotion in Arnhem Land by ALPA, under CEO Alastair King’s leadership.”

First Nations Foundation is quick to point out it has had much help in refining its program with laser-like focus. ASIC helped the Foundation to develop a remote service model by leading an expedition into APY Lands in Central Australia, and bringing Firs Nations Foundation along as a partner. The Australian Tax Office placed a staff member on secondment in the Foundation to share knowledge. The AIST, as a superannuation peak body, has been the principal sponsor the past four years and its CEO Eva Scheerlinck has personally attended five events. Our other community partners have included MoneyMob Talkabout in central Australia, Cape York PartnershipsNCIE in Redfern and Broome Circleand all have been invaluable in helping on the journey.

What was the critical factor for success?
“Trust. Indigenous people turned out in droves because they trust Indigenous non-profits when they hit town,” Chair of First Nations Foundation, Ian Hamm, explained. “Sadly, among Indigenous communities that trust is lacking when it comes to government and financial services, so we are proud to take a leadership role in bringing everyone together: with stunning outcomes. Just imagine what $24 million does to 21 small Indigenous community families.”

First Nations Foundation has been overwhelmed with calls from Indigenous communities requesting a visit. It hopes to turn this into a national program, visit more locations and find hundreds of millions of Indigenous superannuation entitlements.

Maybe this is why First Nations Foundation has been nominated as Best Small Charity in Australia? They find out if they have won on 27 September 2019.