John Bennett and Jan Barham.
John Bennett and Jan Barham. The Northern Star

Charities take a cut of salaries

LOCAL workers and businesses are revitalising their generous streak under a new system for donating to charities developed by Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham and the Northern Rivers Community Foundation.

Ms Barham, who came up with the idea outside her role in the council, has started salary sacrificing – paying money before tax is taken out – to make regular donations to charities.

“This is all about encouraging people to contribute to their community,” she said.

“Byron Shire Council's the first one, and I'm the first person to take it up.

“The foundation is a program that works and I'd like to see a way that everyone can contribute, but not everyone can make a big donation.

“It's something that is there and available if people want to do it.”

It is an idea that has electrified the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, prompting it to develop a system that can be offered to workers at businesses and organisations across the region.

The foundation is an independent philanthropic body which invests money donated to it and distributes the earnings to a variety of worthwhile organisations.

Since 2004 the foundation has distributed more than $175,000 in small grants to 30 organisations across the Northern Rivers.

Last year's recipients included the Byron Youth Service, The Uncle Project, WIRES and the House With No Steps.

Foundation Director John Bennett said the salary sacrifice plan had been offered to, and taken up by, the Byron Shire Council, with Cr Barham the first participant with a $10-a-week pre-tax donation.

The next step would be to offer it to other councils and businesses, some of whom are already lining up to take part.

JHA recruitment boss Jane Heynes has embraced the idea, calling for her 300 employees to join the program and offering to match dollar-for-dollar any donations they make to the Northern Rivers Community Foundation.

Bayside Communications owner John Welch donated $7500 to a Byron Shire sub-fund set up by the foundation.

“We donated the money from our business to kick-start it,” he said.

“We were going to make a contribution to the Northern Rivers Community Foundation anyway and then this opportunity came up.”

To find out more go to www.nrcf.org.au or call 6621 9996.



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