A GROWing Success

Ryan Batchelor of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, with Ingrid Burkett, Liz Everist, Anne O’Brien, Lenny Jenner, Bill Mithen, Elaine Carbines, and IPAA Victoria president Gill Callister

There is no point pushing for change if you don’t celebrate the wins, and this week we are celebrating the GROW program scooping the policy development award at the prestigious Institute of Public Administration Australia Awards.

The Geelong Region Opportunities for Work (or GROW, as we know and prefer to type it) was recognised for the growth and measured impact of the program since its inception in 2016.

If there is a trending work in business this year it has to be collaboration, and collaboration is what GROW is all about. Founded through a, you guessed it, collaboration, between G21-Geelong Region Alliance and Give Where You Live Foundation, the program has one very big goal, to target disadvantage and deliver real, systemic change in areas of our community where people experience intergenerational disadvantage. The wilfully dedicated people behind the program are using a pretty straightforward strategy, encourage local businesses to spend more of their money locally and to build social procurement into their business spend.

It’s early days in a long-term program, but it’s working.

The IPAA Victoria award acknowledged the program’s growth and measured impact since its founding in 2016.


IPAA CEO David Ali said the awards celebrated exemplary innovation and leadership in the public sector. He congratulated G21-Geelong Region Alliance and the Give Where You Live Foundation, saying, “Their excellent project … pushed the boundaries and demonstrated what success in public administration looks like.”

GROW won its category ahead of the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan and VicRoads’ Motor Graduated Licensing System.

Mr Mithen said the award was significant endorsement of GROW’s progress and ongoing mission.

“We are so proud of GROW, our community’s response to GROW and particularly the difference that GROW is making,” Mr Mithen said.

“This IPAA award in the policy development category acknowledges the significant partnership between G21 and the Give Where You Live Foundation and the great and visionary work of our team.

“We continue to urge local businesses and organisations to become part of meaningful regional collective impact by signing the initiative compact and starting planning to help deliver social benefit.”

IPAA Victoria president Gill Callister announced winners at the ceremony at Deakin Edge, Federation Square. Give Where You Live Foundation CEO and G21 chair Bill Mithen, G21 CEO Elaine Carbines and GROW director Anne O’Brien and co-ordinator Liz Everist attended the awards ceremony along with Borough of Queenscliffe CEO Lenny Jenner and Centre for Social Impact social design fellow Ingrid Burkett.

Feature Image Courtesy: Tract Consulting
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