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Outstanding volunteers recognised – want to join the club?

By November 27, 2020No Comments

Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) is excited to announce the Katie Walker Outstanding Service Award winners for 2020.

“This year has been a relentless challenge which has impacted all aspects of life in country communities. Despite this, CEF Foundations are creating ways to raise money to support students in 2021.”

Katie Walker
CEF Director and Yass Volunteer

At the heart of our work are 44 local foundations across five states and territories, which are run by more than 450 passionate volunteers. This year, the peer-nominated award recognises the tireless efforts of two CEF volunteers who have collectively contributed more than 520 hours to the work of CEF.

Award namesake, Katie Walker, is a founding director of CEF, and continues to leave a lasting mark on the community as an active member of the Yass District Education Foundation, one she established in the very early days of CEF.

Katie says volunteers provide wrap around support for the entire community, and offer strength to young people seeking further education.

The award recognises committee members who:

  • Have been volunteering with a local foundation for more than two years;
  • Contribute to the growth and development of their local foundation; and
  • Demonstrate a personal commitment and dedication to supporting their local youth.


“Volunteering is in my DNA.”

Growing up in regional Australia, volunteering was a way of life for Mary. She saw her parents always reaching out to the community with ‘good cheer and hard work’ to make a difference. It was inevitable that she would follow suit.

“Volunteering for me has always been about a desire to make a difference. Working with CEF through the Great Lakes committee provides an amazing opportunity to affect the lives of the young people we support.”

Mary is a founding member of the Great Lakes Education Fund (GLEF), which will soon celebrate it’s 10th year supporting students from the community. She is now secretary of the fund, although will take on any task needed from hosting events, to creating the quarterly newsletter and tirelessly promoting GLEF. Mary’s initiative, commitment and energy have without doubt been essential to their success over the last decade, and it is these qualities that make her a fitting recipient of the Katie Walker Outstanding Service Award for 2020.

“I have made great friends, used my skills, learned new skills and taken myself out of my comfort zone. I have also met awe inspiring young people who give me much hope for the future of our wonderful world.”


“I’ve been inspired by those who have formed and led the organisation and our local committee.”

“It was lovely to be made aware that I had been nominated for this award by the wonderful team that makes up the Goulburn committee, particularly as it’s linked to Katie Walker, who I hold in very high regard.”

Beth was an instrumental founding member of the Country Education Foundation of Goulburn & District having served on the committee for 17 years. She was also key to establishing the strong partnership that CEF has with Boyce Chartered Accountants, through which she provided much needed advice and counsel which guide the organisation’s impeccable financial practices.

“The highlight for me is always our annual grant round when we meet young people whose stories are often inspiring and at times heartbreaking.”

Beth’s longstanding commitment and dedication to the work of CEF is recognised by her community, their students and her fellow volunteers. Chair of the Goulburn foundation, Guy Milson, explains perfectly why Beth is being honoured with the Katie Walker Outstanding Service award in 2020: “There is only one Beth.”


The people who volunteer for CEF, like Mary and Beth, show passion and dedication for the work that goes far beyond the remit of the ‘job.’

They demonstrate commitment for their students, beyond the financial, and are truly proud not only to represent the organisation, but the amazing rural and regional areas in which they live, work and play.

There is no better testament to this than the words of students supported by CEF local foundations from across the country.


At CEF, we know how much people want to give back to their communities. But, so many are time poor, overworked and can find it difficult to volunteer for a cause close to their heart, no matter how much they would like to.

Everything we do at the national office is to make volunteering easier and more enjoyable for our amazing volunteers.

When you volunteer with us, we want you to be able to concentrate on where your passion lies – helping students access post-school education.

Our volunteers can call any time to have a chat (and we do like a chat), to let us know about their great news stories or get some help talking through any concerns.

We also have an online committee portal available to all volunteers, a ‘one-stop-shop’ that is home to all the information and resources needed to make successful local foundations. The national office assists with:

  • Sourcing additional funding to ease the burden during rough times
  • Creating ‘ready to go’ promotional materials
  • Dedicated staff to walk you through establishment processes and any regular compliance paperwork
  • Easy to use, secure database access to monitor, assess and award student grants
  • Fundraising support and hints, tips and tricks to get that grant or community partnership across the line
  • Fresh, attractive website to promote your foundation’s great work and to accept those all important donations
  • Regular visits and conferences, because there is no substitute for face-to-face

At the end of the day, CEF is not capable of achieving amazing results without our volunteers, and we are so lucky they choose to spend their time with us. 

And, as they say ‘many hands make light work’ and we always need more Beth’s and Mary’s to help support our rural and regional youth.

In return, we promise to muster every little bit of support we can, so you know you have absolutely made the right choice in giving your precious time to us.


Author CEF

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