A Message From Our Chair

It has been an amazing last six months for TCF!

While there have been many amazing things, there has also been need for quiet remembrance. On 24 February 2017, Tara Costigan’s murderer was sentenced to 32 years, with 26 years non-parole.The thoughts of the Board, and I am sure the whole Tara Costigan Foundation (TCF) community, were with the Costigan family.

The week of the sentencing was also the week that Michael Costigan resigned as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of TCF so that he could pursue other activities. The Board wishes Michael well with his new ventures and is looking forward to working closely with our acting CEO, Nadia Pessarossi.Nadia is the driving force behind TCF’s day-to- day operations and the Board is really looking forward to working with Nadia to deliver even more Tara’s Angels, and to involve the community much more in the work of the Foundation.

Of course, we do have our first Angel up and running. Within days she had a full client load. She has helped clients attend Court, looking their best so they could hold their heads up high. She has helped find dog sitters for families who cannot take their pets to new safe rental accommodation. She has collaborated with men’s groups to help men who were worried about their temper. She has worked closely with crisis services to help clients out of crisis support so they can start to stand on their own two feet. She has helped sand down walls to prepare a house for painting and she has helped others restart their studies to build better lives. Most of all she has just been there for people; she has been an Angel.

The Tara’s Angels service does not happen by luck and there is a relentless fundraising challenge behind the scenes. With the support of Meyer Vandenberg we are having a trivia night at the Hellenic Club on 23 March from 6.30pm. Grab some friends and book some seats. The cost is $40. To give this context it costs about $40 per day, per client, to deliver the Tara’s Angel service. I hope everyone can give one day of support to one other person in need.

If trivia is not your thing, but you do like to dress up and go out in style, there is also the opportunity to come to the Angel Gala Ball on 2 June at the Hyatt. This is a sparkling black-tie event, with fantastic entertainment, a great master of ceremonies and a silent auction. It is a great opportunity to be seen dressed up to the nines, but also to be seen to be adding your voice to the chorus of “No!” to domestic violence.

TCF had its first Annual General Meeting (AGM) late last year and has lodged all of its correct paperwork with the Australian Charities and Not-for- profits Commission (ACNC). From the Directors elected at the AGM, we have experts in charity law and accounting and specialists in risk management, program management and human resources. We have people who have run their own businesses, people with police and legal backgrounds and people who work in the not-for- profit sector. I know that this sort of stuff can be boring as hell for many people, but I want you all to be confident that we are running TCF properly. Nobody on the Board is paid so all of the funds we raise go into delivering the Angels and some basic costs like paying for just 2 staff. The other exciting news is that Nathan Costigan, Tara’s cousin, has been invited to join the Board to make sure TCF maintains its strong connection with the Costigan family and with the community.

The second National Family Violence Summit was held in March. This year it was all about connections in the sector, the survivors and those who support them. Once again we could not have done it without Baptist Care and we thank them deeply for their ongoing support.

Finally, to you, our supporters. We do want to give you the opportunity to be involved more. We don’t want TCF to be some closed foundation where anonymous people make decisions behind closed doors. We are looking at ways by which we can invite you to become members of TCF, to let you have a more direct voice in how we help survivors in the community. Once we confirm it is possible we will put information on our Facebook page and website. If we can do it, it will be powerful and it will bring us all closer together because, together we are strong.

Michael Hardy,
Tara Costigan Foundation