Alpine Valleys Community Leadership (AVCL) has launched an Alumni Impact Report. The report, available on AVCL’s website, draws on data collected from Alumni of the Annual Program through a survey. It distils high-level metrics that quantify the leadership contributions of Alumni in both community and workplace settings.

AVCL Board Chair, Judy Charlton, spoke of some key findings, “Our Alumni contribute an average of 10 hours per week toward volunteerism and community-focused work, the majority of which is on an unpaid basis. Using the state of volunteering hourly labour value, on average, our Alumni contribute labour worth over $8 million to the community annually. It’s remarkable, and a little sobering, to understand the level of time and effort that uplifts communities across the Northeast and Border regions.”

The Annual Program was first delivered in 1999 and led by its inaugural Chair and now Patron, John Brown AO. By the close of 2023, the program will have produced over 500 Alumni.

The Alumni Impact Report explores stories of change for ten of the Alumni. These case studies provide insight into their experience of the program and how it shaped their leadership journey.

Former Rural City of Wangaratta Mayor Irene Grant features in a case study in the report. Irene said, “One of the most interesting things that I learned was ‘well, leaders can be different. There’s no one template for leadership. That was one of the things I gained from the program – that you could be someone that was working in a school canteen and you could be a leader in that sphere as much as anyone else who was going to shape the future of the community.”

Another case study participant, Vidura “Del” Delpitiya, spoke of his journey and inspiration to undertake the program in 2015. When Del, his wife and children arrived in Corryong from Sri Lanka for his new job as a dairy farmhand, it was like starting life again. The people of Corryong, and the broader dairy farming community, embraced the family wholeheartedly. Del said, “We were the only Sri Lankans in the Corryong area. So, from the footy club to the bus driver, the school principal to our green grocer – hats off to that community for embracing us. And the dairy community too. So that’s what drove me (to apply) – that this community took us in.”

AVCL Board Chair, Judy Charlton, welcomed the outcomes detailed in the report. She says, “Up until this report, the impact of our Alumni had largely been anecdotal. The formalisation and reporting of Alumni contributions are both insightful and valuable. It is another driving force behind our commitment to ensure the continuity of this vital community leadership development program in our region.”

AVCL received significant funding for the Annual Program from the Victorian State Government. However, this funding will cease at the end of 2023. AVCL has been preparing for this possibility, including recently attaining endorsement as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and Public Benevolent Institution (PBI). AVCL is now consulting with key stakeholders to develop a strategy for continuing a community leadership program, so this valuable service and its impact are not lost to the region.

Contact: Judy Charlton, AVCL Chair, phone 0418 473 525

Link to the Alumni Impact Report