In 1987 the school and the Old Boys Association (SLOBA) collaborated in an ambitious project to establish a residence for boys with disadvantaged backgrounds. The St Laurences’ Old Boys Foundation was established for this purpose. The initial trustees were Michael Teys, Tom Kruger, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Bill Siganto, Trevor Hartigan and Ron McKiernan. A fund raising campaign was undertaken, setting a goal of raising $500,000.00. The residence was to be known as the WL Davy Centre as a tribute to the work of Brother WL Davy, a Principal of St Laurences in the 1950s. Originally the Centre was located in a house owned by the Christian Brothers adjacent to Nudgee Junior College at Indooroopilly. Good fortune stepped in when Mr Bert Malouf, an old boy of St Laurences, offered the Foundation the opportunity to purchase a house at 33 Stephens Road, South Brisbane on very favourable terms. This permitted the opportunity for residents of the Centre to attend St Laurences, which was only a short walk from the Centre, for schooling. The Foundation raised enough to purchase the house but fell well short of the $500,000 goal.
The WL Davey Centre in Stephens Road provided short term shelter and long term care for 4 to 6 boys aged 13 to 17, with a full time resident house parent. By 1992 and four years of operation 90 boys had been referred to the Centre and 30 had lived there. The Foundation was unsuccessful in applications for state funding. Apart from a foster care allowance and Austudy living away from home allowance, the Old Boys Association met all the day to day operating expenses including the wages of the social worker who was a full time house parent. Occasional funding contributions were received from Bingo raffles, trivial pursuit nights and donations from the school. The College provided free tuition and uniforms.
Despite considerable success in changing the life direction of boys in the Centre the recurrent costs of the facility proved insurmountable. The Centre closed and the property was then sold. A decision then had to be made as to how to deal with the sale proceeds of the property. Also many of the original Trustees had retired from active involvement in the Foundation. So the Foundation, under the stewardship of Bill Siganto, went through a period of renewal, involving the appointment of new Trustees, the setting of new long term objectives and the implementing of new regulatory restrictions to enable recognition with the Australian Tax Office as having both Income Tax Exemption status and Deductible Tax Recipient status.
The charter of the Foundation was revised to focus on providing scholarships and/or bursaries to disadvantaged boys to attend St Laurences College. A strategy was then enshrined in the Foundation’s constitution of managing and growing a capital fund with a perpetual income for growth based on donations and interest. This would allow a set percentage of the income generated by the Foundation’s investments to be distributed for bursaries and/or scholarships of disadvantaged boys at the College whilst ensuring the availability of the fund for future generations.
From 2007 until 2014 under the astute leadership of Mark Stockwell, the Trustees have put in place governance and administrative structures to consolidate on the earlier work of the Trustees and have created a benchmark Foundation amongst other Edmund Rice colleges.
In 2008, Justice Jeffrey Spender accepted the position as Patron of the Foundation a role in which he continues today.
The ongoing support by Chris Leadbetter as both Principal and Trustee and his team has been critical to the success of the Foundation. The school’s active involvement in managing a considerable amount of the financial, administration and marketing aspects of the Foundation will ensure its ongoing success.
In 2017, the Foundation is managing a portfolio investment of $1.7m and in 2016, provided a donation of $40,000 to the Principal to support 8 families in some type of financial hardship.Next