Did you know four out of five Australians give financially to charities and not-for-profits? And of those who give, 68 per cent choose a particular charity because they ‘know and trust’ the organisation?
For VMCH donor Barbara Duncan, both of these statistics ring true. The 78-year-old’s ties with VMCH go back four decades. Barbara’s mother, Ellen “Nell”, was a supporter of Villa Maria Society for the Blind (VMCH as it was formerly known), back in the 1970s and would help out on fundraising days and functions.
In the early 1980s, Nell developed macular degeneration and was unable to live independently. Given their history with the organisation, Villa Madonna Nursing Home (now closed) in Prahran was an easy choice.
“The diagnosis of macular degeneration wasn’t as good as it is now,” Barbara explained. “And because of Mum’s connections with and support for visually impaired people, we chose Villa Madonna.”
When Nell sadly passed away five years later, Barbara stayed close to VMCH. As well as making donations when she can, Barbara has decided to leave a gift in her own Will a “tribute” to her mum.
“Because of the care that was given to her, that’s why I’ve continued on,” she explained. “She was a supporter of it (VMCH) and I think that she’d like to take it further.”
A sense of social justice also factors in Barbara’s decision.
“Sometimes the aged get left behind a little bit, particularly ones who don’t have family support. Their needs are greater than ours and I’d like it used where it can do some good.”
One of Barbara’s major life passions – growing orchids – was also inspired by her mum.
“Mum had a couple of orchids in the back garden for years and we could never flower them,” she said. “Now I grow them and also judge them at orchid club shows. I thought golf was obsessive and expensive until I took up orchids and golf paled into insignificance!”