Donors are the beating heart of RIDBC - Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children

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Donors are the beating heart of RIDBC

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Suzie with sons Oliver and Alec

RIDBC is underpinned by the generosity of the people, organisations and groups that support us, ensuring we can deliver quality and innovative services to the people who need us most, now and for generations to follow.

One of Australia’s oldest charities

RIDBC is proud to be one of the oldest charities in Australia. Since 1860, many people and organisations have supported RIDBC, allowing us to support the people who need us most.

Although records from yesteryear are not exact, RIDBC believe that well over half a million individuals and nearly ten-thousand businesses have donated to RIDBC in some capacity. This shows the impact donors have had on RIDBC, and that RIDBC has always been one of Australia’s most known, trusted and loved charities.

Recognising our supporters and individual donors

Whilst it is simply not possible to recognise all our amazing supporters and donors here, the organisations and people below are just a small sample of those who have supported RIDBC over the years.

Hyundai

Photo of a Hyundai vehicle with stuffed toys hanging out the side windows A group of staff, children and parents from the 2019 Top End residential camp outside a wildlife park holding a Hyundai banner

Hyundai has long been a valued corporate partner of RIDBC through the Hyundai Help for Kids foundation. From the provision of vehicles for our therapists to funding the RIDBC Residential Camps through Remote Services, Hyundai has impacted the lives of thousands of children.

One such child is Evie, who is blind. Evie receives services via Remote Services (formerly Teleschool) and attended a Hyundai Residential Camp. It was here that her fear of horses was overcome. In fact, as you can see in the below photo, she began to love them.

RIDBC client, Evie patting a horse

Hyundai’s support has enabled RIDBC Remote Services to create exciting, inspiring, and memorable experiences and connections for our children and families through the residential camps and immersion programs.

Pictured below are children of a previous Hyundai Residential Camp outside the Queen Victoria Building fountain, in the centre of the Sydney CBD. The fountain has a wishing well, with coins wished away donated to RIDBC.

RIDBC clients at a Braille camp outing in the Sydney CBD

Qantas Pathfinders

Starting in 1967, the Qantas Pathfinders’ members are much loved, raising over $8.3 million for RIDBC. Comprising of a dedicated group of past and present Qantas employees, including cabin crew, pilots, ground staff, as well as their families and friends, their events are hugely successful. The members generously donate their time, energy, and talents to ensure our annual events are not to be missed.
One event is the Qantas Pathfinders’ Revue. The brainchild of Qantas Crew members Vic Allen and Peter Owens, the Revue had its humble beginnings in 1975. Now, decades later the Revue has a cast, production crew and band totalling almost 100 volunteers.

Another event is the Qantas Pathfinders’ Charity Flight, the inaugural flight taking off in 2002 destined for Longreach. Unfortunately, 2020 was to be the year Qantas celebrated their centenary by returning to Longreach. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic has put the brakes on. For now.

The final event is the Qantas Pathfinders’ Jumbo Joy Flight, an annual flight which involves a Qantas Boeing 747 taking children and their carers on a 90-minute joy-flight over the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong areas. For most children, this is their first experience of flying, made unforgettable by the amazing staff and crew. The Jumbo Joy flight is the epitome of a team effort – Qantas providing the wings; The Rotary Club of Turramurra organise the lucky children; Qantas Pathfinders look after ticketing and ground support; Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd waive airport charges; and Viva Energy donates the fuel. Standby for take-off!

Pictured below playing the piano and singing at a Qantas event is Natalija, the daughter of Craig Lambert, President of Qantas Pathfinders. Natalija, who is blind, was also supported by RIDBC.

Former client Natalija playing the piano at a Qantas event

Lantern Clubs

Lantern Clubs have raised over $18 million for RIDBC since their commencement in 1963. Across NSW, there are currently ten clubs in operation today consistent of nearly two-hundred members.

One Lantern Club member is Dorothy Brandley, a founding member of the Blue Mountains Lantern Club, which last year celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Dorothy’s association with RIDBC extends even further back than that – her mother, who was deaf, was a student at RIDBC, learning Auslan.

Growing up Dorothy saw the struggles of her mum and how some parts of society treated her disrespectfully. As such, Dorothy wanted to do something to acknowledge the support RIDBC had given her mum and, as such, started the Blue Mountains Chapter of the Lantern Clubs.

Dorothy Brandley with Dianne Maris at the 50th Anniversary of Blue Mountains Lantern Club luncheon Approximately 30 members of Lantern Clubs at the Lantern 2019 Christmas party at RIDBC North Rocks

The Abstract Committee

Commencing in 1965, The Abstract Committee founded the North Rocks RIDBC Book, Toy and Music fair that was a mainstay for over 50 years. Countless hours of the committee’s time were contributed over the years to create the event, which was an annual, much-anticipated event of the RIDBC calendar. The final Book Fair was held in 2019. You can read an article paying tribute to the Book Fair in 2019 on the RIDBC website.

A photo of volunteers from the 2017 Book Fair

Caleb

Caleb is a former student at RIDBC Thomas Pattison School. As a 9-year-old, he was lucky enough to get a seat on the Pathfinders Jumbo Joy Flight. It was this experience that developed a deep love of flying. Subsequently, he went on to university to study to become a cartographer. Now, he makes maps that are used by Qantas pilots and is a volunteer for the Qantas Pathfinders!

A photo of past TPS student, Caleb

Local legend Clive Berghofer helps expand RIDBC’s reach

In 2016 Clive Berghofer, philanthropist and Toowoomba iconic, made a significant contribution to the lives of people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision in the region with an extremely generous pledge of $2.8 million, enabling the development of a new purpose-built site appropriately named RIDBC Clive Berghofer Centre.

Clive’s generosity allowed RIDBC to expand its reach to provide in-person services in Queensland for the first time. You can read more about how Clive’s gift is impacting the lives of Toowoomba locals.

Chris Rehn, Clive Berghofer, Katie Kelly and Sean Wareing

The Miller Foundation

Since 1983, The Miller Foundation has supported Taralye, an RIDBC Service in Blackburn, Victoria. Over the years, the foundation has enabled the growth of our integrated kindergarten, early intervention, and audiology services.

The foundation also contributed to the development of our service centre in Moonee Ponds, Victoria, which opened in 2018. The Miller Foundation has granted Taralye, an RIDBC service, over $975,000 to date, helping us continue delivering much-needed services to children in Victoria who are deaf or hard of hearing, and their families.

A group at Taralye, supported by Miller Foundation

The Betteridge Family

Sharon Betteridge regularly visits the children of RIDBC Alice Betteridge School. Her Aunt Alice, after which the school was named, is synonymous to the RIDBC story. Below, Sharon is pictured with former RIDBC Alice Betteridge School Principal Julie Kirkness, who retired in 2020.

Julie Kirkness with Sharon Betteridge at the RIDBC Alice Betteridge School

Di Morrisey

One of Australia’s most prolific writers is Di Morrisey. Di became an ambassador for RIDBC in 2018 and was forthright in wanting to help further. Donating her time and money from book sales, Di is a long-time friend of RIDBC. Pictured below is Di with former RIDBC student, Dianne Moussa, and RIDBC fundraising staff member Darren Parmenter.

Di Morrisey with Dianne Moussa and RIDBC fundraising staff member Darren Parmenter

Thank you

To all our donors, past and present, thank you. Your ongoing generosity is the reason RIDBC has thrived since 1860.

Our future starts today

Over the last 160 years we’ve achieved amazing things for people with hearing or vision loss. This was made possible by the generosity of the individuals, committees, organisations and groups who have, and continue to support us. So, we’re celebrating our history with you, our supporters who’ve made RIDBC what it is today.

As we advance the 160 years of RIDBC experience, we are looking to the future by uniting under one brand, enabling us to continue to support the people who need us for generations to come.

You can support children and adults who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision by visiting the donate page on the RIDBC website.

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