Who would have thought that seven years ago, what started out as a handful of Australian expats banding together to network and share knowledge, would grow into what is now the largest Australian non-profit organization by United States membership.
Further, after launching our Enterprise Social Network in January 2016, the Australian Community’s Yammer network has now grown to house the largest private Australian knowledgebase in the US.
Sixty percent of our 3,800 members, and two thirds of our Board of Directors are Australian women.
Our members are a social species, so we also recognize that a purely online community has limited appeal to Australians. Our social, professional and charitable programs provide a more than a dozen opportunities each year for our members to connect in person, as well as give back to the broader community through charitable initiatives such as #KoalaGiving.
As our organization continues to grow, there is also a corresponding need to establish a permanent address, and hire a small staff supplemented by volunteers. However, rather than simply take office space, we are very pleased to announce the Australian Community Center.
The vision for this bricks and mortar location, is to be strategically positioned below 14th Street in Manhattan as 80% of our membership lives within a 3 Kilometer radius of Downtown. The Center will be a multi-function space to accommodate many of our social and professional events.
The Australian Community Center will regularly host educational events where members can learn more about the US Legal system, Health Care, Education, as well as Taxes and filing requirements for expats.
It will also facilitate Australian businesses who are transitioning to the US to showcase their products and services, as well as provide meeting spaces and facilitate professional introductions within our membership.
Having a permanent location where Australians can gather as a Community to meet other Australians to network, close business, or simply make new friends fills a multitude of needs currently not available to Australians living in New York.
Our Arts program will be expanded to permanently feature the creative works of Australian visual artists, as well as provide a small performance space for intimate concerts, films and plays.
There is an obvious opportunity for corporate sponsorships of the Center and these productions.
Further, given the challenges faced by members as to what to do with the possessions they have accumulated in New York when considering the move home, and the challenges of members who are looking to furnish their New York apartments on a budget, the Australian Community Center offers an attractive solution:
- Members can donate their possessions to the Australian Community Center and take the maximum tax deduction.
- Members can purchase furnishings, winter coats etc. from the Australian Community Center at very affordable pricing.
It may sound a cliché, but you can even donate your car, boat or motorcycle to the Australian Community!
In fact, the Australian Community as a US Public Charity is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the IRS tax Code.
In addition, recognizing the needs of our corporate executive membership to leverage special tax concessions through Charitable Lead Trusts and Charitable Remainder Trusts, the Australian Community is perfectly positioned to part of our members Gifting and Estate Planning conversations with their Attorneys and Financial Advisors.
Our hope is that the Australian Community Center will begin operations in 2019 funded through Major Gifting, and having proved the model through a number of ‘Pop Up’ locations in 2018.
The Australian Community Center services an obvious gap in the needs of Australians living in New York. However, such an undertaking is only possible with a strong support base, and is financially viable only through the charitable support of our members and corporate sponsorships.
There is much work to be done in 2018 to make the Australian Community Center a permanent fixture in New York, however one item that has definitely been added to the Center’s wish list; the donation of an expresso machine and a regular supply of great coffee!
To learn more about our vision for the Australian Community Center, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.